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Wellness

9 Sleep Aids That are Actually Legit

Looking to improve your nighttime routine or create your own sleep sanctuary? These nine items might be worth investing in.

Having trouble getting a full eight hours? Your social media feed is probably full of ads for products that promise to help you get more shut-eye. Sleep-related products have been on the rise in the past few years, with everything from CBD sleep aids to special humidifiers hitting the market. Some are helpful while others can be bogus, so we talked to the pros to get some tips for what to buy and how to maximize your sleep. Before you add a bunch of products to your cart, consider these suggestions.

Evaluate Your Needs: Rather than just buying the latest product that claims to help you sleep like a baby, make sure it’s something that can help with your specific sleep challenges, says Jamie M. Zeitzer, associate professor at Stanford University’s Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine. “If ambient noise is waking you up, a sound generator can help,” he says. “Blackout shades are helpful if the sunrise wakes you up too early, and a mattress that dissipates heat is useful if you sleep warm.”

Prioritize Your Sanctuary: “The products that will probably have the most impact on your sleep are the ones that have an impact on your sleep environment,” says Dr. W. Christopher Winter, president of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine. That includes things to help regulate the temperature, light, and sound in your bedroom, as well as your bedding.

Try It Before You Buy It: “That may mean going to a hotel and trying out their mattresses or pillows or sheets,” says Dr. Alan Schwartz, adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. “That way, you can see what suits you before you invest.”

Don’t Expect It to Be a Cure-All: “There are very, very few products on the market that have any scientific evidence that they uniformly help people sleep or improve sleep quality to any appreciable degree,” says Zeitzer. “That being said, it doesn’t mean that any given product can’t improve someone’s sleep, it’s just not going to be a panacea.”

RELATED: The Ultimate Runner’s Guide to Sleep

Bedgear mattress

1. Mattress | From $1,949

“I think there are lots of great products in this space,” says Dr. Winter. He notes that this can actually be overwhelming for consumers. Cut through the clutter with one of his favorites, the Bedgear M3.

Blue Bedgear sheets

2. Sheets & Pillow | From $240

The “best” sleep aids, when it comes to bedding, are ones that you like, but if you sleep hot, you’ll love Bedgear’s Ver-Tex Sheet Set. The fabric is proprietary and helps move heat away from your body with serious air flow to keep you cool.

Gray Mavogel sleep mask

3. Sleep Mask | $10

Got a bedroom skylight that you can’t cover or a partner that is on his phone in bed? Get a mask. “I love them on a plane too,” says Dr. Winter. Try the Mavogel Cotton Sleep Eye Mask.

Hatch Restore sound machine with digital clock and pink light

4. Sound Machine | $130

Sound machines are great if you live in a noisy apartment or your partner snores, Dr. Winter notes. Hatch Restore Sound Machine includes personalized settings and wind-down content to help you fall asleep faster.

Black smartwatch with purple emoji resting face

5. Sleep Tracker | $280

“The biggest advantage of tracking software is that it allows you to look at your sleep trends and patterns on more of a global basis,” says Dr. Schwartz. “That’s important in helping you establish good sleep routines.” We like the Fitbit Sense, which provides robust, easy-to-read data about your nightly sleep stages, plus tracks additional related factors, like your stress management and skin temperature.

Black glasses frames with blue light-blocking yellow lenses, helpful for sleep

6. Bluelight-Blocking Glasses | $69

If you watch TV or work on your laptop before bed, protect your eyes with glasses from Swanwick. “They really do block blue-green light,” says Dr. Winter, who has tested them with a spectrometer.

Small vial of essential oil lavender blend

7. Aromatherapy | $48

Studies suggest that lavender (via diffuser, diluted oils, bath oils, etc.) may improve relaxation and quality of sleep, says Molly Kimball, registered dietitian with Ochsner Fitness Center in New Orleans. Try The Well’s Relax Essential Oil Blend.

Blue box of nighty night tea, one of the best natural sleep aids

8. Tea | $6

Go for a variety with passionflower, like organic Nighty Night tea from Traditional Medicinals, which may improve anxiety as well as sleep, Kimball says.

Bottle of gummy supplements

9. Supplements | $17

While sleep experts agree that supplements should be a last line of defense (if they’re used at all), there are a couple to consider if other products don’t solve your sleep woes. Melatonin is a hormone that tells your brain that it’s time for sleep. Kimball suggests taking 3 to 10 mg at bedtime to reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and improve the duration of your sleep. You can combine it with up to 500 mg of magnesium for a sleep-inducing bonus, she adds. Nature Made Sleep & Recover Gummies contain both.