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The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of

Our pick of the sleep products that can help you get a good night’s rest

Damon Orion

Crappy sleep doesn’t always stem from stress or an overactive mind. In some cases, it just comes down to the wrong mattress temperature or a poorly-mixed neurochemical cocktail. In those cases, all the inner work in the world won’t help you get the rest you need—you’d be far better off looking for an external remedy. 

Luckily, there’s no shortage of those. Here are a few of the more promising sleep products we’ve come across to aid your nightly slumber.

Sleep-Tracking Technology

If you’re not averse to taking a machine to bed, there are plenty of highly-sophisticated gadgets that can learn about your sleep patterns and use that data to help you get better rest. There are devices you wear on your head, ankle or wrist, and there are even smart rings—yes, rings that you wear when you turn in for the night. 

For example, the Ōura ring (a favorite at mud HQ) monitors its wearer’s sleep and uses that data to give customized guidance: the ideal amount of sleep, optimal bedtime, tips for better rest, etc. Using infrared light sensors, this ring takes its measurements directly from the arteries in the fingers. 

And then, of course, there are smart mattresses—a term that would have sounded utterly surreal to someone just a few decades ago. For those not acquainted, smart mattresses are equipped with sensors that can monitor your heart rate, movements, breathing, snoring and so on. By way of an app, smart mattresses such as Eight Sleep show the user a timeline of the previous night’s slumber and offer suggestions for sleep optimization. Many such mattresses can adjust their level of firmness and temperature and/or your head position based on your preferences and sleep patterns. 

Supplements for Sleep  

On this episode of The Tim Ferriss Show, neuroscientist Andrew Huberman, Ph.D. recommends taking 200 to 400 milligrams of either magnesium L-threonate or magnesium bisglycinate approximately 30 minutes before sleep, with the caveat that people with heart issues should exercise due diligence. Some magnesium L-threonate users have also reported going into withdrawal after discontinuing use.  

Huberman also mentions that the same amount of theanine can help turn off thoughts. However, people who sleepwalk or suffer from night terrors should proceed with caution. 

He adds that a supplement called apigenin can help shut down the forebrain, which has been linked to memory, intelligence and the display of emotions, among many other things. 

Huberman says he takes all three of these supplements before bed—300 to 400 milligrams of magnesium, 200 to 400 mg of theanine and 50 milligrams of apigenin—to fall asleep and stay asleep for seven to eight hours. 

Miscellaneous Sleep Gear   

For people whose circadian rhythms have gotten off track, artificial light sources like sunrise simulation lamps and light therapy boxes may help to realign sleep cycles with the rising and setting of the sun. However, anyone considering this should consult a sleep doctor first. 

Add to the list things like blackout curtains and meditation apps, and there’s a huge variety of gear and supplementation to help you get a good night's rest (and of course, there's :rest, too).

So, knock yourself out! No, seriously—knock yourself out.

Damon Orion is a writer, musician, artist and teacher based in Santa Cruz, CA. Read more of his work at damonorion.com.

Cover image by Elizabeth Lies via Unsplash.

Read more: How Does Alcohol Impact Sleep?

Read more:
 How to get Back in Sync with Your Circadian Rhythm

Read more: 3 Signs of Caffeine Overconsumption

Read more: Sleep School: What we Learned from Matthew Walker's Masterclass

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