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Photo credit: KINGA CICHEWICZ VIA UNSPLASH

6 sleep aids to try for a comfortable snooze

Here are some items worth investing in to be more well-rested at night.

Nicki Chan
Nicki Chan

Probably that one person singing in the shower at 2am.


Published: 6 May 2022, 1:37 PM

Can’t sleep well at night and find yourself nodding off at work or school as a result? You’re hardly the only one. 

Singaporeans are among the most sleep-deprived globally. Not only do we sleep less, we also sleep badly – a study by YouGov Omnibus in March 2022 revealed that only 27 per cent of Singaporeans get an ideal sleep cycle of more than seven hours of sleep every night, while only 17 per cent sleep through the night. 

This in itself is not surprising, as Singaporeans live a famously hectic lifestyle. After a long and stressful day, it can be difficult to relax enough to fall asleep. The various stressors we encounter during the day can disrupt our sleep at night in the form of dreams and restlessness.  

However, having a collection of items and routines that stimulate your senses can help your body unwind more easily as it learns to positively associate them with sleep. 

Even if you’re busy, it wouldn’t hurt to devote more time to getting comfortable during those precious few hours of rest. Here are some items you might consider investing in that could help you fall asleep and stay asleep. 

1. Weighted blanket

Weighted blankets were found by a study to have positive effects on sleep quality for insomniacs.

A weighted blanket is a heavy blanket that usually weighs from 2kg to 15kg and is weighed down with plastic pellets or glass beads.

The pressure of a weighted blanket can ground you, slowing your heart rate and making it easier to relax in bed. A weighted blanket will suit those who have had trouble sleeping due to stress and anxiety. 

Weighted blankets use deep pressure stimulation, a therapeutic technique that applies pressure to the whole body in the form of squeezing, hugs and holding. The technique is proven to reduce anxiety by inducing sensations of calm and peace. 

 

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Deep pressure stimulation reduces cortisol (stress hormone) levels and induces the production of melatonin, the hormone that helps us sleep. PHOTO CREDIT: REHINA SULTANOVA VIA UNSPLASH

 

However, a weighted blanket may be unsuitable for certain people, such as those without the strength to lift the blanket off them, or those with chronic respiratory issues and obstructive sleep apnea. 

2. Stuffed toys

Some might scoff at the prospect of hugging stuffed toys to sleep even as an adult. But don’t be so quick to dismiss the cute, cuddly things – stuffed toys have numerous emotional benefits that can help to get you in the right mood for bedtime. 

For one, many Singaporeans struggle with feelings of loneliness. When you are feeling down, having an emotional support stuffed animal that you can hug anytime can help you feel less alone.

 

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Large stuffed toys may also work better than small ones, as they have more volume for you to cuddle. PHOTO CREDIT: AEDRIAN VIA UNSPLASH

 

Stuffed toys are easily available across Singapore, in stores like Turtle, IKEA and Miniso. 

3. Pyjamas

What you wear can make a difference to your sleep quality as it affects your comfort throughout the night. Generally, loose and comfortable clothing made of light, breathable material works well for sleeping in Singapore’s hot and humid weather. 

Good materials for pyjamas include cotton, linen, silk and bamboo – all breathable materials that can be worn comfortably in any temperature. 

Differentiating your daytime and nighttime attire can also help your body recognise when it’s time for bed. Places where you can find aesthetically pleasing pyjama sets and loungewear include lifestyle stores like UNIQLO and Muji.

4. Sleep sounds

Ambience is just as important as physical comfort for influencing sleep quality. While some people may like sleeping in absolute quiet, others may find it soothing to have background noises to keep them company. 

Music is a great choice – be it jazz, piano, or acoustic guitar, these soothing instruments can all help you unwind. Ambient noise can also help those who prefer a more natural sound.

 

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Ambient sounds include white noise, weather sounds and curated background sounds of places like the forest and library. PHOTO CREDIT: SEBASTIAN UNRAU VIA UNSPLASH

 

If you’re having a particularly bad night of insomnia, sleep podcasts can work wonders too. Podcasts such as Sleep With Me and Casper Sleep Channel focus on rambly bedtime stories to help listeners take their mind off things and keep them company on days they struggle to fall asleep. 

5. Self-warming eye mask

Many Singaporeans experience eye strain from long hours of near work such as staring at digital screens. 

These heated eye masks can help your eye muscles to relax when they are strained and tired. Many of them are also scented with calming scents that help to soothe you at night, so you can tuck yourself in and let the sensory therapy coax you into slumber.

 

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MegRhythm is one brand you can try for self-warming eye masks, with products widely available in health and beauty stores like Watsons and Guardian’s. PHOTO CREDIT: FACEBOOK/MEGRHYTHM SINGAPORE

6. Essential oils

Essential oils contain aromatic plant extracts and have a long history of being used for medicinal purposes. They have also been found by multiple studies to have a positive effect on sleep due to their calming properties. 

The most widely used essential oils for sleep are lavender and chamomile, which are also used for soothing anxiety. 

The oils are effective when inhaled, so use an aroma diffuser to spread the scent throughout your room. This way, you get to enjoy a nice-smelling bedroom with a calming ambience for you to fall asleep in.


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