• Why Potatoes Are the Perfect Food for Sleep 

    Original Article | by Stephanie Eckelkamp · March 8, 2022, The Wellnest

    If you struggle with sleep, chances are you’ve tried it all: eye masks, reducing nighttime screen timeguided meditations, and more. But did you know nutrition can be another tool to help you slumber?

    Sweet potatoes, in particular, are a lovely little package of good carbs and sleep-promoting micronutrients. While it may seem like a strange pick, there are a few reasons why potatoes are some of the best foods to eat for better sleep. 


    study in the Journal of Sleep Research found carbohydrates were associated with less difficulty staying asleep—but only complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs are carbs composed of fibers and starches (think: the kind you find in whole plant foods such as potatoes and other veggies, legumes, and whole grains). They digest more slowly than the simple carbs present in sugary foods, refined grains, and baked goods. This means complex carbs lead to a slower, steadier rise and fall in blood sugar, not the type of blood sugar surge and subsequent drop that interferes with sleep. 

    Sugary foods and refined carbs, on the other hand, can cause a blood sugar spike and subsequent drop about four hours later—and this drop is associated with increased production of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which promotes alertness. Translation: Not a recipe for good sleep.


    Sweet potatoes still have a moderate impact on blood sugar, but that isn’t a bad thing. In fact, the nutrients they contain make them one of the best tryptophan foods for sleep. “They have the right amount of complex carbohydrates to elicit an insulin response that clears the way for the amino acid tryptophan to flood the brain with less competition from other amino acids,” says Judes Scharman Draughon, MS, RDN, author of 12 Fixes to Healthy. “More tryptophan in the brain helps promote more serotonin production and consequently more of the sleep-enhancing hormone melatonin.” 


    Think of sweet potatoes like a natural (and delicious) sleep supplement. “They have the right balance of nutrients like potassium and vitamin B6 to stimulate the production of the sleep hormones serotonin and melatonin,” says Scharman Draughon. Sweet potatoes also contain magnesium, which aids in the production of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which calms nerve activity and helps you relax. 

    What about white potatoes? They’re not as nutrient-rich, but as long as you’re not eating them in the form of French fries, go ahead and give them a try. “White potatoes produce similar sleep effects as sweet potatoes, but sweet potatoes contain more tryptophan than white potatoes and a nice dose of beta-carotene,” says Scharman Draughon.


    Whatever potato you choose, don’t eat it too late in the evening. “Eating any food within 60 minutes of going to bed can negatively affect your sleep,” says Scharman Draughon. Your best bet: Incorporate it into your dinner several hours before bed, or (if you’re still hungry) have half a potato as a small late-night snack a bit closer to bedtime. 

    “Eating a potato for dinner or at least four hours before bed may promote better sleep than eating it an hour before bed,” Scharman Draughon says “It takes time for all these sleep-promoting reactions to occur in the body.” That said, everybody is a little different, so you may need to experiment to find your ideal potato-eating window. 

    And if you can stomach it, eat the potato skin, too! This provides an extra dose of fiber which promotes balanced blood sugar—and eating enough fiber every day has been associated with improved sleep. Drizzling your baked potato with a little Greek yogurt, olive oil, avocado, or almond butter—all of which provide a dose of healthy fats—helps further stabilize blood sugar and aids in the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients such as beta-carotene (which helps support healthy eyes and skin and a stronger immune system). 


    Aside from potatoes and sweet potatoes, what are some other healthy bedtime snacks? Here are five foods to eat for better sleep:


    Oats are another complex carb that may have a similar sleep-promoting effect to potatoes. They also produce enough insulin to help clear the way for tryptophan to get to the brain. Plus, they contain a healthy dose of vitamin B6 and melatonin, making them one of the best bedtime snacks. but complex carbs aren’t the only way to enhance sleep. 


    Craving something sweet before bed? Good news: Kiwi is one of the best snacks you can have before bedtime. That’s because they have an unusually high serotonin content, according to Scharman Draughon. 


    Turns out, the age-old tradition of having a glass of milk before bed holds up. According to Scharman Draughon, it’s one of the best foods for deep sleep. “Drinking milk in the evening may help you sleep, as it contains a component known as casein trypsin hydrolysate (CTH), which binds to a receptor in the brain to suppress nerve signaling and promote sleep,” she says.


    “Tart cherries, with their high concentration of both melatonin and antioxidant capacity, also enhance sleep,” says Scharman Draughon. In fact, research shows that tart cherry juice before bed improves both sleep duration and sleep quality. Looking for some cherry bedtime snack ideas? Consider making a simple tart cherry smoothie with frozen tart cherries, magnesium-rich almond butter, milk (or non-dairy milk such as almond milk or oat milk), and a bit of easy-to-digest protein like HUM’s plant-based vanilla protein powder, Core Strength. In addition to sleep-promoting micronutrients, this blend contains protein, complex carbs, and fats to promote stable blood sugar. 


    For something lighter that you can sip closer to bedtime, try chamomile tea. This cozy beverage has been shown to improve sleep quality and quell anxiety, thanks in part to an antioxidant called apigenin, which appears to promote muscle relaxation and sleepiness. For something extra dreamy,  try one of these bedtime latte recipes.


    While some individual foods may offer sleep-promoting properties when consumed closer to bedtime, your overall eating pattern throughout the day is even more important.  

    One study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that even just one day of eating low fiber, high saturated fat foods negatively influenced participants’ sleep, in part, by interfering with slow wave sleep, which is considered the most restorative sleep stage. Additionally, eating a higher percentage of calories from sugar and refined carbohydrates was associated with waking up during the night, likely due to fluctuations in blood sugar.

    Eating low-fiber, high-sugar, and high-saturated fat foods during the day can also drive your urge for less healthy late-night snacking, which can further interfere with sleep, says Scharman Draughon. At meals, aim for a balance of protein, high-fiber complex carbs (veggies, whole grains, certain fruits), and a healthy source of fat (olive oil, avocadoes, nuts, seeds, salmon).


    Potatoes, especially sweet potatoes, offer a great combination of complex carbohydrates for steady blood sugar, along with vitamins and minerals that enhance the body’s production of sleep-promoting hormones and neurotransmitters. Try incorporating them into your dinner or a small evening snack for deeper, more restful sleep. Pro tip: Half a baked sweet potato slathered with almond butter and sprinkled with cinnamon is almost like dessert. 


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  • Why do more women struggle with insomnia than men?

    Sleeping is an essential part of our lives. It helps us recharge for the next day. Research in this area has helped understand various sleep disorders.

    But most research has dodged the question of how different women’s sleep patterns are compared to men.

    Why is insomnia more common in women?

    The National Sleep Foundation survey, one of the first surveys in this field, found that 46% of women reported troubles with sleep almost every night. Other studies also conclude that insomnia is 40% more prevalent among women.

    A prominent reason for this difference is biological, where hormone production during pregnancy, postpartum, menopause and menstruation changes. But social and cultural reasons, like work and family, also play a role, according to the survey.

    Gender and sleep

    Gender differences have important scientific consequences. For instance, almost a decade ago, the Food and Drug Administration reduced the recommended dose of zolpidem, a drug similar to Ambien, by half for women to treat insomnia. This came after the discovery that women metabolized the drug much slower than men — which led to gender-specific guidelines.

    “It was important to raise the issue of sex differences — which is biological differences between women and men — to point out that there are differences in sleep in both the sexes,” said Dr. Monica Mallampalli, the senior scientific adviser for and a board member for Alliance of Sleep Apnea Partners.

    For example, obstructive sleep apnea, a sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts, is typically found in men. But women also experience it, Mallampalli explained.Report ad

    “Usually, they’re misdiagnosed or undiagnosed, and the symptoms that they present are very different than what a typical man would present,” she said, adding, “it’s also mostly hormonal.” Fibromyalgia, a condition that causes pain all over the body, has also been linked to insomnia, peaking at puberty and menopause for women, both periods of hormonal change.

    What are the types of sleep problems women face?

    1. Depression, anxiety and stress

    Sleep is often tied to mental health and women are proven to be more likely to suffer through depression and anxiety. Studies show that women are more likely to ruminate about their concerns which can hamper their ability to fall asleep or go back to sleep.

    2. Pregnancy

    According to a study, around 30% of women say they rarely sleep and more than 50% have insomnia-like symptoms. Neck and back pain paired with difficulty finding a comfortable sleeping position can disturb the quality of sleep. These problems can persist after childbirth.

    3. Obstructive sleep apnea

    Women with sleeping problems like obstructive sleep apnea are less likely to be referred to specialized sleep clinics, according to a study on gender bias in sleep disorder diagnosis. Mallampalli explained, obstructive sleep apnea is often underdiagnosed in women.

    4. Restless leg syndrome

    This syndrome creates a strong under to move limbs, especially legs, when lying down. Restless leg syndrome is also more common in men than women. Mallampalli adds that this syndrome is commonly seen in pregnant women.

    How do you improve your quality of sleep?

    Environmental stimuli such as a bright light in the bedroom, traffic noises, music, television, room temperature, pets and bedpartners can all affect sleep. The Society for Women’s Health Research created a Women & Sleep guide which suggests darkening rooms with blackout shades and drapes, turning off electronics in the room and double-paning windows for noise cancellation.

    Earplugs, eye masks and white noise machines are also extremely helpful. Caffeine and electronic gadgets should be avoided at night time, as well as stimuli like nicotine and alcohol, according to researchers.

    Mallampalli, who was involved in creating this guide, believes that by spreading awareness, more women will be able to advocate for themselves and ask their physical care physicians about sleep health. And this is how a change can begin.

  • Air Filters in the Bedroom and Airway Resistance

    Posted by Lisa Spear | Original Post Apr 12, 2020 

    Using a bedroom air filter that traps fine particles of pollution with diameters smaller than 2.5 micrometers can significantly improve breathing in asthmatic children, a new study in JAMA Pediatrics found.

    The research documents that physiological improvements occur in the childrens’ airways when air filters are in use, and it suggests that with consistent use, the filters may help prevent, not just alleviate, asthmatic flare-ups.

    While using the filters daily for two weeks, children in the study experienced decreased airway resistance and lung inflammation and increased airway elasticity, among other benefits.

    Air Purifier and Sleep

    “Pharmaceutical companies have spent large amounts to develop drugs that can work on lower airways, but they are very expensive. Our results show that using an air purifier to reduce the exposure of lower airways to pollutants could help asthmatic children breathe easier without those costly drugs,” Junfeng Zhang, professor of global and environmental health at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, says in a statement.

    “This warrants a clinical trial to confirm findings,” he says.

    Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is a ubiquitous air pollutant originating from fossil fuel emissions, wildfires and other biomass burning, industrial sources, and gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles. Thirty times smaller in diameter than a human hair, the particles are easily inhaled and can penetrate deep into the small, or lower, airways where they can trigger or exacerbate asthma symptoms. Inhalers don’t help, since they are only designed to open upper airways, according to the researchers.

    The scientists conducted the double-blind crossover study in a Shanghai suburb during a period of moderately high PM2.5 pollution in 2017. They gave 43 children with mild to moderate asthma two air filters to use in their bedrooms. One was a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter capable of removing PM2.5; the other was a sham filter. Each filter was used for two weeks in random order with a two-week interval in between. Neither the children nor their families knew which filter was which.

    Results showed that PM2.5 concentrations inside the children’s bedrooms were a third to two-thirds lower when the real air filters were in use than when the sham ones were being used, Michael H. Bergin, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering, says in a statement.

    This drop coincided with significant improvements in how easily air flowed in and out of the children’s small airways and lungs, Bergin says. These improvements included a 24% average reduction in total airway resistance, a 43.5% average reduction in small airway resistance, a 73.1% average increase in airway elasticity, and a 27.6% average reduction in exhaled nitric oxide, a biomarker of lung inflammation.

    Although the benefits lasted only as long as the real air filters were in use, “it’s probable that if children use the filters on an ongoing daily basis they will see continued benefits,” Zhang says.

    If clinical trials confirm the new study’s findings, the filters could serve as a practical preventive measure for asthma management in polluted outdoor or indoor environments worldwide, he says. They could also be lifesavers in areas near wildfires.

    “Look at the high PM2.5 pollution levels that occurred in San Francisco last year as a result of smoke from the California wildfires, and at the air-quality problems happening this year from the bushfires in Australia,” he says. “People should really consider using one of these devices during wildfires.”

  • Can Oily Fish, Cherries or Milk Help You Sleep? Here’s What the Evidence Shows

    James BrownAston University and Duane MellorAston University

    Original Article | Posted by Lisa Spear | Dec 17, 2021 | Sleep & the Body

    Almost one-in-five British people report they don’t get enough sleep each night. The problem is so bad that in total the UK public are losing around a night’s worth of shut-eye each week.

    There are a lot of popular beliefs about foods and drinks helping people get a good night’s rest, but many of them are not based on scientific evidence. Here’s what we know.

    Chemistry of food and sleep

    Our diet has an influence upon sleep patterns by affecting the sleep hormone melatonin. For example, foods rich in the essential amino acid tryptophan are commonly cited as helping sleep, as tryptophan helps produce melatonin. Additionally, some vitamins and minerals may help sleep, such as vitamin Dmagnesium and zinc.

    Oily fish: Evidence suggests the more oily fish, such as salmon or herring, you eat the better you sleep. Oily fish contain healthy fats such as omega-3 oils which have been shown to improve sleep in children and are involved in serotonin release. Serotonin, a brain chemical linked to mood, also regulates the sleep-wake cycle which may also explain how eating oily fish can help.

    Tart cherries: A number of studies have looked at consumption of tart cherries, usually in the form of a drink, and sleep. Evidence suggests that tart cherries improves sleep in older adults, probably due to their ability to increase melatonin levels. And tart cherries are also rich in nutrients, including magnesium, which also may improve your sleep.

    Kiwi fruit: The evidence for kiwi fruit helping you sleep is mixed. One study suggested four weeks of kiwi fruit consumption improved multiple sleep measures, while another, admittedly in sufferers of insomnia, found no effect. Based on these findings it is not clear yet that eating kiwi fruit will benefit sleep for most people.

    Oysters: In 1888 W F Nelsom wrote “He who sups on oysters is wont on that night to sleep placidly…”. There is some evidence to back up this statement, with zinc-rich foods, including oysters, being reported to benefit sleep. However, on balance eating oysters before bedtime is unlikely to be beneficial to your night’s sleep.

    Alcohol and other drinks

    Alcohol causes brain activity to slow down and has sedative effects that can induce feelings of relaxation and sleepiness> But consuming alcohol is actually linked to poor sleep quality and duration. Although drinking alcohol may cause more rapid sleep onset, this can affect the different stages of sleep, decreasing overall sleep quality. If you want a good night’s sleep, avoiding alcohol is sound advice. But are there any non-alcoholic drinks that might help?

    Warm milk: Research conducted in the 1970s suggested that a glass of warm milk before bed could improve sleep quality. This research was performed in a very small group however, and little research has been done since. Drinking milk does increase melatonin levels which could help. But there isn’t enough evidence to support the claim that a glass of warm milk definitely makes you nod off.

    Bone broth: Bone broth commonly crops up in online articles as a food that can aid sleep. This may be due its high content of the amino acid glycine. Glycine has been shown to improve sleep in rodents and humans, possibly by lowering body temperature. There are however no studies specifically looking at bone broth consumption and sleep.

    Herbal teas: The range of herbal teas aimed at the sleep market has grown and grown. Evidence for valerian, a common ingredient, to aid sleep is inconclusive. Decaffeinated green tea has been reported to improve sleep quality, which might be linked to the relaxing qualities of L-theanine, an amino acid it contains, but in general, avoiding caffeinated teas is a wise choice. If you like herbal teas, then they can be part of a relaxing pre-bedtime routine – but they are unlikely to improve your sleep quality.

    A bedtime routine

    Having a bedroom environment and daily routines that promote consistent, uninterrupted sleep are important. These include keeping to the same time to head off to bed, making your bedroom free of disruptions and having a relaxing pre-sleep routine. But many of the foods that have claimed benefits for sleep have little or no evidence behind them, to the point there are no legally recognized health claims for food assisting sleep approved in the UK or Europe.

    If any one of these things helps you to sleep well, there’s no reason to stop. But just remember the other basics of a good nights sleep too, including relaxing before bed and avoiding too much blue light from electronic devices.

    James Brown, Associate Professor in Biology and Biomedical Science, Aston University and Duane Mellor, Lead for Evidence-Based Medicine and Nutrition, Aston Medical School, Aston University

    This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

  • All the best sleep products we tested in 2021

    We thought to jumpstart the New Year we would share this exhaustive list of fantastic sleep aids. We stumbled across this article from CNN and found it shareworthy.

    CNN Underscored is constantly testing products — be it coffee makers or office chairs — to find the absolute best in each respective category.

    Our testing process is rigorous, consisting of hours of research (consulting experts, reading editorial reviews and perusing user ratings) to find the top products in each category. Once we settle on a testing pool, we spend weeks — if not months — testing and retesting each product multiple times in real-world settings. All this in an effort to settle on the absolute best products.

    This year, we tested dozens of sleep-related products — from bedding to alarm clocks — to find the best products you need to get the rest you need.


    Down comforters


    Best down comforter overall: Brooklinen Down Comforter (starting at $159;

    Have you ever wished you could sleep on the clouds? Well, the Brooklinen Down Comforter is the closest thing to that. From the moment we took it out of the packaging, we had a hunch that this would be a favorite. And we were right.

    The comforter comes in three different weight options: lightweight, all-season and ultra warm. We tested the all-season comforter, and despite it being the middle of winter with temperatures dropping indoors and out, we found it to perfectly balance snuggly warmth with breathability. Though on the heavier end of the spectrum (it boasts a 700 fill power and baffle box design), we never found the comforter to trap too much heat or cause nighttime sweating. The comforter, with its 100% cotton sateen shell, was one of the softest we tested — and the one we kept coming back to cuddle into most nights.

    Best down comforter for warmth: The Company Store Legends Hotel Alberta Down Comforter (starting at $299;

    When it comes to warmth and coziness, the Legends Hotel Alberta Down Comforter from The Company Store is unrivaled.

    Full disclosure: This comforter is for truly frosty climates, or especially cold sleepers. Though available in three different weights — light, medium and extra, all of which sport a baffle box construction — we tested and recommend the extra warmth option (which has a 650 fill power). While our main tester, who tends to sleep hot, found this lofty comforter slightly too heavy to sleep with throughout the night, a cold-sleeping family member absolutely loved the warmth the Legends Hotel Alberta Down Comforter provided.

    Best down-alternative comforter: Buffy Cloud Comforter (starting at $109.65;

    The Buffy Cloud Comforter was like no other comforter we tested. This down-alternative comforter was by far the best alternative version we tested — and the only one we’d recommend, as the other down alternatives we tested lacked in both quality of construction and comfort.

    Although this was a new type of material for us — as we typically sleep with a down comforter in our nontesting days — we thought the fabric was very soft and lightweight but still heavy enough to keep us warm throughout the night. The comforter was also very quiet, emitting no crinkling sounds when shifting sleeping positions.

    • Read more from our testing of comforters here.

    Flannel sheets


    Best overall flannel sheets: Garnet Hill Hemstitched Supima Flannel Bedding ($197 for a queen set;

    Luxurious without feeling overly thick or too weighty, Garnet Hill offers a delectably comfortable flannel sheet at a mid-to-high end price point, starting at $197 for a queen set (which includes two pillowcases, a fitted sheet and a flat sheet). These flannels come in lots of varieties of color and size, and instill confidence you’re getting a quality product that’ll last for years to come.

    Best lighter-weight option: West Elm Organic Flannel Solid Sheet Set ($170 for a queen set;

    Very close to our overall favorite because it is both supremely cozy and the most lightweight of all the sets we tested is West Elm’s organic flannel sheet, which starts at $170 for a queen set. These sheets didn’t come out on top because they’re available in only two colors and cannot be ordered a la carte like Garnet Hill’s sheets.

    Best cold-weather sheets: L.L.Bean Ultrasoft Comfort Flannel Sheet Set ($119 for a queen set;

    If you’re sleeping in really cold weather and you want to feel positively bundled, L.L.Bean makes a weighty flannel sheet for you — at a competitive price point for the level of craftsmanship therein at $119 for a queen set.

    Best bargain: Pinzon Signature Cotton Heavyweight Velvet Flannel Sheet Set ($70.99 for a queen set;

    Also delivering an excellent and very warm night of sleep, Pinzon by Amazon turns out a substantial flannel sheet at just $70.99 for a queen set. That’s half the price of some of the other higher-end brands, but you won’t feel like you’re sacrificing quality.

    • Read more from our testing of flannel sheets here.

    Linen sheets


    Best linen sheets overall: Parachute Linen Sheet Set (starting at $149;

    Making the bed with these sheets was effortless. We’ve struggled with tight-fitting cotton sheets before, wondering why bed-making must be truly laborious. The Parachute linens were roomy but not baggy. They fit the bed comfortably, like a lovingly worn-in linen button-down. On the summer night we first tested these, the sheets were soft but also firm. If this sounds uncomfortable, it was the converse: cool, light and luxurious. Our first mental note was that we felt like we were sleeping on a cloud.

    Runner-up linen sheets: Citizenry (starting at $230;

    These are a sturdier, thicker option than some of the ones we tested, and thus feel like they’ll transition well into colder weather. Without an air conditioner unit blasting directly onto us in the heat of summer, these sheets almost felt heavy — so they wouldn’t be our first recommendation for hot sleepers. In a more temperature-controlled room, though, they felt so cozy we didn’t want to leave the bed.

    After even the first washing, these beauties softened significantly, rendering them even more snuggly.

    Softest linen sheets: Brooklinen (starting at $269;

    These sheets are the definition of soft. So comfortable. So enveloping. So melty. (They’re crafted from 100% French and Belgian linen, made in Portugal, and Oeko-Tex-certified for chemical safety.) We sort of dissolved into them in a very pleasing way. They felt like they had been washed and rewashed dozens of times, already achieving that texture, and from a sleeping experience alone, they were our favorite.

    Best affordable linen sheets: Amazon Simple&Opulence 100% Washed Linen Sheet Set (starting at $114;

    For less than $150, this is a very satisfying set of linens. While the sheets were slightly less luxurious-feeling and special than some of the other sets with special details or touches, these rank as high-quality, durable bedding more than worth their weight.

    • Read more from our testing of linen sheets here.

    Duvet covers

    Boll & Branch

    Best duvet cover overall: Casper Sateen Duvet Cover (starting at $99;

    Hands down, the Casper Sateen Duvet Cover was the best duvet cover we tested. From the moment we took it out of the bag, we knew this one would be a winner. Between the zipper closure at the bottom to the hidden holes on the corners to more easily attach the cover to the duvet, the design of this duvet cover blew the others we tested out of the water — all for a middle-of-the-road price tag.

    Best duvet cover for warmth: L.L.Bean Ultrasoft Comfort Flannel Comforter Cover (starting at $64.95;

    For the colder months, or for those looking to outfit their cozy cabin, the L.L.Bean Ultrasoft Comfort Flannel Comforter Cover will give you the utmost softest feel while adding some warmth, as it was made from the thickest material we tested. And at less than $100 for a king-size cover, its quality and comfort surpass the price.

    Best luxury duvet cover: Boll & Branch Signature Eyelet Duvet Cover Set (starting at $358;

    Want something a little more than plain Jane when it comes to design? If so, the Boll & Branch Signature Eyelet Duvet Cover is the perfect middle ground: It’s elegant but adds some design elements with borders. A full overlay also covers the bottom buttons, completing the design border. The quality is superb, with all stitching, ties and buttons fully secure. Note that this duvet cover isn’t cheap — in fact, it’s the most expensive of all we tested — but it’s one of the few luxury brands that also includes shams, making it easy to ensure that your bedding will match.

    Best affordable duvet cover: Mellanni Microfiber (starting at $27;

    If you love walking into a hotel room and getting comfy on those sleek-looking beds, you’ll love the Mellanni Microfiber Duvet Cover. With hidden button covers and matching shams and pillows, this comfortable duvet cover will lend an elegant vibe to your bedroom — at just around $30 in total for a five-piece set, an absolute steal in our book.

    • Read more from our testing of duvet covers here.

    Silk pillowcases


    Best silk pillowcase overall: Fishers Finery 25mm 100% Pure Mulberry Silk Pillowcase ($49.99;

    Fishers Finery — made from the finest silk available — felt luxuriously silky, fit our pillows perfectly, offered beautiful nights of sleep and were easy to wash and dry both by hand and in the machine.

    Best affordable silk pillowcase: MYK Silk Natural Silk Pillowcase with Cotton Underside ($23.99;

    The MYK Silk Natural Silk Pillowcase, featuring lovely silk on one side and white cotton on the other, offered a good fit, restful sleep and for about half the price of the Fishers Finery option — though it’s notably less luxurious-feeling.

    Best luxury silk pillowcase: Lunya Washable Silk Pillowcase ($74;

    We couldn’t get enough sleeps on the Lunya Washable Silk Pillowcase. Also a silk on one side, cotton on the other option, Lunya’s silk surface case was the most lavish to the touch, and design details made it feel significantly elevated.

    • Read more from our testing of silk pillowcases here.

    Alarm clocks

    Kai Burkhardt/CNN

    Best alarm clock overall: Jall Wooden Digital Alarm Clock ($25;

    The Jall Wooden Digital Alarm Clock looks great and has everything you need in an alarm clock. It’s simple to set, read, and use, and can wake you dependably with multiple alarms.

    Runner-up: DreamSky Compact Digital Alarm Clock ($18.99;

    An easy-to-use alarm clock without any bells and whistles to get in the way, the DreamSky is simple, durable, and highly readable, and will get you out of bed in the morning with a loud beep that isn’t too startling.

    Best sunrise alarm clock (and best with radio): Philips Wake-Up Light HF3520 ($99.99;

    Able to wake you gently with lights that gradually brighten to mimic the dawn, the Philips Wake-Up Light HF3520 is a great sunrise alarm clock and one of the best all-around alarm clocks we tested, with intuitive programming, a wide range of alarm tones and a radio.

    Best alarm clock for heavy sleepers: Sonic Bomb Dual Extra-Loud Alarm Clock With Bed Shaker ($32.07, originally $52.95;

    With the most intense, abrasive sound of any alarm we tested, a strobe light, and a vibrating puck that you place under your pillow, the Sonic Bomb can awaken even the heaviest sleepers

    • Read more from our testing of alarm clocks here.

    White noise machines

    Benjamin Levin/CNN

    Best sound machine overall: Sound+Sleep Mini ($65.63;

    The Sound+Sleep Mini contains 48 different sounds, like rain, brooks, fans, ocean sounds, white noise, and many more. The other devices we tested feature some of these soundscapes, but the Mini is one of the only one that has them all. .

    The upgrade pick: Hatch Restore ($129.99;

    While our overall pick is a classic sound machine, the Hatch Restore resides packs extra features like a large color-changing light on the front, a digital clock display and routines to help you wind down and fall asleep easier.

    • Read more from our testing of white noise machines here.

    Sleep mask


    Best sleep mask overall: Mavogel Cotton Sleep Eye Mask ($9.98;

    Let’s get right to our favorite thing about this mask: the adjustable nose wire. Similar to the nose wire in the masks that we have become all too familiar with in the last year, the Mavogel’s nose wire lets you get the perfect light-blocking, lock-in-place fit. Many masks had a slight crack of light around the nose bridge. This mask, though, formed the best seal around the edges, blocking out more light than any other mask we tested.

    • Read more from our testing of sleep masks here.

  • How To Wind Down for Better Sleep—Especially if You’re an Introvert

    Original Post | Erica Sloan・December 15, 2021

    Picture the pinnacle of social exhaustion: Perhaps, you’ve just spent four hours at a work holiday party, meeting the humans behind a bunch of Zoom squares IRL for the first time. Or, maybe you had a day of reconnecting with family members you haven’t seen in two, time-blurred pandemic years. It would seem that hitting the hay would be the most obvious solution—but once you get into bed, your body seems to say, Not so fast. For introverts, in particular, the draining nature of being social can leave you, paradoxically, chasing sleep.

    In general, that counterproductive scenario springs from the difference between feeling fatigued and feeling tired, says psychologist and behavioral sleep-medicine specialist Shelby Harris, PsyD, DBSM, author of The Women’s Guide to Overcoming Insomnia. While the former reflects a total drain of energy (which tends to happen for an introvert after a social event), the latter is more about physical sleepiness, which is that drowsy feeling that allows you to drift off to dreamland.

    “For introverts, socializing tends to overstimulate the brain and body, leading some to feel irritable, indecisive, or on edge.” —behavioral sleep-medicine specialist Shelby Harris, PsyD

    “For introverts, socializing tends to overstimulate the brain and body, leading some to feel irritable, indecisive, or on edge, or even to get physical symptoms, like a headache or muscle aches,” says Dr. Harris. “While all of that can be extremely exhausting, it doesn’t necessarily lead to feeling sleepy.” By contrast, a social event can actually flood the brain with uppers like dopamine, adrenaline, and cortisol, which, for an introvert, tend to be perceived negatively, says Mike Dow, PsyD, psychotherapist at Field Trip Health, a psychedelic-assisted therapy practice. In fact, these neurotransmitters can keep you reeling long after an event wraps up (cue: the introvert hangover).RELATED STORIESHow To Make Waking Up in the Dark Suck Less, According to…Not an Early Bird or Night Owl? Science Suggests There May Be…

    Trying to get to sleep in that state can require a whole lot more than simply getting into bed; after all, the process of falling asleep is nothing like an on-off switch, biologically, says Dr. Harris. For an introvert, especially, easing your mind into sleep mode is best done with a calming pre-bed ritual. Below, the experts share tips for socially exhausted introverts who want nothing more than to get a good night’s sleep.

    It’s especially hard for introverts to sleep after a highly social experience, but these 5 tips can help

    1. Create a container for your thoughts.

    “Introverts are internal processors,” says psychologist Laurie Helgoe, PhD, author of Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength. “They often take inputs from conversations and process them later, which can mean mulling over what someone said, replaying or continuing a conversation, coming up with a better comeback, and the like.”

    Journaling can help put a pause to that spiral by providing a space for you to essentially unload all of your thoughts, and, if you’d like, feel free to return to them later—ideally at a time when you’re not trying desperately to get catch precious zzz’s.

    2. Talk back to negative self-talk.

    In re-assessing a social event (as introverts are wont to do), you may find that certain percolating thoughts devolve into negative or anxious ones. For example, it’s easy to start over-evaluating and hyper-personalizing, says Dr. Dow. “Maybe you start thinking, ‘Was Cindy looking at me weird? I must have done something wrong.’ And as the night goes on, the thoughts can turn more catastrophic in nature, leading to something like, ‘If I don’t get a good night’s sleep, I’m going to botch this presentation tomorrow, and if that happens, I could get fired,’ and so on,” he says.

    In that case, he suggests employing one of the classic strategies of cognitive behavioral therapy, which is to reconsider thoughts and feelings not as facts but merely as information, which you can choose to disregard. “Access the best parts of yourself to talk back to those inner voices,” he says.

    3. Write in a gratitude journal.

    Taking time to remember all the things for which you’re grateful—whether they include highlights from the social activity of the day, or something else entirely—can also help you forgo the kind of thought-spiraling that tends to ward off sleep.

    “Because introverts are natural problem-solvers, they can get stuck in focusing on what’s not working,” says Dr. Helgoe. “But a gratitude list can help you balance that problem orientation by reminding you of what is working.” And that, in and of itself, can be incredibly soothing.

    4. Practice some non-screen-based relaxation.

    While it’s tempting to scroll through Instagram or scan emails in bed to occupy a restless mind, that level of mental stimulation, combined with the melatonin-suppressing blue light, is a recipe for wakefulness. Instead, do anything non-screen-related that feels calming and relaxing, whether that’s reading, knitting, listening to music, or even coloring or doing a simple crossword or jigsaw puzzle, says Dr. Harris. (You can also practice mindfulness meditation, but because this can be challenging to really sink into with an overactive mind, Dr. Harris says it’ll be most beneficial for someone who already has a daytime meditation practice.

    If you’re really at a loss for where to start, try connecting with each of the five senses, says Dr. Dow: “Soothe your sense of touch with a bath, your sense of smell with a lavender candle, your sense of sight with dimmed lighting, your sense of hearing with calming music or a meditation track, and your sense of taste with a nighttime tea.”

    5. And if you’re tossing and turning, get out of bed.

    Trying to make sleep happen often keeps it from, well, happening. So, instead of remaining in bed and trying to will yourself asleep, get up, walk into another room, and return to whatever wind-down exercise you were doing beforehand in dim lighting, says Dr. Harris: “Simply changing what you’re doing and where you’re doing it can often help stop an overactive mind in its tracks.”

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