Over a third of us aren’t getting enough shut-eye, and the effects are more than just feeling tired — lack of sleep can put your physical and mental health at risk. Our Institute experts share their top tips and product picks for getting the best rest every night.
1. Lower the Heat
Trouble falling asleep? Adjust your thermostat. Cooler temps can help you doze off and sleep soundly. As part of our circadian rhythms (the internal regulator for when we’re sleepy versus alert), our bodies are preparing to cool down pre-bed. Try keeping your room in the mid-to-high 60s, but you might have to make like Goldilocks to find the temp that feels just right.
Lab lowdown: Consider the Nest Thermostat E ($169, nest.com) to control temps remotely right from your phone or computer. We love this new lower-priced option. While it has a more basic interface than the original, it still learns your schedule and helps you save energy.
2. Get a Lightbulb Alarm Clock
Upgrade old-school bulbs to smart ones that can wake you up more naturally: You can set them to dim before bed and brighten in the a.m. to mimic sunset and sunrise.
Lab lowdown: Philips’ bulbs are perfect for even the most technophobic person. Just replace old lights, plug the hub into your router and follow instructions in the easy-to-navigate app. Use it to set a bedtime lighting “scene,” or switch from energizing white light to calming yellow. Try the Philips Hue White Ambiance Starter Kit E26 ($150, meethue.com).
3. Have a Pajama Party
Ditch your old sweatpants and gym tees for our Textiles Lab’s latest picks.
Lab lowdown: If you’re prone to, er, hot nights, moisture-wicking pajamas from Sheex is your best bet. For ultra-soft loungewear you can take from the bed to your a.m. dog walk, grab Under Armour’s new pieces. Matching PJs, anyone? The whole family can rock L.L. Bean’s cozy flannel staples.
Our picks: Sheex 828 Motion Sleepwear (from $49, sheex.com); Under Armour Athlete Recovery Sleepwear (from $60, underarmour.com); L.L. Bean Scotch Plaid Flannel Pajama Set ($60, llbean.com).
4. Invest in the Right Bedding
Comfort is key for sleep, but not all sheets are created equal. For a set that will last, get one made with pima or Egyptian cotton: The fibers are longer than traditional cotton’s, so they’re softer and more durable.
Lab lowdown: Be careful — our fiber scientist warns that not all sheets claiming to contain these types of premium cotton actually do — even those with heftier prices may not. Look for DNA-tested ones to make sure that what you’re buying is legit. The Wamsutta 500 Thread Count PimaCott Sheet Set ($80 for queen size, bedbathandbeyond.com) was a top performer in our Lab evaluations, and testers rated them as “soft.”
5. Boost Moisture Overnight
Skin regenerates as you sleep, so that’s the perfect time for a little TLC from Garnier’s Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping Cream ($16 for 1.7 ounces, garnierusa.com).
Lab lowdown: Hyaluronic acid in the formula restores moisture to combat everything from wrinkles to dryness to dull-looking skin.
ON ANOTHER MATTER …
Ask the GH Cleaning Lab
GH’s resident home-care dynamo shares her best tips and favorite tricks to conquer your toughest messes and trouble spots.
Q: My towels are stiff and scratchy. How can I make them soft again?
A: Most towels get rougher with use, as the loops wear and the finish that makes them feel soft when new washes off. Washcloths, for example, are particularly vulnerable to a buildup of soap and hard-water minerals that causes stiffness. Here’s an easy fix:
Run towels through a hot-water wash minus detergent. Add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the Wash and Rinse cycles — if your machine has dispensers, pour the vinegar into the detergent and softener sections. Repeat several times, until the towels get softer. (Just keep in mind that they’ll likely never feel brand-new.)
The following products and vehicles were recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Unless otherwise indicated, discontinue use of the products immediately and return them to the store where purchased for a refund. For more information about the products, call the manufacturer or CPSC’s toll-free hotline, (800) 638-2772. Only some cars or trucks recalled are affected. Contact a dealer for your model to see if it is included in the recall. The dealer will tell you what to do.
Todd Snyder + Champion brand sweatshirts, sold at Bloomingdale’s, Hush Life Boutique, SoulCycle and Todd Snyder stores nationwide and at www.amazon.com, www.net-a-porter.com, www.soulcycle.com and www.toddsnyder.com from August 2014 through October 2017 for between $140 and $150.
The sweatshirts fail to meet federal flammability standards for clothing textiles, posing a burn risk to users. Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled sweatshirts and contact Todd Snyder to return them for a full refund plus a $50 gift card. Consumers who purchased the sweatshirts online will be contacted directly by the firm. For more information, contact Todd Snyder toll-free at (866) 897-0333 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST on Saturday and Sunday, email at email@example.com or online at www.toddsnyder.com. Click on “Product Recall” for more information.
Hyundai 2011-2014 Sonata and 2011-2015 Sonata Hybrid, which previously were repaired under recall campaign 17V-152.
The seat-belt linkages for both front seat belts may detach from the seat-belt anchor pretensioners. If the seat-belt linkage detaches from the seat-belt anchorage, it can not properly restrain the occupant in the event of a crash, increasing the risk of injury. Hyundai will notify owners, and dealers will again verify the connection between the seat-belt linkage and the pretensioner and, additionally, install a warning label to prevent future seat-belt linkage detachment for free. Owners may contact Hyundai customer service at (855) 371-9460. Hyundai’s number for this recall is 169.
© Hearst Communications Inc.; Distributed by King Features Syndicate
—GOOD HOUSEKEEPING REPORTS: Tried and tested: Sleep-better secrets–