Make the transition into autumn and winter easier with these simple sleep tools
The struggle is real this time of year when we adjust to the end of daylight savings time, when clocks "fall back", throwing sleep into chaos. Sleep is crucial to our physical, mental and emotional health. The Sleep Foundation links poor sleep with a higher risk for certain diseases and medical conditions, including obesity, type two diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, depression, seasonal affective disorder, anxiety and even early death.
Most of us, luckily, just feel groggy and grumpy for a week or two, but that's still a week or two of lost productivity and personal time. Luckily, there are simple strategies you can incorporate into your routine to help mitigate affects of "falling back" so you can sail into autumn and winter without losing any sleep at all.
Here are our six favourite products to help make the adjustment easily....
1. SmartSleep Sleep and Wake-up Light by Philips, $219.99
PhilipsYour circadian rhythm regulates your internal "alarm clock". It intuitively manages your sleep/wake patterns and it's largely regulated by light, both the amount and type. When there's a disruption to the timing of your sleep, even by just an hour, your circadian rhythm becomes discombobulated, resulting in difficulty falling asleep, disrupted sleep, fatigue throughout the day and more.
This wake-up light ingeniously mimics sunrise by lighting up your room gradually for 30 minutes before your alarm goes off, stimulating your body to wake up naturally using light to signal your circadian rhythm—all while you're still asleep, meaning you wake up feeling refreshed. And at the end of the day, use the device to mimic the warm glow of a sunset and prepare your body for sleep by gradually decreasing light (with optional sound effects) to your set duration, guiding you into a state of deep relaxation before you drift off to sleep.
2. Hybrid 2500 Mattress by Simba, $1499
SimbaAt least a quarter of our life is spent in bed, yet so many people neglect this crucial piece of furniture, allowing it to become misshapen, saggy and wholly unsupportive over time. With a proper bed, you'll not only look forward to climbing in each night, but the time you spend in it will result in quality sleep.
Simba's award-winning mattresses are designed in the U.K. and made in Canada. While the springs are made from 100 percent British steel, everything else is sourced locally, with the mattresses manufactured in Toronto. The Hybrid 2500 features their proprietary open-cell foam, Simbatex, memory foam and 2,500 conical pocket springs integrated into five layers. While firmness is subjective, this is classified as medium-firm providing incredible—and plush—support that back- and stomach-sleepers will appreciate.
3. Essential Oils by Vitruvi, kits starting at $48
Britney GillThe power of scent should never be underestimated. When you smell something, your olfactory nerves send signals to your amygdala and limbic system, which are the parts of the brain responsible for storing memories and moods. That's why we often pause when a favourite scent (whether it's fresh rain on hot concrete or buttery croissants from a bakery) wafts our way. That's your brain recalling a scent memory and eliciting an emotional response.
Similarly, using aromatherapy to help regulate sleep (and, conversely, productivity during the day) is a powerful tool, especially when you're trying to establish a new sleep schedule. Vitruvi's incredibly potent and artfully blended essential oils not only smell luxuriously beautiful but have deeper benefits. Try their Unwind Kit, which includes four different relaxing blends, featuring one of their most popular scents, Sleep, blended with lavender, frankincense and ylang ylang. Many of Vitruvi's diffusers have intermittent settings, allowing the scent to be gently diffused over an extended time. The Stay diffuser, for example, can run continuously for six hours, or intermittently for 12 or 18 hours, keeping you ensconced in gentle, soothing fragrance throughout the evening into morning. During the day, try the four blended scents in their Uplift Kit to signal the start of a productive day and help keep you feeling energized.
All of Vitruvi's essential oil blends are potent, so start with just a few drops and experiment until you find the perfect saturation that works for you.
4. Weighted Blanket by Casper, starting $219
CasperAn hour's difference might feel most significant when you're trying to go to bed at a reasonable time, but your brain is tempting you to stay up later with an "extra" hour. If your mind tends to ramp up just when you're trying to get to sleep, the comfort of a weighted blanket might help. They work through the use of pressure therapy—similar to how babies are soothed when swaddled. It's almost like getting a full-body hug, which reduces feelings of anxiety, while increasing feelings of safety, calm and relaxation. The pressure of a properly weighted blanket signals your autonomic nervous system to go into "rest" mode and, eventually, "sleep" mode.
It's recommended you choose a weighted blanket that's approximately 10 percent of your body weight. Casper's weighted blankets are available in 10 pound, 15 pound and 20 pound, and are deceptively thin given their mass. So you have all the benefits of comforting weight without the bulk, which is helpful if you're layering blankets or catching a nap on the couch (with less room for overly poufy bedding).
The weights are made up of glass microbeads and distributed evenly through rectangular quilting, similar to the channels used in performance wear. Fluffy batting also helps keep the weights in place while providing a little extra cushioning as it drapes smoothly over your body with maximum contact and minimal bunching. The entire blanket has a breathable cotton shell promoting air circulation, helping to regulate body temperature—another crucial element in getting a good night's rest.
5. The Luxe Foam Pillow by Endy, $125 (standard size)
EndyDid you know it's recommended that pillows be replaced every two to four years? An old pillow, or the wrong kind of pillow, can drastically affect the quality of your sleep. Endy's new luxe foam pillow looks deceptively flat, but it's incredibly supportive while also being soft, cradling your head without getting crushed so the support remains consistent throughout the night. The pillow itself is made from perforated, bamboo charcoal-infused memory foam that promotes ventilation and temperature regulation, so if you're someone who routinely flips your pillow throughout the night to find the cool side, your flipping nights are over.
It also comes with a soft machine washable pillow cover, which helps extend the life of your pillow. Like all foam products, there's some off-gassing involved, but it's minimal and their foam is CertiPUR-US certified, meaning it’s safe from formaldehyde, phthalates and more. After a day of airing, the smell is negligible, and you can hasten this process by occasionally kneading the pillow like dough before first use. This is an excellent choice for back- and stomach-sleepers, or side-sleepers on a soft mattress.
6. Calm, $76.99/year
If you need some extra help getting into the right headspace at night, Calm is an award-winning app for sleep, meditation and relaxation with over 100 million downloads. This is a one-stop shop for everything mindfulness-related, from extensive options for background white noise, to guided meditations and sleep stories. Imagine listening to a bedtime story told in dulcet tones by one of their celebrity voices such as Harry Styles, Matthew McConaughey or even LeBron James. Calm also has archival recordings of Bob Ross available, alongside thousands of other narrated stories.
You can always try Calm for a one-week free trial period before committing, and they have monthly subscription rates available as well.