8 Essential Items Sleep Experts Can't Live Without

Trouble sleeping? Here's what the pros rely on to help them get quality Zzzs.
Sleep experts share what they rely on to help them get quality Zzzs.
Sleep experts share what they rely on to help them get quality Zzzs.

Sleep isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.

In a perfect world, we’d all be getting the recommended seven to nine hours every night. But the world is far from perfect, and as a result, millions of Americans aren’t getting the sleep they need. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of adults are getting less than the recommended amount of sleep. And with the anxiety and other mental health issues brought on by the pandemic, it’s possible that number could be even higher.

Fortunately, the key to a better night’s sleep could be simpler than you think. To help you get quality sleep, HuffPost reached out to sleep experts to find out what products they absolutely can’t live without. Here’s what they personally swear by.

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Peppermint Tea
No nighttime arsenal is complete without a warm cup of tea, and for Stephen Light -- a certified sleep science coach and co-owner of Nolah Mattress -- nothing beats peppermint.

"One product I can’t live without is peppermint tea. Peppermint tea can help promote good quality sleep," Light said. "The scent of peppermint can induce a relaxing and calming effect on the body, making sleep more accessible for people who have trouble sleeping. Unlike other teas, peppermint tea is caffeine-free. Thus, it is an excellent drink to consume before bedtime since it doesn’t induce wakefulness."

Get a 50-count box for $7.50.
Snorelab Sleep App
Rachata Teyparsit / EyeEm via Getty Images
According to Alex Dimitriu, the founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine, tracking your sleep could be the key to improving the quality of rest you’re getting. He recommended Snorelab, an app he also uses.

“Snorelab is an excellent app which records audio all night,” he said. “For anyone who wakes up frequently or sleeps poorly, this is a quick and easy way to hear what happens just before you awoke, or how loud your snoring was during the night. While it’s not a medical grade sleep study, it is a very easy way to see what’s wrong or right with your sleep.”

Download it from the App Store or Google Play for free.
Blackout Shades
Dimitriu also swears by a super dark bedroom.

"There is nothing more essential to getting a good night’s sleep than a cool and dark cave bedroom," he said. "Blackout shades are an amazingly effective way to keep the bedroom dark, and your sleep deep."

Grab some starting at $34.99.
A Pillow Cube
“The Pillow Cube manufacturer claims that their product will help you stay cool at night, fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer and wake up happier. I can tell you from experience that they deliver on every promise," said Ryan Fiorenzi, a certified sleep coach and founder of StartSleeping.org.

"The shape of the pillow does an amazing job of supporting my head and neck, which helps to alleviate spine and neck pain I have suffered from for years," he continued. "If you move a lot in your sleep, make sure you pick up the longer Pillow Cube Pro."

Get one for $59.99.
Melatonin
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Mike Dow, a psychotherapist and brain health expert, said he personally uses a melatonin for sleep. The supplement is designed to help aid your body in making the hormone, which helps regulate your wake and sleep cycles. Dow said he also often recommends these to his patients who have trouble falling asleep, especially those who work the night shift since their circadian rhythms are sometimes severely disrupted. It can also help if you're struggling with jet lag or you're a night owl.

But before you rush off to your local pharmacy, keep in mind these supplements aren't for everyone. Typically, your body does a decent job of producing melatonin on its own. If you've consistently struggled with falling asleep, chat with your physician to see what they recommend; your doctor can also give you melatonin brand and dosage suggestions based on your situation.
A ChiliSleep Mattress Pad
Another must have for Fiorenzi is the Chilipad.

“As someone who tends to sleep very hot, I searched for years for a solution to the problem of waking up covered in sweat then struggling to fall back to sleep. It’s widely understood that we sleep deeper at a cooler body temperature. The Chilipad is the solution I’d been looking for,” he explained.

The Chilipad is basically a fluid-cooled mattress topper that also provides heating options. The product is a financial investment, but with a temperature range from 55 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit, you're likely to find your perfect sleep setting.

Get one starting at $699.
An Eye Mask
Chelsie Rohrscheib, a sleep expert and neuroscientist at the sleep company Wesper, said she absolutely can’t sleep without an eye mask.

"I specifically own a padded eye mask that fits snugly and comfortably around my eyes and nose, blocking out practically all environmental light. It’s especially helpful during the summer months when the days are longer," she said. "Most people will find they sleep better, with less mid-sleep awakenings, when they block light from reaching their eyes. Most sleep masks will be beneficial but it’s important to find one that feels comfortable and blocks as much light as possible. It should be noted that you’ll need to wash your mask at least once a week."

Get one for $14.99.
Ear Plugs
Amazon
Rohrscheib also said earplugs are a must to "reduce noise from disturbing my sleep."

"I personally use washable silicone earplugs. However, disposable earplugs are fine as long as you replace them with a fresh pair every few days,” she said.

Get some silicone, reusable ear plugs for $9.79.

One note: Rohrscheib urged folks who are prone to ear infections or other ear issues to avoid using earplugs and look for alternative noise-masking products, like white noise machines. (This one for $46.88 is therapist-approved for sleep and stress!)