Necessity is the mother of invention. Iva Bravic Millereau was an exhausted mum and employee who had no idea what sleep hygiene was. Tired of always feeling depleted, she decided to find natural solutions to getting a good night’s rest.
“Sleep is one of the main pillars of health, but many of us don’t get enough or our sleep is of poor quality,” says Millereau. “We stay up late or rely on our devices, the TV or alcohol to knock us out at night. We’re so busy and stressed that we often forget to wind down before going to bed. Bedtime routines are important for children but we rarely think of such routines for ourselves as adults.”
We should. A new study published in the journal JAMA Neurology suggests that the length of time adults sleep could play a major role in their brain health, including the prevention of early onset dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
The Stanford University study found people who get too little sleep – six hours or less – and people who get too much sleep – nine hours or more – had a higher body-mass index, more symptoms of depression and signs of cognitive decline.
After much research, Millereau and her business partner Rashia Bell launched their own line of sleep aids “to help people get in sync with their circadian rhythm and thrive through sleep.”
Their company, Re. Vityl, operates out of Hong Kong and the United States, and offers essential oils , crystal-infused sleep masks, lavender-scented face and body care products, and a crystal-infused sleep pad.
Many other wellness entrepreneurs have developed tools to help us get quality sleep. Here is a list of eight different sleep aids to help those who struggle to doze off at night or want to make their bedtime routine more relaxing.
Re. Vityl lavender hydrating mist Lavender is a classic calming fragrance. This mist comes in a UV-protective glass spray bottle and is free of synthetics, artificial fragrances and dyes. Spritz the light lavender flower-infused water onto your face and body, around your room or on your pillow before bedtime. The scent claims an instant de-stressing and soothing effect.
Re. Vityl Re. Lease silk sleep mask Crafted from mulberry silk, this mask comes with a lightweight insert infused with a blend of 16 crystals that are said to help induce sleep. Worn over your eyes, the one-size-fits-all mask blocks out unwanted light and should have you drifting off in no time. It features an adjustable, elasticised band and is available in six colours.
LifeHub Sleep Drops This microdosing melatonin system from the LifeHub medical wellness centre in Hong Kong works to help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep throughout the night, and support the natural phases of sleep. Put two to three drops onto your tongue half an hour before you go to bed. If you wake up during the night, you can take another one or two drops, up to a maximum of 15 drops a night.
Dormu cooler weighted blanket Weighted blankets apply gentle pressure all over the body, giving you the sensation of being hugged, which can help reduce anxiety and promote a deeper, more restful sleep. This therapeutic blanket is hypoallergenic and comfortable for all climates.
The inner layer is weighted down with medical-grade, eco-friendly glass beads while the outer cover is made from 100 per cent lyocell bamboo, a soft, silky-smooth material. It’s sold in three colours and three sizes.
Lavince sleep headphones If you can only fall asleep listening to soothing music or meditations, try this Bluetooth-enabled device, which comes in the form of a soft band that wraps around your head.
Small, thin speakers are embedded in the fabric, so when you put the headband on, only you can hear what’s playing. The controls are on the front, making the band ideal for side sleepers. The headband is also effective at blocking out ambient noise and is easy to clean.
Dohm white noise machine If your partner’s snoring or external noises prevent you from dozing off or you’re easily woken in the morning by loud people in your household, try this machine. It produces a soothing white noise, which helps you fall asleep or stay asleep.
White noise blends the external sounds, like dogs barking or traffic, for instance, into the overall background noise, so your brain pays less attention and is able to relax. Endorsed by the National Sleep Foundation in the US, this device has tone and volume control.
Sleep Easy app Whatever your “sleep challenge” – insomnia, jet lag, sleeping with a partner, restless legs, sleep medication reduction or nightmares – this app for iOS devices offers custom-tailored programmes to address these issues and improve your overall sleep.
It engages your brain’s “switches” that induce sleep – essential for the effective treatment of insomnia and sleep difficulties. Developed by American behavioural sleep therapist Dr Richard Shane, Sleep Easy also features recordings on sleep hygiene techniques and calming sleep sounds.
Casper Glow light Bedroom lighting might keep you up, but Glow helps you wind down naturally before going to sleep. The warm light induces relaxation while you get ready for bed and gradually dims so you can doze off without interruptions.
Then, when it’s time to wake up, it fills your space with soft light. If you have to get up during the night, wiggle the lamp for a low, gentle light that will not awaken your partner. The lamp is adjustable for brightness.
This article was first published in South China Morning Post.