Juggling academic studies and work-life balance, all while trying to pencil in time for a little self-care is bound to affect your sleep quality — and not to your benefit. No offense to dear ol’ mom and dad for suggesting this once upon a time, but counting sheep isn’t cutting it anymore. You could turn to snooze-inducing products or holistic solutions for optimal shut eye, though I suggest being highly selective. After all, you want sleep aids that don’t make you drowsy the next day, but that also get the job done, right?
A handful of supplements marketed to help you catch some Zs will get you through the night, but ultimately leave you feeling awful in the a.m. Unfortunately there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to everyone’s sleeping woes, so the only way to find out what gets you to fall, stay asleep, and wake up in the morning feeling like the best version of yourself, is through trial and error.
Interestingly enough, though, raw melatonin supplements, which you might assume should help you get to sleep, often backfire. Certified sleep science coach and founder of SleepZoo, Chris Brantner warns Elite Daily these types of pills and powders are "notorious for making people wake up feeling groggy." Yikes. Rather than pop a few melatonin pills to lull yourself asleep, here are a few sleep aids you can rely on to a) make you snooze and b) ensure you wake up totally refreshed.
1. Read A Book Under The Covers
According to the results of a national survey that Sleep Cycle shared in an email with Elite Daily, out of 1,004 U.S. adults, 21 percent "read a relaxing book" as their go-to sleep aid every night. As someone who partakes in this activity themselves, I can honestly vouch that putting eyes to print on paper is a fool proof way to lull yourself to sleep. Plus, there's a science behind it all.
Doctor of psychology and licensed clinical social worker Dr. Danielle Forshee tells Elite Daily that any sort of technological device is going to "interrupt the brain's ability to recognize it's dark out and time to go to bed." In other words, scrolling through Instagram, or falling into the black hole of recipe blogs on Pinterest at 1 a.m., is stimulating, not relaxing, your mind.
Mattress Online reports that, according to a study performed by the University of Sussex, reading was found to not only to reduce stress by a whopping 68 percent, it was also noted as "more neurologically challenging than speaking or processing images." Basically, when you snuggle into a fresh set of sheets and crack open a book, your mind is working to absorb the information, your eyes are keeping up with the text, and your body is bound to grow very, very sleepy.
2. Take A Warm Shower
Even if you're more of a morning bather, borough your hair under a pretty shower cap, and let warm water droplets help you unwind a little before slipping into your PJs and hopping into bed. Mix in a little bit of self-pampering with a decadent body butter or exfoliant (Dove's new exfoliating body polishes, for example, are a real treat), and I guarantee you'll step out of the shower feeling a kind of ease you didn't know was humanely possible.
Dr. Sujay Kansagra, Mattress Firm's sleep health expert, informs Elite Daily that raising your body temperature this way "can help relax your mind," but the sudden drop in temperature once you go from steamy bathroom walls to a cool hallway or bedroom is what's really going to "help you get to sleep faster and wake up feeling refreshed."
3. Sip On A Mug Full Of Warm Milk
Obviously if you're lactose intolerant this sleep-inducing method doesn't work for you. But, if things are generally copacetic between dairy and your digestive system, this old school nighttime remedy might just work.
"The calcium found in milk can help your body make use of the tryptophan found in dairy," Brantner tells Elite Daily. Tryptophan, an amino acid in dairy, "triggers melatonin production to promote sleep," he says, so either drinking it straight, mixing in honey, cinnamon, or adding a few drops to tea can be a beneficial addition to your wind down routine.
4. Wear A Sleep Mask
Want the best sleep of your life? Block out as much light, be it artificial or sun rays - from creeping into your line of vision and disrupting your shut-eye.
Martha Cortes, MD, DDS, sleep expert and founder of Sleep Fitness LLC in NYC, told Elite Daily she suggests everyone use a sleep mask like the one photographed above by Sound Oasis because it shields your eyes from any sort of brightness, and helps encourage "natural melatonin secretion." Here's how it works: The GTS-2000 contains little focal points of blue light on the inside lenses.
According to the product's description, these "glo" points are designed to "slow the frequency of the brain's electrical activity" with a kind of hypnosis. If nothing else, the product is thick enough to keep eyes away from light disrupters so you don't have to worry about waking up to a bright alarm clock in your face, or sun light bleeding through your window.
5. Turn Up The Sound Machine
Identifying what, exactly, is the root cause of your inability to wake up feeling exhausted will help you figure out the tools you need to sleep soundly and feel the benefits the next morning. If sound is what's got you down, there's a device for that.
Experts at Adaptive Sound Technologies inform Elite Daily that to often it's external noise messing with people's sleep cycle and leaving them feeling fatigued in the a.m. The brand's line of sound machines can provide you with naturally recorded tracks of things like white noise and ocean waves to "create a soothing environment by blocking out all external sounds." As a result, you'll wake up feeling refreshed in the morning.
6. Gulp Down Drinks Infused With Melatonin
Resorting back to sips that make you sleepy, this is one melatonin product that won't make you feel drowsy the next day. Experts at Neuro tell Elite Daily that SLEEP is full of magnesium, which calms nerves and anxiety, and 3 mg of melatonin per serving.
What's more, unlike other sleep-inducing supplements that might taste medicinal, SLEEP is flavored with superfruit extracts like pomegranate, acai, and blueberry (yum). It's also not carbonated, so you won't be dealing with irritating gas bubbles during the night.