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Staff picks: 9 sleep aids the Shopping team relies on

Nighttime staples include a window treatment, elevated bedding and skin care routines.
Woman fast asleep in her bed, wearing blue pajama's
Sleeping aids range from universally functional to intimately intertwined with nighttime routines — the Shopping staff shares its recommendations for the best sleeping products.Getty Images

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Shortly after daylight saving time changed our relationship with the sun again, the Shopping staff has been contemplating and researching the value of some long-term sleeping aids and other sleep-first products, from white noise machines and quiet air purifiers to pajamas, weighted blankets and blackout curtains. As we keep digging into the best additions to your sleeping products cache, we considered our own sleeping habits and some of our favorite products when it comes to tuning out and turning off.

COSMOPLUS Fitted Sheet

I stumbled across this fitted bed sheet when looking to replace my old one. Its soft texture and cooling capabilities helped it quickly become my favorite. The COSMOPLUS fitted sheet is made from a soft spandex and jersey blend, which is moisture-wicking, light and airy. The sheet doesn't crease or wrinkle, which is perfect for me since I often shove it in a draw after washing it (Who has time to fold a fitted sheet?). It‘s also very easy to put on mattresses or air mattresses, as the sheet is very stretchy. I opted to purchase the sheet in a neutral Taupe color, but it comes 16 shades, ranging from Pink and Teal to White and Hemp Grey. Sizes range from Twin to King, too.

— Zoe Malin, editorial intern

Caudalie Grape Water

Before bed, I like to make sure I take the time to destress, let go of the day and prep myself to fall asleep soundly. My nighttime skin care routine is a chance to unplug from everything — putting my phone away, shelving a book, sliding my blinds shut — and just focus on myself (and my face). While I don’t have a 12-step routine, I always remove my makeup, tone and moisturize. And the last step of that routine includes spraying on Caudalie’s Grape Water. This spray is completely made from grape water, which the brand says includes minerals and potassium. I’m a hot sleeper and it feels refreshing to put on ahead of falling asleep — like a burst of coolness — even if the spray was laying out in the sun on my dresser all day. The grape water absorbs pretty quickly, within a minute or two, and almost acts as a setting spray for my skin care to stay in place — it also doesn’t spread all over my Slip sleep mask.

— Ambar Pardilla, reporter

NICETOWN Blackout Curtains

I need complete darkness when I sleep. My blinds don’t filter out as much light as I like and both the streetlight directly outside my window and a 7 a.m. sunrise make for a painful sleep schedule. The NICETOWN Blackout Curtains made my room instantly pitch black for a now-restful night’s sleep. They’re thermally insulated — great for cold New York winters — and help reduce noise by absorbing outside sounds. They also help protect my furniture from fading against ultraviolet rays, as Beth Halpern Brown of Beth Brown Interiors, an interior designer and home decor expert, explained in our guide to the best blackout curtains. And the machine-washable fabric makes for an easy-to-maintain (and stylish) accessory to my bedroom.

— Mili Godio, editorial assistant

Thayers Alcohol-Free Cucumber Witch Hazel Toner

After wearing heavy makeup for game days and dance competitions took a toll on my skin, a friend and fellow teammate recommended witch hazel for my pores and blemishes. She let me use her Thayers facial toner, which I bought shortly afterward and have been using ever since. Witch hazel extract helps tighten pores and controls acne. And cucumber offers a refreshing, cooling sensation. It also comes in Original and Unscented variations, along with several scented options, including Rose Petal, Lavender and Coconut Water. Every night before I go to bed, I wash my face with St. Ives Blackhead Clearing Face Scrub, another product my friend recommended, and apply the toner with a cotton round. It cleanses my skin by removing any leftover dirt or oil — it helps me feel more at ease when my skin touches my clean pillow. It’s one of my only nighttime rituals and I simply can’t go to bed without doing it.

— Shari Uyehara, editorial operations associate

Dyson Lightcycle Morph lamp

An hour before I plop my head on my Allswell cooling pillow at night, I like to spritz my room with The Nue Co’s Functional Fragrance, play my R&B Cuts Spotify playlist and power up my Dyson Lightcycle Morph lamp. While the floor lamp can “morph” into a few different positions, I like to place the double-hinged arm over the stem to illuminate my room with a soft, warm glow. Dyson says the lights will last up to 60 years, which is a rather lofty claim. However, as a fan of other functional Dyson products, including the Supersonic hair dryer and Corrale flat iron, I’m inclined to believe the lamp’s light will last me for years to come. The Lightcycle Morph is my first ever smart home gadget, and I love the ability to adjust the light setting from my iPhone rather than walking just a few steps to turn on the device manually. Powering down the lamp couldn’t be easier. I either slide the power button down or tap to turn it off from the Dyson mobile app. Both the floor and desk lamps earned a 4.3-star average rating from more than 50 reviews on Dyson. They are also made in three colorways: Gold/Black, White/Silver and Black (my personal favorite).

— Nicole Saunders, associate editor

BalanceFrom Yoga Mat

Working from home and arched over a computer all day has not benefited my already poor posture — and I began to notice it was affecting my sleep. The pain I was feeling in my neck and upper back made it difficult to get comfortable and relaxed going to bed. I decided to focus on improving my posture to help ease this nightly discomfort through daily yoga practice and a more ergonomic work environment. I’ve found yoga to be a great way to get the juices flowing in the morning and relax my muscles and mind before bed. I exclusively watch Yoga with Adrienne’s YouTube channel since she has lots of relevant guidance, from yoga for back pain to quick morning routines. Before bed, I opt for her Bedtime Yoga videos as these help me feel sleepy and less achey. This yoga mat has earned a 4.4-star average rating from over 60,800 reviewers. The mat is 71-inches long and has a double-sided non-slip surface to help you maintain balance during practice. It is also designed to be moisture-resistant so you can easily clean the mat with soap and water. Choose from Pink, Black, Green, Blue, Gray, Purple and Red.

— Rebecca Rodriguez, production coordinator

Brooklinen Silk Pillowcase

I have to admit, my favorite bed companion is a silk pillowcase. For someone with acne-prone skin like me, a silk pillowcase doesn’t zap moisture from my skin like cotton pillowcases tend to do — rather, it lets my skin retain its natural hydration. In our guide to the best bedding for your skin, board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, MD, told us silk pillowcases can be “helpful for sensitive skin because silk is lightweight, breathable and non-irritating.” In addition to skin benefits, silk pillowcases can prevent frizzy and tangled hair thanks to their smooth fabric texture. Made from 100-percent Mulberry silk, this option from Brooklinen is my favorite: Featuring a 4.8-star average rating from over 780 reviews, it comes in eight colors and two sizes: standard and king. I opted for a standard size of Ivory. If you don’t love it, Brooklinen does offer a year-long return policy so you can get a full refund.

— Kala Herh, editorial intern

This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray

My mom used to spray This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray on bed linens and blankets in my family’s home when I was growing up. Maybe it’s childhood nostalgia but I find the smell soothing. The spray contains lavender, vetivert and wild chamomile essential oils, which the brand claims are calming and relaxing scents. You spray it on your pillows (as well as your sheets and duvet, if you choose) from about a foot away right before bed. When I went to college, I bought a bottle to remind me of home — and the spray doubles as air freshener in musty dorms, to boot.

— Zoe Malin, editorial intern

Purple Pillow

I sleep (very) hot and for years relied on two bunched up pillows to give me the neck-and-shoulder support combination that helps me drift away — the original Purple pillow helped me achieve that all on its own and is the coolest pillow I’ve ever slept on. By cool, I mean more than its cool factor, which is certainly there — its innate breathability stems from its unique “Purple Grid,” which leaves you sleeping on “hundreds of open-air channels,” as Purple puts it. I’ve kept this pillow under my head since the day I got it as nothing has compared to its support, though its newer cousin the Purple Harmony Pillow is an elevated choice worth considering. Regardless, both of them will prove a durable investment, as another result of the Purple Grid construction is a pillow that keeps its shape through heavy use. Purple also offers a kids version of the Purple Pillow as well as Pillow Boosters to help you customize your pillow height.

— Gideon Grudo, editorial director

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