While we know big-picture habits—like exercise and stress management—have a massive impact on the quality of our sleep, sometimes a couple of handy products can help.
We’re talking about the essentials you use every night in order to maintain a consistent bedtime routine or the things you reach for during those nights when nothing seems to be working and you’re about to drive yourself crazy counting sheep.
Need some recommendations? We had members of the Nutritious Life team share what they keep close to their beds night after night for restful slumber and sweet dreams. (Hint: Apparently we employ a lot of bookworms!)
(Featured Photo: Shutterstock)
The Sleep Essentials NL Team Members Keep on Their Nightstands
Foam Rollers, a Noise Machine, and Cheap Earbuds
I SWEAR by foam rolling before bed every night. It helps me work out a stubborn knot in my back that bothers me daily (probably because I’m on the computer all day), with the soreness I usually have from lifting weights regularly, and really does help me sleep better overall. I started sleeping with a noise machine years ago when we lived in a walk-up in New York City with ceramic tile floors in the hallway and a clanging radiator. I used to use a different one, but when I had two kids I had to upgrade to this one.
I also have lavender oil, chapstick (which I re-apply sometimes if I wake up in the middle of the night), hand lotion, and Anthropologie candles (Capri Blue in Volcano scent are my absolute fave). Finally: cheap earbuds. I know iPhones and iPads are a no-no for sleep hygiene, but I break this rule. Watching a movie can honestly be like singing a lullaby to me, and sometimes if I wake up in the middle of the night (which rarely happens), it’s the only time I can indulge in a show that only I want to watch, so I find the silver lining. iPhone earbuds hurt my ears if I’m laying on my side falling asleep to Netflix, so I get knockoff ones that fit better in my ears for bed.
Tea, an Overnight Mask, and CBD
During the week, my night almost always ends with a book and a cup of tea. It’s my favorite way to unwind after a long workday, and it keeps me off my phone and computer (and away from blue light!) for that hour or two before bed. I just recently moved to New York from California, and my skin is not happy with the cold weather (winter dryness isn’t really a thing when you’re dealing with a 50/60 degree winter). Using an intensive moisture mask every night has been a complete lifesaver. I also keep a few of my favorite oils next to my bed for morning and night use—tea tree oil (my go-to topical treatment for sudden breakouts) and CBD (I take a few drops on nights when I need a little extra calm, or in the morning before a stressful day).
Water, Journals, and Palo Santo
A few things always on my nightstand: A handful of books (my current read from the library is Hillbilly Elegy), my glasses (first thing I put on in the morning and last I take off at night! I’m blind), and a candle (I light one almost every night. My current is Fig + Cardamom spice and smells like WTHN which I love). I also have multiple journals (but I promise each of them has their own specific purpose) and pens, which I use to write down quick thoughts in my journals. I seriously wake up in the night and need to write down ideas I dream up…someday I’ll act on them? The tiny bowl was a gift from my friend’s trip to Italy. I keep special things in it like a tiny wisdom token my mom gifted me, a piece of sea glass from Shelter Island, and a small piece of amazonite (known for its calming and soothing qualities), and I rest my palo santo on top. Finally: WATER. I drink a full 24-ounce mason jar (with my stainless steel straw! It makes it more enjoyable…sipping out of it as I type this) before I go to bed and then refill to have for right when I wake up…and always on a coaster (I made this one!).
Hemingway, Calming Incense, and a Dream Catcher
Lisa Elaine Held
Okay, I moved really recently, and I don’t exactly have a nightstand yet (working on that!), so this is a collection of things that I keep within arm’s reach of my bed (and that will someday soon have a real home). Books are a defining feature of every inch of my apartment, but the ones I keep in or near the bed are all poetry or fiction. I’m an avid consumer of serious non-fiction but it gets my brain going too much before bed, and then I can’t sleep. Lately I’ve been working my way through this Hemingway collection of short stories before dozing off. Similarly, I keep my journal close by, sometimes for writing before bed and sometimes because thoughts come to me while I’m asleep and I need to write them down quickly.
The little tin is LXMI’s Nilotica Lip Melt for my chapped winter lips, and I’ve always got lavender oil to dab on my wrists and inhale, as well as my favorite calming incense. I’m generally a great sleeper, but for nights when I CANNOT turn my brain off, I’ve got the dose pen (yes, the perfect marijuana formula for sleep, clearly not from New York!). Finally, my sister got me the dream catcher for Christmas, and while it hasn’t quieted my overactive dream life, I’m still obsessed with it.
The Perfect PJs, Books, and Glasses
I’m a nine-hours-per-night kind of girl, and I don’t need any help maintaining an early bedtime, but I do think a good pair a jammies can make a huge difference in how well you sleep. My favorite brand is Eberjey, for the lightweight material and fun designs in soothing colors. Also on my nightstand: Whatever book I’m reading (I just finished Cork Dork all about wine tasting—highly recommend—and now I’m waiting for our TNS Book Club read to arrive!), hand cream (my hands get dry AF in the winter and I’m loving the affordable products from Brandless), and my glasses and glasses case, because, vision.
A Yoga Mat, Herbal Eye Pillow, and Diffuser
My built-in shelves near the bed are deep enough for too many books: Kids, adults, and want-to-read types. I’m most excited to read Notorious RBG as the movie really inspired me. I always keep a huge herbal eye pillow, because I get migraines and headaches. My Manduka travel yoga mat sits beside my bed, and I’ve found the Kiehl’s night oils to be a great combo with an eco essential oil-filled diffuser.
A Salt Lamp, Manifestation Candle, and Frankincense
I try to keep my bedroom (and therefore my nightstand!) as Zen as possible because I am a terrible sleeper and need all of the calm I can get to get a good night’s rest. I have a salt lamp because I love the look, and whether they work or not, it makes me feel like it’s doing something. I have my Sakara manifestation candle, because I love candles and if I’m gonna have a candle on my nightstand it might as well help me manifest while I sleep! Inside my nightstand, at all times, I have at least four books that I’m reading. Usually there’s something that’s spiritual/self-help, a business book, and some kind of parenting book that I never get through. And, I am trying to make time for more fiction. I also have frankincense in a balm form. I put it on my temples and wrists before bed.