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We all could use a good night's sleep now more than ever — and a night where we actually feel well rested at that. Sleep is key to overall health; a recent study published in Frontiers in Psychology found that sleep quality strongly impacts mental health. From stressful days to nighttime distractions, however, quality sleep might not be easy to get.
There are plenty of things that keep us up all night, but not enough solutions that can help us fall asleep faster — and stay asleep. If you're not willing to upgrade to a new mattress or prefer to find a solution that is both practical and affordable, you're in luck.
Liz Vaccariello, editor-in-chief of Real Simple magazine, stopped by TODAY to share some of the products that are "Best in Sleep" from Real Simple's Sleep Awards that can help you prepare for a well-rested night from the moment you put your pajamas on.
From a weighted blanket to a pillow mist, read on for all of the Sleep Award winners you won't want to miss.
Sleep Awards winners 2021
Weighted blankets can provide a soothing effect thanks to the feeling of pressure against the body, helping to relieve anxiety. This version from Comma is crafted with smooth bamboo and is hypoallergenic and also helps keep you cool throughout the night, a perfect pick for hot sleepers. It is recommended that weighted blankets equate to around 10% of your body weight, so the 15-pound model is suitable for most, but you can also opt for the 20-pound blanket if you prefer a heavier feel. One Real Simple tester compared it to a “warm hug.” Even better? Comma donates 10% of sales to organizations helping people without homes across the country.
Share the bed with a blanket hogger? Kiss restless nights goodbye with this customizable comforter that is ordered in half-sizes to reduce the fuss and then buttons together to form one complete comforter. All each sleeper needs to do is indicate their desired warmth level — light, medium or extra — and then slip it into a duvet cover upon arrival. This game-changing find is available in Queen or King sizes in both down and down alternative fill and has amassed a 4.7-star rating.
Bamboo proves itself to be a comfortable material once more with these bamboo-rayon sheets. They're soft, smooth, stretchy and light, and help to wick away moisture and regulate your body temperature to keep you cool as the night goes on. With eight color options to choose from, you'll easily find a set that suits your needs.
Need to drown out noise in order to fall asleep? This top-rated sound machine plays 10 different sounds that mimic industrial fans, white noise or even brown noise. A precise volume control means you can make the noise as quiet as a whisper to as loud as an air conditioning unit. It also features a sleep timer, so you can use it as you drift off to sleep or even while you work to help concentrate.
Essential oils have been making headlines for good reason, thanks to their soothing effects. This pillow spray is formulated with lavender, chamomile and vetivert, which make it easier to drift off to sleep and stay asleep. The vegan and cruelty-free formula can be sprayed on pillowcases or pajamas as a sleep aid.
This smart alarm clock mimics natural sunlight in the morning and uses light simulation at night to help prepare your body to sleep. It analyzes several factors in your room including temperature, noise levels, lighting and humidity in order to help provide tips to help you sleep at night. It emits a soft light that begins 30 minutes before your scheduled wakeup time to mimic a sunrise that stimulates you to wake up and gradually dims in order to signal to your body that it is time to sleep. It also features radio functions and a "PowerWake" setting for the days where you can't afford to sleep in (but also gives you the option to snooze).
Comfortable pajamas might actually make you excited for bedtime. This soft and flattering pajama set is made from a rayon fabric that feels airy enough to sleep in and keep cool at night, but also comes in different styles such as camisoles and shorts to help you curate the perfect feel to fall asleep in.
Editor's note: This pick is sold out, but we found similar top-rated options below.
- Soma Cool Nights Short Sleeve Notch Collar Pajama Set in Black ($76.00)
- Soma Cool Nights Short Sleeve Pajama Set in Jaguar ($70.00)
- Stars Above Short Sleeve Notch Collar Top and Shorts Pajama Set ($21.99)
- Avidlove Pajama Set with Notch Collar Short Sleeve and Long Pants ($36.99)
More Sleep Award 2021 winners for digital
If you need to block out noise in order to fall asleep, these earbuds, although a bit of a splurge, might be worth considering. After all, a good night's sleep should be one that you invest in. They come in three different sizes in order to ensure a snug fit in your ear and also work with a corresponding app that plays relaxing sounds to help you fall asleep.
Don't have time in the day to meditate? The sleep section in the Headspace app offers soothing meditations in the form of "Sleepcasts" that narrate relaxing stories as well as guided nighttime exercises to help you fall back asleep if you wake up in the middle of the night.
Can't resist waking up and checking your phone in the middle of the night? The Loftie Alarm Clock is designed to help you keep your phone out of reach, instead waking you with a two-step alarm. The first stimulates while the second one is loud enough to get you out of bed. The clock also boasts auto-dimming capabilities to eliminate bright lights as you sleep.
The Fitbit Sense can monitor your sleeping habits and break them down for you by the time you wake up. It tracks your heart rate, skin temperature and oxygen levels to determine both the quality and the length of your sleep. It can also connect to the Fitbit app to help you keep tabs on other aspects of your health such as daily steps and menstrual cycles.
For more stories like this, check out:
- 8 weighted blankets that are perfect for hot sleepers
- Sleep tips: 11 best sleep products for a restful snooze
- These are the best blackout curtains for light sleepers