We might just have finished May’s Better Sleep Month, but sleep — or the lack of it thereof — is an ongoing problem for millions of people. Experts say that not nearly enough people are getting their requisite seven to nine hours, and our addiction to technology — who hasn’t checked emails in the middle of the night? — is making things even worse.
Sleeping better, said Dr. Robert Oexman, director of the Sleep to Live Institute in Mebane, N.C., requires a commitment, much like dieting or exercising regularly.
“We need to make it a priority,” Oexman said. “We lose focus and have so many distractions and committing to sleeping becomes harder to do. Fewer than 0.01% percent of people can get by with not enough sleep and not have side effects,” he said.
Oexman suggests that people develop a nightly ritual that they stick to for at least three weeks to get their sleeping patterns regulated, and that they focus on a few key things to help them get there.
“This isn’t a smorgasbord approach,” he said. “We look at the environment, behavior and sleeping partners — including children and pets. Consuming energy drinks during the day carries over into the evening. Alcohol has a disruptive effect on quality sleep. We need to look at lighting, temperature, noise, sheets, blankets and mattress, and creating the right conditions to ensure good quality and quantity of sleep.”
Here are some things to sip, slide into, rest your head on or set atop your bedside table, all intended to help you happily doze off.
3 cups of this a day
Chamomile is widely known for its calming effect on the body. In a product called Sleep, a loose-leaf tea from Teasäne, chamomile is just one of several herbs used for similar properties: alfalfa for balancing hormones and relieving anxiety; lemon verbena to relax the nervous system. The product also contains flax, rose hip and sage. The company suggests drinking three cups a day for two weeks to maintain consistently good sleep.
$18.95 at liveteasane.com
Beat the heat
Ashley Merrill, founder of Santa Monica-based loungewear brand Lunya, recently launched her Restorative Sleepwear offering; the Pima cotton pieces are embedded with a technology called Celliant that helps to absorb and convert body heat, increasing oxygen levels in the body and promoting rest. Merrill said that the offering is predicated on her belief that “wellness is a pyramid with sleep being the foundation.”
From $62. Available at lunya.co or its studio/store, the Bedroom, 1032 Broadway, Santa Monica.
A calming scent
Combination ambient light, mister, dehumidifier and aromatherapy diffuser, the Zoe by Pilgrim was designed to lend a tranquil air to any room — and the company’s newly launched “Rest” collection of essential oils works with it to deliver a calming scent to the bedroom.
“I put it on about an hour before bedtime, and it’s a way to create a rhythm and to reset,” said Louis Verspreeuwen, the brand’s co-founder. The oil blend, which includes lavender, red mandarin and ravintsara (similar to eucalyptus oil), “helps to rest your mind,” Verspreeuwen said. “We know how difficult it can be to disconnect.”
Diffuser is $120. Oils are $40. At pilgrimcollection.com
Tossing and turning? It might not be your mattress. Logan Newell co-founded Sleepgram pillows to help his then-new bride sleep better, and after running through a host of new mattresses. The pillows are customizable; each zippered outer case comes with two different-sized inserts that can be modified for varying degrees of softness, ranging from flat and firm to soft and plump.
“The three variations work with a wide variety of people,” Newell said of the pillows, which are allergen-free (they are made from a microfiber-polyester alternative to down). “It’s a tiny product menu, where people can get what they want with no extra clutter and make it their own.”
$65 per pillow; discounts for multiples. sleepgram.com