Staff Picks: InsideHook Staffers on the Products That Help Us Fall Asleep

Familiarize yourself with the goods that help us fall (and stay) asleep

Updated March 13, 2023 10:12 am
a collage of sleep products of a dark sky background
Sleep tight, courtesy of our favorite bedtime goods.
InsideHook/Getty Images

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Every night, we at InsideHook lay our weary heads to rest, most of us here in the city that never sleeps. We cozy up in our apartments at the end of a long day, hoping beyond hope that we’ll pass out as soon as our heads hit the pillow. But as is the case for millions of Americans, there are nights when we find ourselves tossing, turning and struggling to fall asleep for hours before sheer exhaustion (or whiskey) causes us to doze off. Celebs, they’re just like us, huh?

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To reduce the likelihood of such blue-light-induced or caffeine bedtime struggles, we use a variety of goods to help us unwind at the end of a long day. There are sprays and pills (legal ones, of course), pillows and cooling sheet sets. And lots of CBD. In honor of sleep week, we’ve rounded up our tried-and-tested methods for knocking out at a moment’s notice. Find these favorite bedtime essentials and more that help us fall (and stay) asleep below.

The Sleep Products InsideHook Staffers Swear By

Spring arrives soon, as will my seasonal allergies. Last year I dug out a very old and quite large HEPA air purifier for my room; after a week of use and subsequent much-improved sleep, I realized that it wasn’t just the air purification helping me get some zzzzs but the modest whirring noise of the device as well. The purifier was doubling as a white noise machine. I have no allegiance to this well-reviewed, affordable GermGuardian unit (which is the closest in style to the unit I currently use) but I do know that you can’t have an air purifier that’s too quiet — and you might as well get one that can clear a large room and costs less than $100. – Kirk Miller, Senior Editor

I am a supplement skeptic. Greens powders? Have a cup of spinach. Collagen supplements?  Ensure you’re eating a nutritious, colorful diet. Nootropics? I should probably just get off my phone and do a puzzle every now and then. I know I’m not 100% in the right here, but I have a hard time believing that a trendy (and pricey!) powder is going to be the magic cure-all for my health ailments. So you can imagine my surprise when I mixed a packet of Moon Juice’s Sleepy Magnesi‑Om into a wine glass of sparkling water one night before bed and felt it actually working. The mix of plant-based melatonin, magnesium and L‑theanine put my body in a relaxed state that made drifting off to sleep much easier. It won’t knock your ass out completely, like a full melatonin gummy will, but that’s why I like it. I don’t feel groggy in the morning or have any of those weird melatonin-induced nightmares. Sleepy Magnesi‑Om simply helps me wind down for the night, which gets me to sleep quicker. — Logan Mahan, Commerce Editor

If you read any guide about how to sleep better, there are two recommendations that will inevitably appear: put down your phone, and read a book. The first is difficult, because phones are addictive. The second is difficult, because at the end of a long day, reading can feel like a chore. My personal solution that has worked every single night for the past couple years? My two-volume set of The Complete Sherlock Holmes. There it sits on my nightstand, the size of an encyclopedia, with the tales of the Baker Street detective and his chronicler Watson more addicting than anything Apple could ever invent and more enticing than any game The New York Times could add to their app. If you want a quick read, there are 56 short stories you can knock out in one night, but the four novels are included as well if you prefer a cliffhanger. The first volume of my Barnes & Noble Classics edition is out of stock (thought the second is still available), so I’d suggest the store’s newer one-volume hardcover edition, which is a whopping 1,096 pages. — Alex Lauer, Features Editor

I’ve tried other CBD sleep products in the past, but none of them work as well as Cornbread Hemp. One of these babies contains 50mg of CBD and 2mg of THC, creating the “entourage effect” — aka that little bit of THC helps to enhance the CBD’s relaxing, calming properties. Combined with my doctor’s suggestion of Magnesium and Inositol, these delicious vegan gummies work like a dream. — Amanda Gabriele, Senior Editor

Ever experienced that sensation when you’ve been productive all day, and despite feeling tired, you can’t seem to wind down? Facing an early flight that demands an early bedtime, yet your mind refuses to switch off? Dealing with jet lag and striving to avoid grogginess the next day? This tea has you covered. It offers a savory, herbaceous flavor without being overly medicinal. Highly recommended. — Danielle Cordova, Human Resources and Operations Manager

I have, as the kids say, put in work curating an objectively perfect TikTok feed (Japanese interiors, vintage Prada and the odd orangutan), so keeping my very scrollable phone as far away from my bed as possible has become essential to shutting off my rat brain for the night. A fella’s still got to be able to check the time, though as to know whether or not it’s socially acceptable to start swiping again, which is where Schoolhouse’s Gino Flip Clock comes in. It’s a vintage-inspired analog, totally silent, has bold enough print that I can easily catch the time come dawn and perhaps most importantly, looks straight out of one of those Tokyo homes I’m obsessed with. — Paolo Sandoval, Commerce Editor

This is my favorite product I use to fall asleep. I use three pumps on the bottoms of each foot and then one on my chest. 10/10 quality of sleep. I wear a whoop and always wake up in the green zone -90-97% recovery. — Jordan Highsmith, Senior Manager, Brand Partnerships

Perhaps you, like me, occasionally go to bed with a looming sense of dread over what tomorrow will bring. If, instead of peacefully counting sheep or whatever people with a healthy work-life balance do, you’ve fallen into the habit of giving yourself a stress headache while staring at the ceiling and mentally running through the next day’s to-do list, might I recommend rubbing some of this essential oil blend onto your temples and chilling the hell out? It’s a soothing scent designed to relax you, made from a mixture of peppermint, Spanish sage, cardamom, ginger and sweet fennel, and I can personally attest to the fact that it’ll do for your soul what a whiff of Vicks Vaporub does for your sinuses. — Bonnie Stiernberg, Managing Editor

I have an entire regiment for sleeping. Some nights it’s CBD from Gossamer, more intense times it’s putting in Bose’s Sleepbuds II. And occasionally, it’s a practice like reading a book (not on Kindle, but a real paper “book”) and putting down my screen(s) just before I shut off the light. But the one thing that really determines my length and quality of zzzs is temperature. I’m still looking for the ideal cooling mattress and sheets for summer, but during winter a very old-school heated mattress pad from Sunbeam has been a lifesaver. Mine is so old it still uses a dial controller, but it works just fine and keeps the bed toasty and sleep-inducing. That said, the brand has certainly upped its game in recent years, now offering warm pads with digital displays and even apps to help you control (and time) your bedroom heat. — KM

Call me old-fashioned, but there’s something about the whirr of a traditional desk fan that helps me fall asleep (and stay asleep) far better than a white noise machine ever could, which is precisely why Honeywell’s Turboforce Fan has been a part of my bedtime routine for nearly a decade. An investment made to combat the stuffy dorms of college, it’s just loud enough to drown out noise yet quiet enough to let me sleep without unwanted interruption. And when it gets hot and humid in the summer, I crank it up for a much-needed nighttime breeze. — Cam Vigliotta, (former) Commerce Editor

As someone whose internal temp consistently runs hot to boiling, staying cool after hitting the sack can be a massive undertaking, especially with the unpredictable factor of an extra-snuggly (perhaps too snuggly) partner thrown in the mix. Casper’s Hyperlite Cooling Sheets are a godsend; light enough to keep me from overheating but not paper thin — this is thanks to their special grid weave and Tencel lyocell, something I am unable to explain but absolutely swear by — they’ve good year-round, and have made getting to bed a bearable practice. No more kicking the covers off only to wake up freezing, which is surely a good thing. Plus, they actually look kinda nice. — PS

To be completely honest, when I review a product — a new cast-iron skillet, sustainable jacket or car thing — I usually revert to whatever I was using before when the test concludes. Not so for the Marlow pillow. I tested out the new pillow brand from Brooklinen before it launched last fall, and the pillow has stayed on my bed ever since. My favorite thing about the memory foam model is you can adjust the firmness via two zippers along the sides: unzip them for a softer feel, zip them up to firm things up. There’s an extra-large king-size pillow available, but I say the standard size is big enough. If you’ve been underwhelmed by your pillow situation, give this a shot — they’ve even got a 365-day return policy to sweeten the deal. — AL

“I can’t sleep without my LectroFan. It comes with me on vacation. It’s got twenty different sound variations, from WWWHHH to WWWOOO – perfect to drown out the chatty neighbors who stay up late.” — Matt Lagnese, Director of Revenue & Advertising Operations

“After years of living in the city that never sleeps, my go-tos for a good night of sleep are a silk eye mask and a white noise sound machine. Recently I’ve also found that aromatherapy really helps me to feel cozy and wind down after a long day. Vitruvi’s Organic French Lavender Essential Oil smells divine and is perfect for bedtime. I use the oil with the Vitruvi Stone Diffuser, which not only works beautifully but also looks super chic on my bedside table.” — Marilyn Jordan, Operations & Branded Entertainment Manager

“I’ve recently introduced Gossamer Dusk CBD tincture into my nighttime routine. While it doesn’t instantaneously knock me out — only a slippery slope of prescription sleep aids achieve such results (or so I hear) — it helps settle my anxious, active mind and body into a more relaxed, sleep-ready state. And having recently learned that CBD is more effective the more regularly you use it, I look forward to an evermore effortless nighttime wind down as time goes on.” — Megan Duffey, (former) Director of Branded Entertainment

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