Scientists still don’t fully understand sleep, but it’s clear that getting enough of it is very important, since being well-rested comes with a myriad of health benefits.
For the 40% of the US population that gets less than seven hours per night, there are plenty of devices, both physical and digital, that can help you snooze better.
Give one of these a try.
This sleep tracker will score the quality of your sleep based on a number of factors including noise, air quality, and lighting, and has an alarm that will wake you up at the lightest part of your sleep cycle. It will also play calming sounds and give advice about how to improve your sleep.
The device has two parts: a white ball that sits on your nightstand and a 'pill' that's tucked underneath your pillow to monitor your movement while you sleep.
Get it on Amazon for $129.
The Chrona is placed inside your pillow case, and can measure the movements of your head and torso. But the real draw is the low-frequency noise it emits to help boost your deep sleep. It will also use higher-frequency sounds to help you enter a lighter stage of sleep before you have to wake up.
You can pre-order one on Chrona's website for $169.
Darkness sets off cues that tell your body it's time to sleep. So if you're prone to staying up late and rising later, drapes that block sunlight -- like these blackout curtains from Utopia Bedding -- can help you stay asleep in the morning.
In addition to keeping your bedroom dark, Utopia Bedding's curtains get rave reviews for their durability, insulation, and even their ability to block out noise.
You can order a pair from Amazon for around $30 -- they come in various colours.
The Leesa mattress is ideal for side sleepers, since it's softer than other mattresses, putting less pressure on the hips and shoulders. It's also convenient, since it can be delivered to you in a box and has a generous return policy. For back sleepers, a firmer Casper mattress is the best option you can order online. Both mattresses have multi-material construction, combining different layers of foam that allow the beds to stay cool and mould easily to sleepers' bodies.
It's important to note, however, that there's no one-size-fits-all mattress. The general consensus though, is to never skimp when buying one. (Like the saying goes, don't cheap out on things that separate you from the ground.) The best litmus test you can give a mattress is a month-long trial. Just make sure a manufacturer's return policy allows you to do that.
A full Leesa mattress, which you can order online, costs $790; a queen costs $890.
The Shepherd Blue headband sends two different frequency noises through your ears, which causes the mind to perceive a third tone as an auditory illusion. This process is called binaural beats, and scientists have started to find evidence that it could improve your mood and sleep.
The headband is also sleep tracker -- it measures your body positions, cycles, and sleep quality. Plus, a Business Insider writer had some vivid dreams when she tested out.
If you're curious, you can order a Sleep Shepherd for $250 on the company's website.
Deep breathing can help you cope with stress -- even the Apple Watch has an app to encourage you to breathe better. But the 2breathe sleep monitor will help you regulate your breath as you fall asleep.
The 2breathe unit sits on your chest -- attached by a strap -- and measures your respiration rate. The device is linked to an app on your phone via BlueTooth, which will sync to your breath. It guides you to breathe more deeply by playing tones through your phone -- just follow along to relax your mind and body. The app will turn off when it detects you're asleep.
You can order one on the 2breathe website for $180.
The Bamboo Pillow from Xtreme Comforts features a shredded-foam construction that makes it moldable, a design that accommodates a diverse number of sleepers, even if you shift positions during sleep.
According to review site The Sweethome, this is the best pillow if you're a side or back sleeper. It won't go flat, and it's hypoallergenic. Plus, although using foam as a base material can make many people feel hot, the micro-vented pillow cover helps you stay cool.
You can order the bamboo pillow for $40 on Amazon.
An ultrasonic cool mist humidifier from Pure Enrichment can keep noses unclogged and skin a bit more moisturized. The vapour increases the water content in the air, which will you sleep more comfortably during winter months when you're more susceptible to illness and dry skin.
The humidifier's reservoir runs without any filters and has enough storage for 16 hours of operation, with an automatic shut-off when it's done. That's all at a light 1.75 pounds.
You can grab one on Amazon for $40.
Melatonin is a hormone that helps you get to sleep -- your pineal gland produces more of it as night falls to send a chemical sign to your body, telling it to shut down. A melatonin supplement could be placebo, but some people swear by it.
Either way, you should limit the dosage if you take it. MIT found that the correct dosage for melatonin should be within the .3 to 1 mg range, but most over-the-counter products pack many times that. It's also important not to make a habit out of taking one every night -- it will disrupt your body's ability to produce a proper amount of the hormone by itself.
You can grab a bottle of 1 mg melatonin tablets on Amazon for around $5.