Can’t Sleep? Here Are The Best Products To Help, According To Experts

You’re lying awake in the middle of the night, trying to do the soothing breathing exercise your yoga teacher showed you, hopelessly unable to get back to sleep. Your phone is lying next to you, practically begging you to grab it. You think “I’ll just do a quick scroll, then I’ll be ready for bed.”

Hours of Tiktok later, the alarm clock is going off, your kid is asking for juice and your micro-managing boss has already sent you three emails. You got sucked into the screen, never fell back asleep and now it is morning.

Don’t let this be you! If you’re struggling to fall back asleep in the middle of the night, you may instinctively reach for your phone or computer. Think twice, urged clinical psychologist Michael J. Breus, a diplomat of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

“Your phone emits blue light which disrupts circadian rhythms and inhibits melatonin production,” Breus told HuffPost. “Also, your phone is a potential source of stress. You might inadvertently read a disturbing headline or see a text about a difficult situation at work. When you’re stressed, you will have more trouble getting back to sleep.”

As Breus explained, clicking around your phone or tablet can expose you to disruptive lights and potentially stressful content. He noted that playing a phone game or doing something really interactive on a screen can also keep you awake.

“Trying to get your new high score on Candy Crush is not exactly conducive to better rest,” he said. “When you are engaged in something or playing something, you certainly are not trying to fall asleep.”

Dr. Abhinav Singh, a medical review expert at the Sleep Foundation and medical director at the Indiana Sleep Center, said that interactive or engaging content on screens increases brain activity and makes it harder to fall back asleep. It also reminds you what time it is, which can make you even more stressed.

To help you sleep more restfully, Breus and Singh broke down the best things to use in the middle of the night when you can’t fall asleep.

HuffPost may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Each item is independently selected by the HuffPost Shopping team. Prices and availability are subject to change.

A soothing noise machine with white noise and nature sounds

When you’re lying awake in the middle of the night, it’s easy to start thinking about that email you need to reply to or the laundry you never took out of the dryer. Per Singh, turning on a white noise machine or listening to nature sounds can help you stay present and start to drift back to sleep.

“Listening to soothing sounds anchors the mind, allowing your mind to stay focused, rather than drifting into thoughts of the day,” he said.

This noise machine from Sound + Sleep has 10 sound options including white noise and rainfall. You can set it to go all night, or on a loop for 30, 40, 90 or 120 minutes.

A real paper book

Instead of reading on your phone or Kindle (or, let’s be real, watching TikTok for three hours), Singh suggests reaching for a paper book.

“The light and the content from your devices will increase brain activity, along with telling you the time, adding to the frustration, and almost always they will not help you fall back to sleep,” Singh said. “Reading or something less stimulating is usually advised.”

Thrift Books is a new and used book retailer online that usually has unbeatable prices. Pictured is a “Swing Time” by Zadie Smith, $5.29.

A pack of nightlights to put through the hallway

When you can’t get back to sleep, you may be tempted to go to the bathroom, grab a late-night snack or otherwise wander around the house. Breus said if you’re going to be leaving your bedroom in the middle of the night, you want to minimize turning on any overhead lights or floor lamps.

“Install nightlights between the bedroom and the bathroom,” Breus said. “When you turn on a light, your body will stop producing melatonin. Nightlights provide enough illumination to get you safely to the bathroom without waking you further.”

This is a set of four adjustable night lights with dusk to dawn sensors, so they will automatically turn on and off. The square shape means they’ll only take up one outlet, and you can still charge your phone or have something plugged in below it.

A comfortable chair to lounge in

If you’re fumbling around in your bed, struggling to get back to sleep, Singh said that getting cozy in a comfy chair may do the trick.

“Finding a comfortable seated position essentially helps your brain associate a comfortable environment with sleep,” Singh explained.

This adult bean bag is 5 feet in diameter and has a removable, machine washable cover. It comes in 36 colors.

A bluetooth sleep mask that blocks light and lets you listen to podcasts

To block light and listen to a podcast or soothing music without staring at your phone, Singh suggested grabbing a Bluetooth eye mask.

This adjustable Bluetooth eye mask lasts for 10 hours of playing time on a single charge. The bluetooth module and wires are removable, so you can clean the mask after you use it.

LED-blocking stickers for all your devices

Apart from your phone screen, Breus said the little lights from devices in your room like the TV, internet router or air conditioner may be disruptive to your sleep.

“The main light source causing problems at night is the artificial blue light generated by a number of electronic devices in our homes — artificial blue light that can hinder your body’s melatonin production.”

This set of more than 100 pre-cut light-blocking stickers will black-out pesky appliance lighting.

A time-less alarm clock that won’t stress you out

Though you may be dying to know what time it is, both Singh and Breus urge you not to look at a clock when you’re struggling to stay asleep.

“Keep your eyes off your alarm clock in the middle of the night,” Breus said. “Panicking about the sleep you’re missing is not going to help you sleep. Focus on relaxation.”

Of course, if you know you need to get up at a certain time, the fear of sleeping in may keep you awake. This sunrise smart alarm clock has a dimmable clock feature, meaning you can turn off the time display as you sleep. You can set it to light up or make noise when it’s time to get up. It’s a phone charger, speaker, alarm clock and sunrise lamp in one, and it connects to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth so you can set it all up with your phone, then leave your phone in the kitchen, far away from your bed.

Blue light-blocking glasses if you simply must look at your phone

As mentioned, reaching for your phone in the middle of the night likely isn’t going to help you get back to sleep. “However, if you must use your phone or any device with blue light, consider blue light-blocking glasses,” Breus said. “Blue light exposure can lead to inadequate melatonin production, which can hinder your ability to fall or stay asleep.”

EyeBuyDirect has a huge selection of blue light filtering glasses, ranging in style and price. Pictured at top is the Pacific in striped blue ($39); at bottom is Daydream in brown gold ($28).


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