15 best sleep aids you can buy online for World Sleep Day

The Real Homes edit of the best tried and tested sleep aids to help you sleep better this World Sleep Day – and beyond

Sleep aids: Woman sleeping under duvet
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you are in search of some brilliant sleep aids to help you get some well-needed shuteye, then we are here to help. Whether you struggle to fall asleep, stay asleep or you find yourself waking up at silly o'clock in the morning, then we know just how to help. You might benefit from using a sleep spray, a new silky bedding set could help do the trick, a simple switch of your duvet could be the answer, or, it could be something tech-related that could help – perhaps a Fitbit to track your sleep, or an Echo Dot for drifting off with the help of sleep sounds?

Since we discovered that less and a quarter of us actually get eight hours of sleep a night, we thought it would be a smart idea to round up the best sleep aids – to try to ensure you get your restful eight hours each and every night, not just on World Sleep Day. Keep scrolling...

Of course, if you can't sleep, it's worth considering if you have the best mattress for you. Check out our list of 2021's top picks. 

“Our bedrooms are something deeply personal to us. They’re somewhere we can truly unwind, shutting out the outside world and focusing on our comfort and relaxation. However, creating a bedroom that is supporting sleep health is key to achieving consistent and high-quality sleep every night."

Karen Innes, NPD manager at Slumberdown

1. Try out some sleep spray

Simba Sleep Spray

(Image credit: Simba)

Sleep sprays should be the first thing on your list when it comes to help sleeping – they are a natural remedy and with just a few sprays needed to lull you asleep, it's easy stuff. They are quite cheap, too. We've tried the Simba Sleep spray and we love it, and the This Works sleep spray has been recommended to us by so many people.

2. Switch to silk pillowcases for a comfortable snooze – and no bed hair!

John Lewis & Partners The Ultimate Collection Silk Standard Pillowcase

(Image credit: John Lewis)

Sleeping on a silk pillowcase has truly revolutionised my nighttime routine – pretty much as soon as my head hits that soft pillow, I immediately feel relaxed. Also, if you are a hot sleeper, this is a dream – a silk pillowcase rarely gets warm so when I turnover in my sleep, I am greeted with a lovely cold pillow.

3. Change your pillow to suit the way you sleep

Simba Hybrid pillow on table

(Image credit: Simba)

There's no denying that your pillow has the power to cause a bad night's sleep – I once tested one that was completely the wrong construction for the way I sleep, and after a few days I actually had neck cramp (you can imagine just how grumpy it made me, too). Read below for expert comment from Slumberdown's NPD manager, Karen Innes.

“For those that sleep on their side, a firmer pillow will provide the ideal support for your head, neck, back and spine. If you are a back sleeper, then a medium support pillow helps keep your head and back aligned and comfortable. And for those that sleep on their fronts, a soft pillow is the best choice, allowing your head to sink into the pillow as much as possible so it is aligned to the body.”

See our best pillows guide to find one to suit your sleeping positions, or see a quick rundown below.

  • Overall best – Simba Hybrid Pillow
  • For back sleepers – Eve Memory Foam Pillow
  • For front sleepers – Snuggledown Scandinavnian Duck Feather and Down Pillow

4. Buy a weighted blanket for a nighttime cuddle

John Lewis & Partners Specialist Synthetic Weighted Blanket

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

A weighted blanket is the cuddle you need at night, for when you are feeling anxious or when you can't sleep for whatever reason. Choose a weight (they recommend 10 per cent of your body weight) and a colour, and pop it over your duvet while you are sleeping. Or, you could buy one and snuggle up under it on your sofa, pop it over your legs, or just around your shoulders. It's designed to help reduce restlessness and aid relaxation.

Just a note: we suggest avoiding these if you sleep on your front as the weight on your back may be too much! Also, if you are pregnant or you suffer from respiratory disorders, such as asthma or sleep apnoea or any circulatory disorders including type 2 diabetes, you should avoid, too.

5. Invest in some high-quality bedding

Soames Cupro Cotton Bed Linen Collection

(Image credit: The White Company)

 “Everyone has their own individual sleep preferences which need to be catered for, whether that’s being wrapped up warm in cosy bedding or sleeping in a cooler environment. But there’s also a set of universal principles which are important to get right when considering your bedding. There are so many things we can all do to improve our sleep health, and this starts with the basics such as duvets and pillows.”  – Karen Innes, NPD manager, Slumberdown

There's no doubting that good quality bedding can enhance your sleep – we're talking about a 100 per cent cotton set, or a silk option. Choose something comfortable for you, and looks are obviously a huge factor, too! We suggest these two sets below, because no one likes itchy bedding.

6. Don't want to splurge on a new mattress? Buy a mattress topper

Panda mattress topper

(Image credit: Panda)

Perhaps your mattress is what is keeping you up all night? Whether you don't want to splurge on the price of a new one at the moment, or, perhaps your one is new? Either way it's important that you get a good night's sleep. And investing in a mattress topper should help – choose based on 

Check out our best mattress toppers guide for other buys.

7. Invest in a wake up light to simulate the sunset (and sunrise) in your bedroom

Lumie Bodyclock Rise 100

(Image credit: Lumie)

Whether you suffer from SAD symptoms or not, a wake up light is definitely a great buy for the wintertime. Pop it on your bedside once it arrives in the post and use it morning and evening, to simulate the summertime light and help you drift off to sleep (and wake up) in a nice way. It also reduces the production of melatonin and increases cortisol in your body to help you get up and go. A great buy for anyone who isn't a natural morning person! Don't worry: you can snooze it for when you're just too tired.

See our guide to the best wake up lights for more recommendations.

8. Change your lightbulbs to these smart dimming ones 

It could be the harsh lighting in your bedroom (or home in general) that is stopping you from getting some good sleep. Really, you should set your lights to dim around 30 minutes before you are hoping to sleep. Either that, or use a smart bulb and change your light to blue – this will aid relaxation. Alternatively, we use these Phillips bulbs (and the smart button) to control our lighting and dim it with ease. So that when we are ready for bed we needn't get up to switch the light off.

9. Buy a silk eye mask for a deeper sleep (trust us)

Scooms Silk Eye Mask

(Image credit: Scooms)

We can't recommend a sleep mask enough, especially if you are someone who wakes early in the morning (when it is just getting light) and from then cannot get back to sleep – we use one every day. If you are like us, then it's important to buy one that's of good quality, and this one is made from Mulberry Silk to keep your lashes fluttering and your skin looking (and feeling) lovely.

10. Buy a sleep diffuser – from The White Company – and pop it in your bedroom

The White Company Sleep Diffuser

(Image credit: The White Company)

See our best reed diffusers guide for more buys.

11. Looking for a new mattress? This is the very best deal right now...

Emma mattress in bedroom

(Image credit: Emma)

See our cheap mattress deals page for plenty more offers.

12. Switch your duvet to a temperature-regulating one for year-round use (and comfort)

Panda Bamboo Cloud Duvet

(Image credit: Panda)

“Whether you prefer to be toasty and warm or in a cooler environment, having the right duvet for your sleep needs is essential to ensuring you regularly achieve at least eight hours of quality sleep. Our research shows that one in five people struggle to sleep because they’re too hot in bed but getting the temperature right is so important in making sure you get good quality rest, boosting your overall health and wellbeing." – Karen Innes, NPD manager, Slumberdown

If you struggle with temperature regulation while sleeping, then it would definitely be a smart idea to invest in a temperature regulating duvet – we have the Panda Bamboo Cloud Duvet and it's great. You can use it year-round, you'll rarely feel too hot or too cold and it's anti-allergy as well as anti-bacterial. 

13. Use Alexa to help you sleep at night

All-new Echo Dot (4th generation)

(Image credit: Amazon)

If you like listening to sleep sounds to get to sleep, then an Amazon Echo device could be just the thing you want to add to your bedside table. You can also use it to set alarms to wake you up in the morning, to meditate and to control your lighting without getting out of bed. What we love about the Echo Dot is that it doesn't have a bright screen that could wake you up in the night. Try out "Alexa, play sleep sounds" or "Alexa, help me sleep".

14. Buy and use an essential oil diffuser in your bedroom before sleeping

The White Company Electronic Diffuser

(Image credit: The White Company)

Pop a few drops of your favourite fragrance oil – we suggest something lavender-based – into your essential oil diffuser before bed and turn it on to help send you off to sleep. This one from The White Company can be set on a timer, and it will automatically turn off once the water tank is empty. Safe and soothing...

Best essential oil diffusers: 6 top buys for home use

15. Buy a Fitbit to keep track of your sleep patterns 

Fitbit Inspire

(Image credit: Fitbit)

Not just to track exercise, a Fitbit can also prove handy when it comes to getting some shut eye – and tracking it. Wear your Fitbit to bed to see how long you sleep for each night, as well as how long you spent in each sleep stage. You can also use this too see how frequently you were restless and at what times, as well as what time you fell asleep, and the time you woke up.

Annie Collyer
Annie Collyer

Annie joined the Real Homes team in 2018 as our Deals Editor. Now, as our UK Shopping Editor, she spends much of her time giving advice on what you need to add to your shopping cart. Whether that be a sofa bed for your spare room, accessories to give your space a new lease of life, shiny new appliances for a kitchen or some smart tech for an easier life. She's also our fitness and beauty guru, with hands-on experience with some of the top hair tools and the best home gym equipment around. Otherwise, you can find her rearranging the furniture in her space-savvy London flat, DIYing accessories to fit with her ever-changing colour scheme, or going on long walks with her pug. Next up on her to-renovate list is her bathroom...