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Items to keep on your nightstand for a good night’s sleep, according to a sleep expert

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Getting a good night’s sleep is critical to our health, and yet it feels out of reach for many people. It could be the result of lifelong insomnia, having a baby or toddler in the home, or even random external stimuli like living on a noisy street. Whatever the cause, the ramifications of sleep deprivation are far-reaching and can have serious health implications. However, there are small lifestyle adjustments that could help you sleep better at night, including, surprisingly, adding a few useful items to your nightstand.

To better understand how we can all get quality rest, HuffPost spoke with Susan Rubman, clinical psychologist and assistant professor of clinical psychiatry and sleep medicine at Yale University. She pointed out that there are a few basic things we should be doing as a baseline every night to ensure better quality sleep:

  1. Maintain a consistent wake-up time.
  2. Avoid caffeine or stimulants before bed. (Caffeine has a half-life of six hours, so their recommendation is not to consume it within six hours of bedtime.)
  3. Go to bed when you’re sleepy, instead of trying to force it when you’re not. Sleeping is not a behavior at will. We can eat when we’re not hungry, but we really can’t sleep unless our bodies are primed for sleep.
  4. Make your environment conducive to sleep: cool, dark, and quiet.

A surprisingly important part of your sleep environment involves your nightstand and its contents. Having sleep aids readily accessible while removing items that can disrupt sleep is a key component. “It’s important to make sure that the environment in the bedroom really sets the stage for getting into bed and sleeping,” Rubman said. “Clear the clutter and reserve the nightstand for items that are useful for sleeping.”

Since we’re all unique creatures, Rubman noted that there’s a lot of variability between what people might need on their nightstands, but there are plenty of things that can be universally useful. This includes a nice light source that isn’t too bright, any medications you might need at night so you don’t have to get up and get them, a glass of water, and reading material. Items like earplugs, a good quality sleep mask, aromatherapy, and a sound machine can also make a big difference.

Rubman’s nightstand includes practical items like hand lotion, a place for your glasses, and a glass of water, as well as items that are personally pleasing, like a small vacation souvenir, a handmade ceramic bowl for your jewels and a crossword.

Below, we’ve rounded up a list of items for your nightstand based on Rubman’s recommendations. They may be exactly what you need for the rest of your body to really crave, and at the very least, having a neatly organized nightstand will give you some peace of mind.

1. A contoured sleep mask

This popular sleep mask on Amazon is made with low-rebound memory foam that’s soft, comfortable, durable, and doesn’t put pressure on your eyes like flat masks do. It effectively blocks light while allowing for blinking, and has an adjustable buckle strap that won’t catch on your hair.

$19.99 at Amazon

2. Mack Silicone Putty Earplugs

These best-selling earplugs are made with soft, moldable silicone putty that fits all ears. They create a comfortable seal that keeps out sounds like snoring, street noise, and more.

$8.99 at Amazon

3. Courant Catch: 3 Essentials Charging Station and Receiver Dish

Rubman recommends having a dedicated space for items like glasses and even your phone, and this charging station from Courant is perfect. It doubles as a catch-all that is the perfect place to store your eyeglasses, jewelry, and lip balm. It is available in a five-color leather finish or a four-color soft linen finish. It’s a stylish way to charge your phone and keep your nightstand tidy at night.

$100 Courant

4. Homedic’s White Noise Machine

Homedics’ popular white noise machine has six digitally recorded sounds to choose from, including standard white noise, each of which mimics the natural environment to ensure a comforting and relaxing experience. You can play sounds continuously at night or you can choose from three timer settings.

$21.99 at Amazon

5. A clip-on book light

Book lights are the perfect way to do a little reading before bed without overstimulating your senses with bright ceiling lights. They’re perfect for when your partner wants to sleep before you do, or if you wake up in the middle of the night and need help getting back to sleep without looking at your phone.

$11.19 at Amazon

6. Grown Alchemist Intensive Hand Cream

This incredibly nourishing hand cream from Grown Alchemist is infused with Hyaluronic Acid and botanical extracts like Persian Rose and Argan that will soothe dry, cracked hands. Make this a part of your nightly routine to keep your hard-working hands soft, youthful, and hydrated.

$27 at Derm Store

7. Catbird Mini Jewelry Box

This sweet fiberglass Catbird tray is made in her signature muted pink shade and is adorned with stars and the moon along with a beautiful motto. Take one for yourself and one to give to a loved one and keep your jewelry safe at night.

$12 at Catbird

8. A ceramic essential oil diffuser.

This handcrafted ceramic essential oil diffuser is as pleasing to the eye as it is relaxing. Set the mood for good dreams as you pump some moisture into the air alongside comforting essential oils like lavender or peppermint. It’s quiet and can help relieve stress and promote deep, restful sleep.

$42.99 at Amazon

9. Crate & Barrel Clear Glass Pitcher

Save yourself a trip to the kitchen by keeping a glass of water handy in case you wake up thirsty. These clear glass pitchers from Crate & Barrel are a stylish combination of pitcher and glass in one with a clean silhouette that will look fabulous with any aesthetic. It is both a design piece and a functional one.

$24.99 at Crate & Barrel

10. “The ultimate brain health puzzle book for adults”

If you need a way to wind down before bed that isn’t a deadly roll or if you’re the kind of sleeper who wakes up with insomnia, this highly rated book of riddles for adults will keep your brain busy and agile without overstimulating the senses. It features a variety of puzzles such as crosswords, cryptograms, and Sudoku.

$9.69 at Amazon

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.


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