Getting enough good quality sleep impacts health and well-being.
Healthy sleep starts with good sleep habits, but it’s not always possible to maintain a sleep routine due to stress or travel.
New wearable sleep technology can track your sleep patterns and sleep/wake cycle and provide tips to sleep better.
Many sleep gadgets, like noise-canceling sleep earbuds, white or brown noise, and weighted blankets, are designed to help enhance calmness to prepare you for sleep.
The latest sleep supplements contain multifunctional ingredients, like melatonin plus magnesium to help your body relax in preparation for sleep.†
There’s no doubt about it: sleep is just as important as good nutrition and regular exercise for feeling your best every day. Experts say that most adults need 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night, but putting that recommendation into practice can sometimes be easier said than done, especially on a daily basis.
If tried-and-true sleep tips, like dimming the lights and reading a book before bed, are hit or miss for you in terms of effectiveness, you may be looking for extra support to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Luckily, there are all sorts of innovative sleep products, technology, and tricks that promise to deliver more high-quality shut-eye.
In honor of Sleep Awareness Month, we’re reviewing some of the latest gadgets and gear designed to get you better sleep, the latest innovations in sleep supplements, and tips to create healthy sleep habits.†
Why Sleep Quality Matters
In a nutshell, sleep is a time for our bodies and minds to reset and recharge in preparation for a new day. A good night’s rest is essential for waking up energized and focused. It’s also important for the health and normal functioning of your brain, heart, immune system, and muscles.
There are a wide range of short-term and long-term effects from missing out on high-quality sleep, including: 
Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
Increased risk of health conditions
Quality of sleep is directly linked to the health of your circadian rhythm, which regulates your sleep and wake cycles. Your body produces hormones, including melatonin, that control how and when you fall asleep. These hormones are sensitive to your external and internal environment, so that’s why things like bright lights, screen time, stress, and diet can impact your sleep schedule.  †
When you’re sleeping well, your body cycles through 5 stages of sleep, including falling asleep, light sleep, deep sleep, and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. For truly restorative sleep, your body needs to go through the entire sleep cycle 4 to 6 times per night without interruption. Waking up throughout the night, feeling restless, or tossing and turning interfere with your sleep cycle and lessen the restorative nature of sleep. 
The best tips for better sleep have to do with creating a sleep schedule and habits. Healthy sleep is consistent, meaning you get roughly the same amount of sleep each night. Going to bed and waking up around the same time each day helps support consistent sleep quality.
Following a sleep routine can also help prepare your body and mind for bed. Try to plan relaxing activities, such as gentle stretching, taking a bath, listening to music, meditating, or journaling, close to bedtime to help you unwind.
Minimizing things that disrupt your circadian rhythm should also be a part of your routine. Bright lights and blue light from electronics can stimulate the brain to stop producing melatonin and make it harder to fall asleep, so experts recommend dimming the lights and powering down phones, tablets, computers, and televisions at least 2 hours before bedtime. 
For even more support, you may want to consider trying the latest in sleep technology, bedding, and supplements.
Here are some cutting-edge tips and trends for wellness seekers wondering how to improve sleep quality.
1. Sleep Tracking Devices
The newest personal fitness devices can do more than count your steps and record your heart rate. Wearable smart devices, such as Fitbit and the Oura ring, can cue you when it’s time to prepare for sleep, track total sleep hours, and time spent in each sleep cycle phase.
You can access customized reports that score the quality of your sleep and tips to sleep better. This information can help you pinpoint lifestyle habits, like caffeine intake or physical activity, that may be contributing to or hindering your mission for more zzz’s.
If there’s a noisy sleeper in your household or you live in a location with round-the-clock outdoor noise, it’s likely those audible distractions interrupt your sleep. Ear plugs may muffle sound, but sleep earbuds are designed to be comfortable enough to sleep in while muting unwanted noise with noise-canceling technology. Some brands include a library of sleep-inducing sounds and music to help you nod off and sleep better.
3. Brown Noise
If you’ve tried white noise in the past without luck, you may want to try brown noise to help quiet your mind so you can fall asleep. Similar to white noise, brown noise is background noise that contains every frequency detectable by human ears and may sound like the whirring of a fan, wind, or moving water. It sounds lower and smoother with less static than white noise and researchers believe it can help relax the mind to prepare for sleep. 
4. Weighted Sleep Supports
If your brain has a hard time turning off stress, worries, or a running to-do list at night, you may find a weighted sleep support can help you feel calmer and more relaxed. Weighted blankets apply gentle pressure on your body to provide comfort, similar to a hug or swaddled baby. This pressure stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system, which helps your body chill out and relax. 
5. Multifunctional Sleep Supplements
Melatonin is your body’s natural sleep/wake hormone. Even the best sleep routine gets thrown off from time to time due to busyness, stress, or travel. That’s where a sleep support dietary supplement may help. Melatonin supplements mimic your body’s natural melatonin to support healthy sleep.†
Many of the latest Melatonin supplements for sleep contain other beneficial ingredients, like Magnesium, L-theanine, and GABA, for a comprehensive approach to sleep wellness. Magnesium helps relax the body, while L-theanine and GABA relax the mind to prepare you for sleep.  For a multi-faceted approach to falling asleep and getting into deep sleep, consider NatureMade WellBlends Sleep Longer which contains timed-release Melatonin, L-theanine, and GABA.†
If you’re wondering how to improve your quality of sleep, it starts with establishing good sleep habits. Going to bed at roughly the same time each night and having a routine to help you mentally and physically prepare for bed can help you get better sleep.
If you feel like you could use additional support, a sleep tracking device may offer more insight into where your sleep habits could be improved. If you’d like to create a calming sleep environment, sleep earbuds, brown noise, or weighted sleep supports may be right for you. Finally, for occasional extra assistance, sleep supplements, like melatonin gummies, may help you drift off and stay asleep from the inside out.†
Sharon Lehman, RD is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and a health writer. She specializes in intuitive eating, recipe development, food photography, and hormone health. She shares healthy living tips and recipes on her blog www.heartandstove.com
Lynn is a Registered Dietitian (R.D.) and is a member of the Medical and Scientific Communications team at Pharmavite. She has over 20 years of experience in integrative and functional nutrition and has given lectures to health professionals and consumers on nutrition, dietary supplements and related health issues. Lynn frequently conducts employee trainings on various nutrition topics in addition to educating retail partners on vitamins, minerals and supplements. Lynn has previous clinical dietitian expertise in both acute and long-term care, as well as nutrition counseling for weight management, diabetes, and sports nutrition. Lynn earned a bachelor’s of science in Nutrition with a minor in Kinesiology/Exercise Science from The Pennsylvania State University. She earned a M.S. degree in Human Nutrition from Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Lynn is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Sports Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutritionists, Dietitians in Functional Medicine, and holds a certification in Integrative and Functional Nutrition through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.