Getting a good night’s sleep is integral to your overall health. In fact, sleep plays such an important role in your day to day life. Getting enough sleep helps you to maintain optimal health, and is just as important as eating a balanced diet or getting regular exercise. 

A good night’s sleep helps improve concentration and productivity, lowers risk of weight gain, helps prevent depression, and lowers risk of heart disease. But getting a great night of rest is easier said than done, and the majority of Americans struggle to stay asleep at night. With that in mind, here are some comfort tools with will aid you in your sleeping efforts: 

Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets are designed to add gentle pressure, and this “Deep Touch Pressure” has many relieving effects on the body. For starters, it mimics the feeling of being held, which releases serotonin in the body, a neurotransmitter responsible for the regulation of sleep. The sensation of feeling embraces also releases oxycontin in the body, relieving stress while boosting your immune system. 

Lastly, it can decrease activity in the nervous system and lessen any anxiety the user might be feeling. For people who suffer from anxiety, this is a great product to have. Individuals with anxiety will struggle to sleep, and sleep disorders will only further compound mental disorders and various other health problems. Because of this, a weighted blanket could offer an all-in-one bedtime support system for those that struggle to sleep because of anxiety. 

Cooling Mattress
A study from SleepRate found that nearly one-third of Americans struggle to sleep in the summer due to heat-related issues. Higher temperatures prevent many people from getting a good night’s rest. This is where a cooling mattress comes in. A cooling mattress doesn’t retain heat the same way a conventional mattress does because they disperse heat evenly instead of trapping it. 

This is an ideal solution for people who tend to have night sweats, which is common with age. With an ordinary mattress, sweat and moisture remain on the surface of the mattress, heating you up further. Another study from the National Institutes of Health found that your metabolic rate also speeds up when you’re in a cooler environment, which can contribute to weight loss. And lastly, if you enjoy cooler bedtime temperatures, it provides the ultimate comfort factor. Here are some tips for choosing the right mattress

Noise Machine
White and pink noise machines are great ways to lull you to sleep. White noise is a consistent noise that plays evenly across all hearable frequencies. A fan is a great example is white noise you might hear in the bedroom. Pink noise, on the other hand, is higher on the low end of the frequency spectrum and lower on the high end, creating an arch. Pink noise is softer, like rainfall. If you don’t want to invest in noise machine, music streaming platforms have white and pink noise playlists, as does YouTube. 

Nothing Much Happens Podcast
Nothing Much Happens is a podcast that features simple bedtime stories in which nothing much actually happens. The goal of the podcast is to encourage a more restful sleep by providing the comforting lull of a bedtime story without any distractions. A normal podcast would be difficult to go to sleep to because you are actively listening, and most stories have a traditional story arc that encourages you to follow along. 

The NMH podcast takes an opposite approach: because you know nothing of importance will happen in the story, it’s easier to fall asleep too. There is no coherent beginning, middle, and end. Instead, a typical episode might involve a story about going to the farmer’s market to get ingredients for a homemade soup. There’s no real plot or expectations. 

Kathryn Nicolai, the creator of the podcast, explained in an interview that the idea came about after learning more about how her yoga students struggled to “turn off” at night. Many of them were waking up in the middle of the night and struggling to get back to sleep. “As a yoga teacher, I do a lot of research about how our brains work, how the sympathetic nervous system responds to put the body into the relaxation response and various techniques for relaxation,” she said. “The stories offer the listener a place to rest their mind, a way to follow along with what is happening in the moment that prevents the mind from wandering off and getting into trouble.”