When it comes to buying a mattress, it doesn’t hurt to pay more for a quality model that will keep you comfortable and last for years. However, it helps to be aware of what those price ranges are so your expectations aren’t skewed and you don’t overpay for your mattress.
But how much does a mattress cost? There are several criteria to take into account. Read on to find out what determines the cost of a mattress, and learn what you can expect to pay for budget, mid-priced, and luxury models.
We’ll even explain how you can save money on a new mattress and pick up some free sleep accessories in the process.
In determining the cost of a mattress these three criteria carry the most weight:
Type: What your mattress is made of (and how it’s made) influences cost in a big way. All-natural materials tend to command higher prices than synthetic materials.
Size: Naturally, bigger mattresses cost more. The price of a twin mattress is roughly half the cost of a king.
Buying online: Purchasing a mattress online is less expensive than buying from physical stores, which usually have significant markups on mattresses.
Additional factors that contribute to mattress costs:
Shipping costs: Although many popular bed-in-a-box brands offer free shipping.
White-glove setup: This extra service can also include the removal of your old mattress.
Returns: Some warranties may place the burden of return shipping costs onto the customer.
Foundations and box springs, or other necessary accessories: Some of these add-ons may be a requirement for you to enjoy for your new mattress.
Mattress costs by type
Prices vary quite a bit among mattress types, and even within the individual mattress types there are differences in costs. Here’s how it breaks down:
Type of mattress
$450 or less
$600 or less
$1,100 or less
$1,200 or less
Foam mattress costs
Foam mattresses contain multiple layers of adaptable material that supports and contours your body. (Most bed-in-a-box brands specialize in foam mattresses.) Polyfoam, a high-density foam that degrades quickly with regular use, is typically found in budget foam mattresses. Memory foam and foam with specialty cooling materials are more durable but also more expensive.
Innerspring mattress costs
An innerspring mattress may be what comes to mind when you think of a traditional bed. While there’s little construction-wise to distinguish today’s hybrid mattresses from innerspring mattresses – both are usually made from a combination of foam and springs – many legacy mattress brands like Sleepy’s, Beautyrest, and others still sell mattresses under the innerspring category. These usually denote mattresses that are a bit firmer and have the traditional bounce of a spring mattress
Hybrid mattress costs
Hybrid is a newer term to describe mattresses that blend foam and springs. Construction-wise, they’re not all that different than today’s innerspring mattresses, but they may have more layers, thicker construction, and a softer feel than what you think of with a traditional spring mattress.
Latex mattress costs
Latex is a more eco-friendly alternative to memory foam. However, turning latex into foam is an involved and costly process – and that’s reflected in the price. Synthetic latex is less expensive than natural latex, but many latex mattresses on the market contain a blend of man-made filler and natural materials.
Air bed mattress costs
Air bed mattresses allow you to adjust the firmness via air pump, which makes it perfect for couples with different sleep preferences. This level of customization does come at a premium, however. The most expensive air beds have latex or memory foam comfort layers and include a remote control so you can make adjustments easily.
How much should I spend on a mattress?
Based on our testing, you should expect to spend between $1,000 to $2,000 for a really great quality Queen-sized mattress that is supportive and built for long-term use. Most of our top picks fall into this range. Time and time again our experts have said you should think of a mattress as an investment; you spend about a third of your life on it, and sleep quality has the ability to impact your health and well-being.
While you can spend more, in our experience, the benefits are minimal unless you’re buying a bed that is specifically engineered to solve a specific sleep problem like adjustable air beds or cooling mattresses.
Our mattress picks by budget
One of our favorite mid-priced mattresses is the DreamCloud Premier Hybrid Mattress. It’s made with CertiPUR-US certified foams and has a firmness that will appeal to most sleepers. Best of all, DreamCloud offers a generous 365-day trial, plus a lifetime warranty.
Premier Hybrid Mattress (small)
If price is no object, check out the luxury Tempur-Pedic PRObreeze Hybrid Mattress. It’s designed to keep you cool all night and provides pressure relief without that dreadful sinking feeling. A 10-year Tempur-Pedic warranty applies, but there’s no trial period.
PRObreeze Mattress (Queen) (small)
As for a budget mattress, the affordable Zinus Cooling Gel Memory Foam Mattress starts at $198. It has excellent motion transfer and cooling properties for its price; however, the tradeoff here is poor edge support. Zinus throws in a 100-night trial plus a 10-year warranty.
Cooling Gel Memory Foam Mattress (Queen) (small)
How can I save money on a mattress?
Buying a mattress online is cheaper than purchasing one at a significant markup in-store. For peace of mind, online mattress sellers include a trial period so you can try your new mattress risk-free and return it at little to no cost if it doesn’t work out.
The best mattress deals tend to come from brands such as Casper, Leesa, Tempur-Pedic, and Tuft & Needle. You can also find occasional discounts from stores like Wayfair and Overstock. These mattress sales can help you save as much as $500 on your purchase. Plus, many vendors like to throw in freebies, ranging from premium pillows to mattress covers.
Mattress sales typically crop up around major holidays, and we recently saw a parade of offers for sleep awareness week in mid-March. However, there are mattress deals to be found year-round – you can check some of those out below.
Linen is a contentious textile. It wrinkles very easily, feels a bit rough, and is notoriously expensive. On the other hand, some prefer the casual, lived-in look, and it does get softer with time and use. Most importantly, because it’s made from hollow flax fibers, which absorb moisture and let air pass through, linen is breathable and stays dry even on the warmest, stuffiest nights.
We became believers from the first night we tried linen sheets. We felt their cooling benefits instantly and didn’t wake up sweaty or uncomfortable. If you sleep hot, you should try introducing linen to your rotation of bed sheets.
Product care can vary by brand, but you’ll typically want to hand wash or machine wash your linen sheets on a gentle cycle, without bleach. Then, tumble dry or line dry them.
Cons: Doesn’t come in as many colors and sizes as competitors, may experience some shedding
Sijo sheets are the best linen sheets I’ve tried because they strike the right balance of comfort, coolness, durability, and price. After a couple months of testing, they knock out our former best pick, MagicLinen, because of how downright soft and comfortable they are, even while having the signature grainy texture of linen. And, they get softer and better after multiple washes. If your preconception of linen is that it’s too scratchy to enjoy, Sijo’s sheets will change your mind. They’re also airy and light, keeping me cool on California spring-nights-that-already-feel-like-summer (we recently had temps in the high 80s in late March).
I personally loved the wrinkled look, especially combined with the soothing Blush color. I’m also a fan of Sky, a dusky blue. The color and overall construction have held up well so far, and the fabric continues to feel both substantial and lightweight. You should expect some shedding in the first few washes — it’s a natural part of the process but a little annoying to pick off your bed.
Unlike with MagicLinen, I didn’t have any sizing issues with Sijo’s sheets. All the sets have a 15-inch depth. You can also opt in or out of a flat sheet, which provides great flexibility and can bring the price of your purchase down.
Pros: Looks and feels better over time, comes in many colors, suitable for thick mattresses, OEKO-Tex certified
Cons: Takes some time to become softer and more comfortable
Linen is the only thing you can buy from MagicLinen, which is precisely the reason it’s been able to edge out other brands that have only treated the material as one more piece of their larger bedding puzzles.
All of its products are handcrafted in Vilnius, Lithuania. The linen is stonewashed — a softening process that’s completely natural and non-toxic — and OEKO-Tex certified, meaning it meets chemical safety standards and is free from harmful substances.
One reason these sheets stand out so much to senior editor Sally Kaplan is that they come in deep options for mattresses up to 18 inches tall, a sizing that’s usually difficult to find for linen. That means you can use mattress toppers or pads and still enjoy the comfort and feel of linen.
According to Sally, MagicLinen’s sheets aren’t the softest out of the bag, but after two years of use, they’ve aged well, getting softer and cozier with every wash.
If you’re not sure yet about committing, you can get fabric samples. A set of all the colors only costs $5, plus you’ll get a $5 discount off your next purchase.
Cons: Pricey, not available in twin and full sizes
Coyuchi, a brand that’s always been committed to organic products, transparent and ethical practices, and nature-inspired designs, is one of the few makers of organic linen.
As it turns out, if you’re buying linen, you’re already being somewhat of an environmentalist. Flax is an eco-friendly plant that doesn’t require much fertilizer or irrigation in order to thrive. However, Coyuchi goes one step further by only working with farmers in France who grow other organic crops (e.g. wheat, legumes) in the soil that the flax rotates through. This process ensures that the flax is 100% organic.
In addition, the linen is Global Organic Textile Standard certified, Made Safe certified, and colored with organic dyes.
Expect to pay a premium if you care about shopping organic. Coyuchi’s durable and heavyweight Linen Set, which comes with one flat sheet, one fitted sheet, and two pillowcases and is available in seven colors, costs twice as much as other options in this guide.
Best linen sheet design
Primary Goods has a clever design that snaps the top sheet to your duvet, so you’ll never wake up with a bundle of fabric at your feet.
Pros: Clever top sheet design, quality construction
Cons: Only comes in three colors and stock is often low, pricey, not available in twin sizes
I never enjoyed sleeping with a top sheet because it simply didn’t stay put throughout the night. After trying Primary Goods’ linen sheet set, I don’t hate top sheets anymore. The set features 10 snaps each on the long sides of the top sheet and duvet cover, so they’ll always move together.
The linen itself is great and thoughtfully produced, too. It’s sourced from France, stone-washed for softness, and naturally dyed. It’s also OEKO-Tex certified and Global Organic Textile Standard certified. Soft and breathable, it feels great on my skin, plus the light pink color I own looks effortlessly casual.
The Primary Goods Primary Set only comes with the flat sheet and duvet cover; the Complete Set, which also includes a fitted sheet and pillowcases, is currently sold out in most sizes. For now, you can buy a fitted sheet and pillowcase set separately.
As someone who has an irregular sleep schedule, I’ve definitely found myself getting less shuteye at night during the early months of the pandemic. I attribute this to a variety of factors including the anxiety-provoking news, indoor isolation, and overall stress from quarantine life.
When I heard that MasterClass ($180 for annual membership) launched a new sleep course, I knew I had to take it. Not only did I want quick tips on how to gain quality sleep, but I was also curious about the overall process of sleep so I could better understand why my body may not be getting that much needed rest in the first place. Taught by sleep expert Matthew Walker, Ph.D., MasterClass’s The Science of Better Sleep dives into the biology of sleep and provides science-backed tricks to getting a good night’s rest.
The Science of Better Sleep (medium)
Walker, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, has been teaching courses on sleep and mental health since 2004. In 2017, he wrote the “New York Times” bestseller “Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams,” which dives into the purpose and potential of slumber in optimizing health, and his 2019 TED Talk “Sleep is your superpower” garnered over five million views. To further learn how sleep influences physical and mental health through a series of virtual lectures from Walker himself, I decided to sign up.
Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams (medium)
The course covers the following topics that correspond with a virtual 10-20 minute lecture:
What Is Sleep?
How Sleep Works
Night Owl or Morning Lark?
The Buzz on Alcohol and Caffeine
Prevent Sleep Debt
Fire Up the Brain
Sleep Across Our Life Span
The Absurd Act of Dreaming
Sleep and the Human Body
Diet and Sleep
Sleep to Thrive
How to Sleep Better
Reclaim Your Sleep
The Science of Better Sleep includes 15 videos, which all add up to a total of three hours and 12 mins of lectures. Therefore, you can take the class in one sitting or over a span of 15 weeks – watching one video per week. In addition to the lectures, the course comes with a 24-page course guide with key takeaways and highlighted facts. MasterClass also offers an optional community forum where you can start discussions with other students on course content.
My experience taking the class
Walker recognizes that the loss of sleep is one of the greatest public health epidemics and is very solution-oriented in response to common sleep issues affecting adults today. While I was initially a little intimidated to watch the lectures on physiology and the biology of sleep as I am not super familiar with the content, Walker makes it very digestible and easy to understand with his dialogue as well as the featured animations and graphics. He breaks down multifaceted concepts by emphasizing mind-blowing facts and analogies, which are highlighted in the workbook for review.
For instance, he addresses how to fall back asleep after you’ve accidentally woken up at 3 a.m., which helped me feel less alone when I was really struggling with it during the early months of the pandemic. Some of his tips include doing the following before bed: Setting the temperature of the bedroom to 65 °F, journaling, reading a book, and engaging in mindfulness exercises.
The best part of this course is being able to apply new, real-time sleep habits to get better shuteye. I am proud to say they’ve drastically improved my sleep patterns and while my sleep routine still isn’t perfect, it’s more manageable than before. Some actions I undertake for quality sleep include getting some sunshine earlier in the day for that much-needed vitamin D and unwinding with some music before bedtime. I’ve found that getting natural sunlight and developing a relaxing routine has resulted in a restful slumber most days of the week.
What I liked
Walker presents the topic of sleep through a multidisciplinary lens. From a biological approach, I learned how good sleep promotes a healthy hormonal balance and allows the brain to make new memories. He also addresses sleep from a sociocultural perspective when amplifying traditional sleep practices from different countries. I felt inspired after learning how Spaniards take long siestas in the middle of working days, so occasionally block some time between meetings for an afternoon nap.
Through this course, you learn as much about yourself as you do about sleep. For example, Walker emphasizes chronotypes (sleep patterns) and reviews the two most common ones: night owl and morning lark. I learned people do not choose to be a morning or night person – it all depends on their genetics. Like 30% of the general population, I discovered I’m a night owl as I’m more creative in the evening and can only wake up after snoozing my morning alarm like 10 times.
While you can’t directly interact with the instructor, most discussion threads have interactive prompts, such as taking a quiz to figure out if you’re a night owl or morning lark or sharing your favorite sleep tricks. It was rewarding to gain insight from others and engage in conversations about innovative sleep products on the market.
Even though this course is very action-oriented, Walker recognizes that each solution is not one-size-fits-all. Honestly, some of his sleep recommendations like taking a hot bath or journaling before bedtime did not help me, but that doesn’t mean they can’t help you. He offers a variety of recommendations and tips you can try until you find one that works for you. After taking this course, I recommended a lot of tips to my friends and family and surprisingly found that many of them have different sleep regimens than my own.
As with MasterClass courses in general, I like the fact that this course can be taken at your own pace and time. While courses with interactive quizzes and exams can be beneficial by helping you stay on track, I prefer ones without them so I can focus solely on the content instead of my grades.
Ultimately, this course is not just about equipping you with knowledge on sleep but helping you adopt better sleep habits to feel more well-rested. By the end of the class, you know exactly what happens to your body during sleep, so you can empower and influence others with tips to live more satisfying, healthier lives just by the power of good sleep habits.
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The Hatch Restore has everything you need to naturally fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up feeling refreshed.
It has a large selection of guided meditations, over 25 sounds, and more than 20 light options.
I set up my own personalized bedtime routine and actually enjoyed going to bed at night.
Table of Contents: Masthead StickyRestore (small)
Many of us are way too familiar with struggling to fall asleep and stay asleep when we’re worried and tense. Even as a sleep researcher who knows the importance of a good night’s rest, I sometimes find it difficult to fall asleep when life gets stressful. One solution can be as simple as creating a sleep routine. Incorporating smart devices like the Hatch Restore into your nighttime ritual can help create a better environment to encourage better sleep habits. Research shows that committing to a bedtime schedule can significantly improve sleep quality and mood. Your sleep routine doesn’t have to be boring: It can consist of enjoyable, peaceful activities that direct the mind and body to relax.
The Hatch Restore is among the best options that I recently tested out for our sunrise alarm clock guide and it contains the most sleep sounds, light options, and soothing content of any model we tried. It makes a great addition to the bedroom, since it can be fully customized and easily integrated into your bedtime routine. It includes many useful tools like guided meditations and light therapy options that can help you decompress. I like the Hatch Restore because it encourages users to practice good sleep habits. With use, the Hatch can help you regulate your natural sleep-wake cycles so you have less trouble falling asleep and waking up.
Design and specs
The Hatch Restore is 7.5 inches long and it takes up just the right amount of space on a regular bedside table. Its sleek, half-moon shape design simulates a very natural sunrise and sunset without eye-straining blue hues that can disrupt circadian rhythms – the natural process that regulates sleep-wake cycles. The device itself includes a few soft-touch buttons to adjust volume and brightness. There is also a touch sensor at the top that you can tap to begin your bedtime routine. It is made with ABS plastic and LED lights wrapped with gray fabric creating a clean and standard look that matches any bedroom decor.
This smart light relies on a stable Wi-Fi connection and the Hatch Sleep app is required to access all of the available content (download on Apple App Store and on Google Play). It’s built with over 25 sounds and 20 light options and there is no limit to the number of alarms that can be created. You can also set a total of 10 steps in your nighttime routine that will ease your transition into a better night’s sleep.
Review of the Hatch Restore
The Hatch Restore is packaged with a small card that directs users to the instructions on its website. Once it’s connected to a power outlet and you have the app downloaded on your phone, you can sync the device via Bluetooth and a small pairing button located at the bottom of the device. Setting it up took approximately three minutes.
I placed the Hatch Restore on my nightstand and began customizing every part of my sleep schedule to my liking. There’s a myriad of options on the Hatch Sleep app, and I especially like that the digital clock can be removed completely from the display for total darkness. (It can also be set to automatically shut off at your preferred time.) It includes many soothing sounds, white noise, and a large variety of meditations, breathing techniques, body scans, and sleep affirmations that you can implement into your ritual to fall asleep. It works great as a reading lamp and the light options are endless. It includes nighttime shades, warm oranges, soft relaxing pastels, and great hues for a refreshing natural waking process.
You can add up to ten steps to your routine and make each step as long as you want. Once you’ve chosen your settings, you simply tap on top of the machine to begin your sleep routine. My first step was getting into bed and reading a book for 30 minutes using the coral nighttime glow paired with the “sea wind” sound. My second step was winding down as I listened to the “meeting sleep with ease” meditation combined with a soft pink light that set a cozy tone in my bedroom. My last step was a few minutes of the “soft rain” sound and a warm orange dim light that lulled me into sleep. The device turns off automatically when it has completed the routine and there’s an option to skip steps by tapping on the device.
In addition to lulling you to sleep, the Hatch Restore simulates a sunrise for a gentler wake-up experience, something that’s very important in maintaining healthy circadian rhythms. You can gradually wake up to a multitude of natural sounds and sunrise profiles. The Hatch Restore’s plethora of options is ideal because you can experiment with different options until you find what works for you.
Cons to consider
That said, the Restore has a few disadvantages that you should consider. Unlike some sunrise alarm clocks, the Hatch relies heavily on its free companion app and a stable Wi-Fi connection. You won’t be able to do much without one or the other. If you’re someone who prefers something a little closer to a more traditional alarm clock then I recommend the Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light.
Another thing to note is that, though most of the functions are free in the app, you’ll have to pay to access the growing library of guided sleep meditations and sounds. It costs $49.99 a year or $4.99 a month (though the first six months are free for first-time users). If you choose not to pay, you’ll still have access to a ton of options, including 31 sounds including meditations, 22 light colors, and 10 sunrise variations.
There are also some connectivity issues with the Hatch Sleep app – it usually takes a few seconds to open as it connects to the device. I don’t mind waiting, but others might not be as patient.
Additionally, this smart sleep assistant does not play music or radio, so you won’t be able to listen to your playlist as you’re falling asleep or waking up. However, Hatch is constantly coming up with ways to improve their app and devices and any smart device has the ability to improve over time with app and firmware updates.
What are your alternatives?
This smart sunrise alarm clock is primarily for folks who want to be deeply invested in their sleep routine. I wouldn’t recommend this device to people who are just looking for a simple and traditional alarm clock, or to those who are looking to use their alarm clock as a speaker (check out the iHome Zenergy Dream Mini to wake up to your playlist).
In all, the Hatch Restore is a great purchase for individuals who have trouble falling asleep and want to create a bedtime routine that works. This smart light will improve your sleep quality and help you wake up feeling restored.
The sound and light options are endless, and you can experiment with its features to create your ideal bedtime routine. It’s specifically designed to help you fall asleep by promoting a healthy production of melatonin at night and maintaining healthy cortisol levels that you need to wake up feeling refreshed in the morning. In case you don’t fall in love with it, Hatch lets you try the device for 60 nights before deciding. However, this sunrise alarm clock will change the way you think about sleep and will make your transition into bedtime effortless and more enjoyable.
Pros: More than 30 sound options and 20 light options to choose from, guided meditations, fully personalized sleep and wake-up routines through the app
Cons: Not a good option if you don’t like to rely on an app, doesn’t play music, guided meditations only available with subscription, must be connected to Wi-Fi to use
It offers excellent cooling, reduced motion transfer, and soothing pressure point relief.
Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night to desperately kick off your covers and wait as the cooler air washes over you? Do you dread getting into bed in the summer, knowing that your mattress is going to be uncomfortably warm? Whether you’re someone who just sleeps hot or needs to get better sleep during warm weather, investing in a cooling mattress topper can make you more comfortable and help you to sleep through the night.
When your bed isn’t working for you, buying a mattress topper can help to correct some of the issues at a more affordable cost than you’ll see if you buy a new mattress. They can refresh an older mattress, or they can add cushion, breathability, or cooling properties to a newer mattress that you don’t want to replace. The mattress toppers in this guide all offer some sort of cooling effect.
Buying a mattress topper can be a challenge since you can’t try them out and most stores don’t carry a wide selection for you to feel and inspect in person. We researched and ranked the following toppers according to their cooling effect, their benefits (such as washable covers and reduced motion transfer), their price, and their overall performance.
TruCool cooling technology helps to keep this topper comfortable, even on hot nights, and the Serene Foam allows heat to dissipate quickly, contributing to your cool sleep.
The Serene Foam offers other benefits too. It has billions of microscopic air capsules that help to enhance the support that the foam provides while simultaneously reducing the pressure on your body. This is a valuable quality since pressure on hips, knees, shoulders, and ankles (depending on how you sleep) can lead to pain, stiffness, and sleep disruption.
This foam also reduces motion transfer, so you’re disturbed less when your partner shifts around. The polyester blend cover is breathable and made of a double-knit performance fabric that is both soft and durable. The cover is also machine washable for convenience.
This topper is backed by a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty and is available in twin, full, queen, king, and California king sizes. It’s a good all-around choice that offers cooling properties plus features that enhance the overall quality of your sleep. This topper is endorsed by the American Sleep Association and is made in the US.
Pros: Cooling technology, reduced motion transfer, reduced pressure points for a more comfortable sleep, 5-year manufacturer’s warranty
Cons: Foam can be spot cleaned only, 3-inch topper may add too much height to some beds
While most of the picks on our list rely on simply gel beads to keep you cool, the Linenspa Convoluted Gel Swirl Mattress Topper also integrates an egg crate design to improve airflow. Memory foam is known for getting notoriously warm overnight, and gel beads may not be enough to overcome that if you sleep particularly hot.
The improved airflow you get with an egg crate design means your entire body won’t be firmly hugged by heat-retaining foam. But don’t worry, the memory foam is still soft enough that it will cradle you as you sleep and reduce pressure points.
The Linenspa Mattress Topper comes in both a two-inch and three-inch thickness, but the two-inch design is much more budget-friendly. It will also sleep a bit firmer since there’s not as much foam for you to sink into. If you prefer a softer feel, the three-inch design might suit you better, but it will be more of an investment.
It may actually serve you, in the long run, to opt for the three-inch topper, though. The three-inch design seems to be more durable than the two-inch topper. There are several reports of the two-inch topper tearing with repeated use simply due to how thin it is at troughs of the egg crate design.
The topper harnesses charcoal’s ability to reduce odor, which helps to keep the topper smelling fresh. Additionally, the bamboo charcoal infusion wicks away excess moisture, which helps to keep you cool and comfortable even on hot nights.
This mattress topper is also equipped with a PureFlow ventilated design, which maximizes breathability and airflow to help regulate temperature and prevent heat buildup. The moldable foam conforms to your body’s curves while also eliminating pain on pressure points like elbows, hips, and knees.
The topper is naturally hypoallergenic, reducing bacterial growth and discouraging mold. It’s backed by a 3-year warranty. The topper has CertiPUR-US certification, meaning it was made without the use of any harmful chemicals, so you can sleep well.
This mattress topper is available in twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and California king sizes.
Pros: Odor-reducing, moisture-wicking, ventilation maximizes airflow for temperature regulation, hypoallergenic, 3-year warranty
Cons: Can take a few days to fully expand after being unpacked, no cover included
Best luxury cooling mattress topper
Handcrafted with organic wool that’s not treated with chemicals, the PlushBeds Luxury Wool Topper helps to regulate your bed’s temperature year-round.
If you’re looking for a truly deluxe mattress topper, the PlushBeds Luxury Wool Topper is a top-quality handcrafted option. The topper is filled with wool, so it’s soft and plush, and you can take advantage of wool’s natural temperature-regulating properties without relying on petroleum-based foams.
Because wool naturally regulates temperature, this mattress topper helps to keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter, offering just the right amount of insulation.
PlushBeds uses wool that that Global Organic Textile Standard has certified as organic. Plus, PlushBeds manufactures its wool mattress toppers with environmental and socially responsible best practices.
The wool used is never chemically treated, whereas wool toppers by other brands may be treated with harsh chemicals or detergents. It’s naturally non-allergenic and helps to minimize mold spores and mites.
While this mattress topper has a higher price point than others, it’s also of a higher quality. The cotton exterior has a 400-thread count for a luxurious feel, and the topper is hand-tufted and hand-stitched right here in the United States.
This mattress topper is available in twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and California king sizes.
Of course, this is not the pick for you if you have a wool allergy.
Pros: Made with organic wool, handcrafted here in the United States, wool offers natural temperature regulation year-round, topper is non-allergenic
Cons: Higher price point than other mattress toppers, don’t use if you have a wool allergy
Unlike traditional mattress toppers, the Cool Care Technologies Cooling Pad exists specifically to provide cooling properties, rather than to add padding or cushion. But it’s not going to cover your whole bed. This body pad measures 43.4 x 27.6 inches, making it ideal for personal use.
It’s activated by pressure and offers cooling relief for up to three hours – plenty of time to fall asleep, or to fall back asleep after waking up in the middle of the night. This pad doesn’t require water, electricity, or refrigeration. When it’s time to recharge the pad, simply let it sit in a cool place for 30 minutes.
This pad also has an advantage over traditional mattress toppers in that it’s easily portable. You can use it on the couch, in a recliner, or even while in a lounge chair outside for cooling relaxation.
Because the pad doesn’t use water or electricity, it’s safe to use in bed. You can lie directly on top of it, or place a sheet over it. For continuous cooling, invest in two pads so you can swap one out while the other recharges. For supercharged cooling, you can put the pad in the freezer prior to use.
Pros: No electricity, water, or refrigeration required; portable; recharges in 30 minutes
Cons: Cooling doesn’t last all night, doesn’t cover entire bed
We’ve also arranged some exclusive discounts for Insider Reviews readers on our favorite bedding brands.
We’re big on sleep at Insider Reviews. Over the years we’ve tested hundreds of products aimed at helping you get the best sleep possible: from mattresses to melatonin, and everything in between. Through expert interviews and hands-on testing, we’ve learned three key facts about sleep:
Sleep is really important for your mental and physical health.
Sleep preferences are individual; there is no one-size-fits-all sleep product.
Investing in products that support your individual sleep needs is one of the best things you can do for your own comfort, health, and well-being.
As Rebecca Robbins, sleep researcher, author, and post-doctoral fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, told Insider Reviews in our guide to the best pillows: “No matter your budget, I really encourage people to splurge and invest in these products because they will help. The bed is the foundation of our sleep and if these elements aren’t supportive and not cozy to your personal preference, you put yourself at risk for sleep difficulties.”
This sleep awareness week, we’ve put all our sleep resources together in one place. Below you’ll find links to our bedding and mattress buying guides, how-tos on caring for your bedding, and even some exclusive discounts for Insider readers from our favorite bedding brands. Happy sleeping!
Here are all of our our favorite sleep resources, including discounts on our favorite bedding brands:
Our 40+ person team of professional product reviewers are meticulous, picky, and have a lot of opinions about sleep. Above you’ll find a list of some of our all-time favorite products for getting a good night’s sleep, including weighted blankets, essential oils, and fluffy bathrobes.
Here are some highlights:
Weighted Blanket (small)All-Season White Quilted Comforter (Queen) (small)Knock Me Out Herbal Tea (small)
Insider Reviews exclusive sleep week discounts
Most major mattress and bedding brands are offering sales for sleep awareness week. We’ve collaborated wth some our favorite brands to bring even steeper discounts just for Insider Reviews readers.
Here are 14 discounts you can only find at Insider Reviews this sleep week:
Our sleep reporter has tested more than two dozen mattresses over the last four years. He even has a special testing room devoted entirely to new mattress testing. Like all things sleep, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all mattress, but we’ve outlined picks for all different bodies, preferences, and sleep habits. Here are some of our favorites.
Great sheets can make your bed someplace that you’re excited to dive into after a long day. We talked to textile experts and tested 14 sheet sets (and counting) to find the best picks for sateen, flannel, linen, and more.
Here are the best sheets you can buy:
Pima Cotton Percale Sheet Set (Queen) (small)Linen Sheet Set (Queen) (small)Sateen Classic Sheet Set (Queen) (small)
Chances are, you’ve probably struggled to find a pillow you truly love. Individual anatomy and sleep styles means we all have different needs when it comes to loft and support. Our top picks prioritize adjustability and a generous return policy so that you can find the pillow that works best for you. Our top pick by Coop Home Goods is a reader favorite because the shredded foam filling can be added or removed for the perfect custom loft (you can read our full review of this pillow here).
Here are some of our favorite pillows:
Original Pillow (small)Original Pillow (small)Pillow (small)
While research into the effectiveness of weighted blankets is in early stages, there’s promising evidence that a weighted blanket can help lull you to sleep faster, especially if you struggle with anxiety or other mental health issues that impact sleep. The size and type of weighted blanket you should buy depends on your body size (10% off your body weight is recommended to start) and sleeping situation (you’ll need a heavier blanket if you plan to share with a partner). We’ve chosen a variety of picks that work for napping, couples, hot sleepers, and more.
Waking up can be just as difficult (if not more so) than falling asleep. One of our favorite products for starting your day (coffee makers not withstanding) are sunrise alarm clocks. These innovative alarm clocks produce a gentle sunrise effect to wake you up slowly and feeling refreshed. The result is a slower and more calming start to the day. Many of these lights can also help you fall asleep, too, by producing sunset-like light effects that let your body know it’s time to wind down.
Here are some of our favorite sunrise alarm clocks:
While you should always consult your doctor before starting a new supplement regimen, research shows melatonin can improve sleep quality and lessen the effects of certain sleep disorders. We’ve tried several melatonin gummies and found they helped us fall asleep easier and sleep better.
While many of us have been living in loungewear for the past year or so, sleep researcher Rebecca Robbins told us she likes to think of pajamas as “technical gear for sleep” in the same way athletes look for performance athleticwear. A great set of pajamas should be breathable, comfortable, and free from any buttons or zippers that might be uncomfortable during sleep.
Here are some of our favorite pajamas for men and women:
Cloud 9 Silky Pajama Set (small)The All-Day Stripe Lounge Set Bundle (small)
Like a great bathrobe, a good pair of slippers can keep you warm, cozy, and relaxed as you wind down for bed or get your day started. Our favorite picks for men and women include fluffy slippers, moccasin-style slippers, and indoor/outdoor slippers.
Here are some of our favorite slippers for men and women:
While most people might prioritize the importance of a mattress in their quest for a good night’s sleep, don’t overlook the humble pillow. It offers your entire body support and alignment and adds to your general comfort (or in some cases, discomfort), so finding the best pillow for your needs is important.
In the world of pillows, down pillows provide more breathability, comfort, and luxury than memory foam pillows. They remain cool to the touch and offer a plush “sinking in” feeling that memory foam can’t. It’s also used more often in hotels than memory foam, so if you’re missing the feeling of a proper vacation, consider upgrading your pillow to one of these down pillows.
The Pacific Coast down pillow has an inner core of feathers with a down filling around it. It consists of all-natural duck down and feathers in a design that is almost like a pillow inside a pillow. The inner core gives you a nice level of support while sleeping, and the down filling gives you a great level of comfort.
Pacific Coast describes the pillow as medium support, so it should work well for most sleepers. You get two pillows in the set, and each one has a fill power of 550. The pillows are machine washable and hypoallergenic.
Pacific Coast also offers a 30-day guarantee, so if you dislike the pillow for any reason, you can return it and get your money back.
Pros: High ratio of down to feathers, firm, comfortable support
Cons: Only sold by the pair
Some down pillows are stuffed mostly with feathers that aren’t as soft or bouncy as down — and you run the risk of being poked by a stray quill. The Royal Hotel Down Pillow is filled with 75% down and 25% feather, so you’ll enjoy a luxuriously comfortable night of sleep.
Royal Hotel doesn’t skimp on the down either. With 750 fill power and 42-ounce fill weight for a Standard or Queen pillow, and 52 ounces for a King, you’re getting lots of comfort that’s neither too soft nor firm. Plus, the down is sanitized to remove allergens, so you can enjoy the pillow even if you’re usually allergic. The cover of the pillow is 100% cotton, with a 500-thread count, so it’s soft and smooth, but strong enough to contain the down.
To keep the pillow in the best shape, fluff them every so often for the highest loft and dry clean only.
For down pillows, the price is actually quite reasonable, but Royal Hotel only sells the pillows by the pair, making it a more expensive purchase overall. — Michelle Ullman
With 100% goose down instead of a mix of down and feathers or duck down, you get a softer and fluffier pillow with a high level of comfort that’s justified. It has a 550 fill power so it’s pretty supportive, and the pillow is hypoallergenic.
This also has among the widest range of pillows we’ve seen for down pillows and comes in Standard, Queen, and King sizes with Soft or Firm variations of each. You can also buy a single pillow or a set of two.
Pros: Includes pillow cover for comfort and breathability, very soft and comfortable
Cons: Compresses too much for some people, higher percentage of feathers than down
If your eyes are widening at high prices you see for most down pillows, you’ll appreciate the price tag on the Puredown Natural Goose Down and Feather Pillow, which gives you two down pillows for the price you’d normally pay for one.
These Puredown pillows include goose down and feathers, which typically carries a higher price tag than duck down and feathers. But the pillows are filled with 95% feathers and just 5% down, which explains the lower-than-usual price. They’re soft but may compress too much under pressure, not giving sleepers the support they need. If you like firmer pillows, these may not be the ones for you. But for someone who might be experimenting with down pillows without the full investment, this is a financially smart choice.
Puredown follows the Responsible Down Standard when it selects the down and feathers used in its pillows. These pillows have 32 ounces of down and feathers for medium support.
The 100% cotton, 233 thread count cover keeps the pillow comfortable and breathable while also protecting it from wear. The cover is durable and prevents feathers from leaking out.
Down pillow FAQs
What type of down pillow should I buy?
Here are the most common types of down in pillows:
Duck down is the least expensive type of down pillow. Duck down gives you a nice cushioning, but it does sometimes have an odor to it.
Goose down costs more than duck down, but it’s higher quality. Goose down tends to retain heat better than duck down, too, which is nice for cold nights. If you’re someone who sleepts hot, you may want to reconsider and go with duck down.
Eider down is easily the most expensive style of down used in pillows, as it comes exclusively from the eider duck. It’s incredibly soft and comfortable, but you’ll have to hunt quite a bit to find this type of pillow.
What is down?
Down is the soft, protective covering on a bird around the chest and underbelly, and usually comes from a duck or goose. Most pillows will consist of a mix of down and feathers for comfort, support, and breathability — percentages of 50%, 75%, and 95% down are common, and the higher the down, the softer a pillow will be.
What is fill power?
Fill power measures the loft of the down, or how much it rises when not compressed by an outside force such as your head or hands. This gives you a clue as to the durability of a pillow, as well as its ability to retain its shape. Fill powers of 700 and higher are the best quality because they retain their shape longer, though 550 fill power is the most common for medium down pillows.
Fill weight is how much down is physically packed into the pillow. The higher the fill weight, the firmer the resulting pillow. It’s important not to confuse fill power with fill weight. A 700 fill power pillow will not be firmer than a 550 fill power pillow with the same fill weight, but it will be more durable. On the other hand, a pillow with a 32-ounce fill weight will be much firmer than a pillow with a 16-ounce fill weight, even if they both use 550 fill power down.
How can I clean a down pillow?
Caring for your down pillow depends on the manufacturer’s instruction. Some down pillows are machine washable, which is convenient, while others must be dry cleaned or only may be spot cleaned. Some have removable covers that can be washed, while other covers cannot be removed. Be sure to check the care and maintenance before you purchase.
It helps to create a bedtime routine and an optimal environment to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Our Insider Reviews product testers swear by these 26 products for getting a great night’s sleep.
Anyone who has ever walked into school or work coming off of a bad night of sleep can understand that rest is critical. It affects your emotional, mental, and physical health and helps you function in everyday life.
So what’s an easy way to fall asleep faster, stay asleep, and have a better night’s sleep overall?
“Build a routine,” says Dr. Benjamin Smarr, assistant professor at the University of California San Diego who specializes in neuroscience and sleep science and a member of Reverie’s Sleep Advisory Board. “Sleep is very complicated and requires many parts of your brain and body to agree. So the more familiar your pre-sleep routine is, the more likely all those parts will line up.”
Everyone has their own little tricks to help them achieve this ideal sleeping state, so I asked the rest of the Insider Reviews team to share the products that they’ve built into their nightly routines.
It’s not surprising that many of their essential products are the ones directly related to sleeping: pillows and comforters, for example. Apps and accessories also help our team out, whether they fill the air with soothing scents and sounds or contribute to overall comfort and coziness.
But if you’re experiencing serious sleep disturbances that are consistently impacting your life, the following solutions may not be adequate and you should consider consulting a specialist. Dr. Azizi Seixas, an assistant professor at the NYU School of Medicine whose research focuses on sleep disparities, says, “If these disturbances occur for longer than a month, then the person should seek professional help. Another sign that suggests immediate intervention is needed is if the person feels physically sick as a result of sleep disturbances.”
Here are 26 products and apps the Reviews team uses to fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and wake up well-rested:
I’ve struggled with insomnia and parasomnias for most of my adult life and I’ve tried almost every remedy, medication, and relaxation technique out there. The most marked improvement I’ve had is with a weighted blanket. I have the Luna Weighted Blanket, which is our best budget pick in our guide to the best weighted blankets. It took me a few days to get used to the heft, but it’s now my go-to solution if I’m having trouble falling asleep. It particularly helps cut down on the amount of movement I experience during sleep, which helps me sleep more restfully throughout the night. A weighted blanket is one of the best purchases I’ve ever made for myself and I highly recommend anyone who wants a better night’s sleep take the plunge on investing in one. —Lauren Savoie, senior editor
Weighted Blanket (15 lb) (button)
A serene meditation app
Whenever I have trouble sleeping, I love to use Headspace’s dedicated sleep content to easily fall asleep. I particularly like Headspace’s Sleepcasts which include soft background noises such as rain over a quiet narrator’s voice. My favorite feature of the Sleepcasts is that you can adjust them to play more background noise or narration depending on your preference. I also enjoy the app’s “Wind-downs,” which help to prepare your mind to sleep or help you get back to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night. While features are limited while using the free version of the app, it’s a great low-stakes way to try out Headspace’s features before committing to a paid membership. —Maliah West, home & kitchen fellow
Meditation App (Yearly Subscription) (button)
A smart mattress that automatically adjusts as you sleep
Having tested more than 30 mattresses, I am always sleeping on something new. Last month, I finished up testing the Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart Bed, and I didn’t want to stop. In fact, I chose it as the best adjustable air mattress in our recently updated best mattresses guide. As with other Sleep Number mattresses, the i8 is an adjustable air bed with 20 firmness levels. What sets the i8 apart is the “responsive air” feature that automatically adjusts the firmness as you move around at night. This is ideal for me since I often switch between side and stomach sleeping. Since the comfort adjusts, I don’t have to choose a position and stick with it. Also, the mattress tracks your sleep quality and offers personalized insights for improved sleep through the SleepIQ app. —James Brains, reporter
360 i8 Smart Bed (Queen) (button)
A cool and silky eye mask
I’m sensitive to light and I haven’t had the chance to buy some good blackout curtains for my room yet. In the meantime, this cool and silky eye mask has been the perfect fix. It’s soft and comfortable, and the material doesn’t rub against or irritate my acne-prone skin. The elastic band also doesn’t squeeze my head, which is a feat since I have a big head and often find sleep masks too tight. —Connie Chen, senior reporter
Mulberry Silk Eyemask (button)
A collection of calming essential oils
It seems like everyone owns a diffuser these days, be it a fancy free-standing one or a mini aroma mister perched on a windowsill. I never understood the hype until I was gifted my own, along with the Pure Body Naturals Premium Essential Oils Collection, which is a six-piece set of peppermint, lemongrass, lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus, and sweet orange oils. All of the oils have been purity tested, are vegan, and make your room smell heavenly. Not to mention, the lavender oil is wonderful to apply on your wrists and even mix with water to spritz on your pillow for a good night’s rest. —Victoria Giardina, buying guides fellow
Premium Essential Oils Collection (button)
A weighted eye mask
Move over weighted blankets. Weighted eye masks are all the rage. These self-described “hugs for your head” have gentle weights with just the right amount of pressure to lull you to sleep. The four equally weighted pods let you rest easy no matter your preferred sleep position. For someone who’s a light sleeper like me, I love how this completely blocks out light.
It offers dual softness, with one side a cool jersey cotton and the other a warm microfiber. You can also add it into your freezer for an added coolness. Its loose flaps let it rest freely over your eyes, so that once you’re asleep, it’ll fall off throughout the night. —Jacqueline Saguin, style & beauty reviews fellow
I’ve tested a lot of CBD sleep remedies over the last few years thanks to my job, and this nano spray from Life Bloom Organics is still my leading choice. It’s a tasteless spray formulated with not just CBD but also natural sleep aids like melatonin, valerian root, and L-Theanine. Two to four sprays consistently makes me sleepy within about 15 minutes of use, and I never feel any groggy effects the next morning the way some other formulas can leave me. The downside is it’s a bit pricey (you get ~25 nights for $40) but IMO, it’s worth buying and saving for the nights you can’t stop tossing and turning. —Rachael Shultz, health & fitness updates editor
Premium Nano Hemp Sleep Spray (button)
A weighted comforter
Having a weighted blanket on top of my usual comforter often means it’ll slip and slide throughout the night, which can be disruptive. I’ve been using this weighted comforter for three months and I like that it doubles as a comforter so it won’t shift around and that it decreases the amount of stuff on my bed. I find myself falling asleep faster and waking up more rested each night. There are loops on the corner to secure the comforter in a duvet cover, but you can use it without one. — Jada Wong, contributor
Weighted Comforter (15 lb) (button)
A convenient pillow spray you can bring anywhere
I’ve lent this spray out to friends, roommates, and family to help them sleep, and I’ve always had trouble getting it back from them. The power blend of lavender, vetivert, and chamomile is unbelievably soothing, and it helps set up a sleep routine for me that signifies to my body it’s time to relax. —Mara Leighton, senior reporter
Deep Sleep Pillow Spray (75ml) (button)
A travel pillow so you can finally fall asleep on your flight
At first glance, the Trtl pillow looks nothing like a pillow. It seems more like a scarf or blanket, and in some ways, that’s actually what it is. A soft, lightweight fleece wrap hides and cushions a plastic neck support on one side, which rests on either shoulder or your chest to keep your head in a comfortable position.
The neck support consists of a few stiff ribs on one end of the scarf. To use the Trtl, simply place the ribs in the position you find most comfortable, then wrap the scarf around your neck. Velcro on the other end of the ribs holds the wrap in place while you doze off. The ribs have a little bit of flexibility to eliminate any pressure points or discomfort. —David Slotnick, senior reporter
Neck Support Travel Pillow (2-Pack) (button)
A fluffy, comfortable bathrobe
I hate to say it, but as I’ve mentioned in my full review, I’ll pull on this fluffy, luxurious Snowe robe after a shower and settle into bed for a few Netflix episodes before doing my nightly routine in earnest. I can’t count how many times I’ve woken up in it eight hours later. It’s more absorbent than my towels and dangerously comfy. —Mara Leighton, senior reporter
Leesa’s hybrid pillow is pretty much my dream pillow. The gel pillow base is firm enough to make me feel like I’m still sleeping on my memory foam pillow, but the soft, quilted down alternative topper makes it more comfortable to rest my head on the pillow at night. I’ve been using it for a few months now and I’ve never slept better. —Malarie Gokey, deputy editor
Hybrid Pillow (Queen) (button)
A 0.5-pound weighted eye mask that can help relieve headaches and sinus pressure
Weighted blankets have become increasingly popular since research has proven them to decrease anxiety. I have anxiety myself, but I love my comforter too much to part with it. I read about this weighted eye mask and decided to give it a try. While I don’t love sleeping through the night with it on, the Therapedic Weighted Eye Mask is perfect for napping.
Napping used to be a passive activity for me – it was more an act of lying down and relaxing than actually falling asleep. I’m now able to sleep deeply for short increments, something I never pictured myself being able to do. The weight is heavy enough to distract from my thoughts and tire my eyes without being so heavy that it’s annoying. Plus, the mask is made of plush fleece, so it’s comfortable to wear. —Emily Hein, story producer
I’m obsessed with this soft, super stretchy tri-blend tank. It clings to my body nicely instead of restrictively and it doesn’t hurt that it has a flattering v-neck so I don’t feel like a slob in bed. The thin, barely noticeable hems and lack of clothing tags are blessings that ensure optimal comfort. I’m always reluctant to change out of it in the morning. —Connie Chen, senior reporter
Lounge Tank (button)
A light that slowly dims at night and brightens in the morning to mimic a sunrise
My circadian rhythm is hyperactive, which means my sleep is easily disrupted by late-night screen time and bright lighting before bed.
The Glow Light from Casper is the one tool I’ve found that consistently puts me to sleep — it starts out bright enough to read a book, but dims down over the course of about 45 minutes until it’s off (you can adjust the schedule using an app, though I’ve never tried it). Because it mimics the setting sun, my body responds well and knows it’s time to sleep by about 20 minutes into the light’s cycle.
To turn the light on or off, you just flip it over; you can also twist it left and right to bring the brightness up or down, and shake it while it’s off to turn it into a night light. —Stephanie Hallet, editor
The Glow Light (button)
A good old-fashioned crossword puzzle
I do a crossword puzzle pretty much every night to help me wind down. Not only is it good for my long-term cognitive function, it’s also the perfect way to tire my mind after a long day (without resorting to screens). I suggest doing them with a gentle light on once you’re already in bed — that way you can just zonk out as soon as you’re ready. —Sally Kaplan, senior editor
Take It Easy Crossword Puzzles (button)
I was recently gifted an incense holder, and I’ve been getting used to the happy luxury of falling asleep to the calming smells of sandalwood and jasmine. I use candles, too, but this is my cautious option for when I’m already feeling drowsy. —Mara Leighton, senior reporter
This highly-rated comforter is warm, soft, and breathable — and such a bargain at $29. I’ve slept with the comforter by itself as well as with a duvet cover for 1.5 months now, and both versions have allowed me to settle into bed more quickly than ever because this blanket is so comfortable.
It’s made from alternative down, prevents dust accumulation, and is resistant to bacteria, making it the optimal choice for people who are sensitive to allergens. —Connie Chen, senior reporter
All-Season White Quilted Comforter (Queen) (button)
Herbal tea and a brewing basket to make it
I like to brew a hand-blended chamomile herbal tea a few hours before bedtime. The tea relaxes and hydrates me at the same time, so I can sleep well and sip away the stress of the day. My best friend actually bought me this tea for Christmas last year, and I’ve been a huge fan ever since. I love the mix of lemon with lavender and valerian root.
If you’ve never used loose-leaf tea before, you’ll also need Finum’s brewing basket or a nice teapot with a brewing basket to make it. —Malarie Gokey, deputy editor
Knock Me Out Herbal Tea (button)
A breathable weighted blanket
Weighted blankets are the best tool I’ve found for stacking the deck in my favor when it comes to amazing sleep. They help create deeper, more restful sleep and reduce anxiety and stress by using deep-touch therapy — similar to the comfort created by swaddling babies. I wake up feeling noticeably better rested whenever I use one.
I try to end every night with a good story. My Kindle goes with me everywhere, including in bed. It has a high-resolution 300 ppi display so I’m not squinting at the words on the page, and the brightness settings let me adjust the light to whatever level I’m comfortable with. Since it only weighs seven ounces, my arm is relaxed, not strained. —Connie Chen, senior reporter
Maybe it’s because I’m a New Yorker and used to hearing sirens and the piercing screeches of subway trains coming to a halt, but my mind needs background noise to fully relax at night. Right before I’m ready to go to bed, I pair a white noise app called Noisli via Bluetooth to my speaker. I customized a setting that emits the soothing sounds of wind and light rain all night long. —Ellen Hoffman, executive editor
Sleeping App (button)
A pillow that strikes the balance between down and memory foam
I’m a light sleeper who changes her position all night long, so I need a pillow that can truly keep up with me. Casper’s pillow is arguably the best I’ve tried so far. The first night I slept on the pillow I started out on my left side, then moved onto my back some hours later, and ultimately woke up on my right side staring into the face of my very hungry cat.
So I can confirm that Casper’s claim that it made a pillow that works in every position is true. It’s a really nice marriage of a regular down pillow and a memory foam pillow — simultaneously fluffy and firm, and very comfortable. —Ellen Hoffman, executive editor
Unless I’m wearing some version of recovery compression clothes to bed, I rely on these MeUndies loungers. I bought them based off of many, many recommendations from coworkers and wasn’t disappointed. They’re incredibly soft, feel like nothing, and don’t trap heat. Their underwear is also awesome for bedtime, as well as Tommy John’s and Everlane’s. —Mara Leighton, senior reporter
I hate feeling idle, and that becomes a problem at bedtime. Instead of relying on TV shows, I’ve started setting a sleep timer on audiobooks in my favorite reading app and letting that lull me to sleep. I don’t think I’ve ever lasted more than five minutes awake. —Mara Leighton, senior reporter
Monthly Subscription (button)
Pajamas that athletes use to recover from workouts
I go to the gym at least three times during the week after work, so I’m pretty sore by the time I’m ready for bed. Instead of wearing normal pajamas or loungewear, Under Armour’s Ultra Comfort Pants and 3/4 Henley have become my favorite pieces to sleep in. They’re extremely soft, stretchy, and have a next-to-skin fit, without being too tight.
In addition to basic comfort, they do a great job at preventing me from waking up with lingering soreness or pain from the gym. They have a bioceramic print on the inside, which reflects Far Infrared — a type of energy that is proven to promote cell regrowth in the body. You can read my full review here. —Amir Ismael, reporter
Athlete Recovery 3/4 Sleeve Henley (button)
For some of the top products that can help you get the best sleep, check out these in-depth buying guides:
Buying a mattress is a big investment, but buying one online is something anyone would lose sleep over. There’s no way to truly test a mattress without jumping on each one in a showroom or spending a ton of money and time upfront. And if you buy one and decide you don’t like it – well, that’s a logistical nightmare no one wants.
As product testers who’ve tested more than 50 mattresses from traditional and direct-to-consumer brands alike, we’ve developed criteria to objectively assess and rank mattresses on their motion isolation, breathability, edge support, and more. In each test, a Leesa mattress usually won out over the others, earning it the top spot in many of our buying guides.
What is Leesa?
Leesa launched in 2015 to a crowded direct-to-consumer mattress industry and we’ve been covering it since 2016. Each mattress is made in the US and comes with a 10-year warranty, a 100-night trial, and free contactless delivery in light of the pandemic.
Leesa is B-Corp certified, which means it meets certain environmental standards such as using recycled and natural materials, and without harmful materials like ozone depleters and flame retardants. It also means Leesa meets social standards like giving back to the community. A mattress is donated for every 10 mattresses sold, and since 2015, it’s donated more than 36,000 mattresses to people in need, and has also donated mattresses, bed frames, and more to hospitals in need.
Below, you’ll find short reviews of everything we’ve tested (so far) with links to read the full review, plus comparisons to competitive brands and any current deals. We’re currently testing the Leesa Legend and we’ll report back with our experiences soon.
And if you want to do a little extra research on the best mattresses before you shop, these guides will help you out:
It combines several types of foam with spring coils for comfort and breathability. Set up takes around 15 minutes but it takes a few hours for the mattress to fully expand, so be sure to time it correctly if you want to take an afternoon nap.
To test motion transfer, our reviewer dropped a 15-pound bowling ball about three feet above the bed to see if a can of soda would move — it never even shifted. Our tester also noted that the mattress didn’t trap body heat, so it’s ideal for hot and light sleepers alike.
If you’re interested in the Hybrid, use our exclusive discount code “INSIDER” for 20% off any size. It’s the steepest discount you’ll find on the Hybrid anywhere online, and it’s actually even better than most of Leesa’s sales.
In 2018, Leesa updated its all-foam Original mattress to better support joints and alleviate pressure for side sleepers. Our reviewer tested both iterations (here’s the review for the older Original) and thought that the 2018 version supported her shoulders and hips much better.
The mattress has three layers — a breathable top layer, a memory foam middle that contours around your body, and a supportive bottom layer. These all add up to a 10-inch mattress that offers relief and support for side sleepers.
If you’re looking for the best balance of value, comfort, and support, Leesa’s Studio mattress might be your best option. The three layers of foam provided solid motion isolation and pressure relief, especially for our side-sleeping tester.
The Studio is a medium-firm mattress but the edge support left much to be desired — the foam sagged significantly. Solo sleepers might not mind since they’re not sharing a bed, but couples might want to get a large bed like a King to avoid falling off during the night.
In terms of price, the mattress is significantly less expensive than other Leesa mattresses and our tester didn’t think there was any compromise in terms of support or comfort. The Studio would be a great mattress for anyone on a budget, moving into their first apartment, or needing to furnish a guest room.
Studio By Leesa (Queen) (small)
Leesa Hybrid Pillow
Fans of the Hybrid mattress would love the Hybrid Pillow, which can be customized in four different ways.
Unlike traditional pillows that resemble a slab of memory foam or a bag of feathers, this customizable pillow has a down-like quilted pocket layer on one side and a firmer gel layer on the other. There’s also an insert between the two layers that can be removed to adjust the support level, and an always cool-to-the-touch fabric containing chilling fibers that surround the whole thing.
It’s more complex than a pillow needs to be in terms of construction, but it’s worth it for anyone who values the coolness factor and adjustable features.
Hybrid Pillow (Queen) (small)
Leesa Adjustable Base Bed Frame
While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that some other adjustable bases do (like a USB charging port or a massaging option), Leesa’s Adjustable Base Bed Frame has a whisper-quiet motor that will let you adjust your sleeping position without disturbing your partner (or your cat).
The adjustable bed frame fits any mattress — Leesa or otherwise — and comes with a remote control so you can adjust the foot and head easily. For anyone who wakes up in the middle of the night, there’s a handy button on the remote that controls a light that’s under the bed.
During our reviewer’s testing, she was able to make the most minute adjustments to alleviate pressure on her joints.
Adjustable Bed Frame (Queen) (small)
How Leesa compares to other mattress brands
If you’re looking for other Leesa mattresses, there are often deals of at least 10%, so we suggest waiting for a sale. Historically, Leesa’s biggest sales happen around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but we’ve also seen great ones throughout the year.
If you’ve ever woken up to a traditional alarm clock, you know that a blaring alarm early in the morning can be quite jarring. Sunrise alarm clocks (sometimes called wake-up lamps) simulate a natural and gradual sunrise with a range of soft orange and yellow LED lights for a gentler wake up experience. The simulated natural light from these devices can purportedly help with your mental health, too. Many wake-up lamps combine light therapy with sound meditation and breathing techniques to create a more calming sleep environment and help regulate circadian rhythms – the natural ebb and flow of hormones that tell us when to go to sleep and when to wake up.
Dr. Alex Dimitriu, founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine, told us that the gentle stimulus from sunrise alarm clocks starts getting the body out of deeper sleep stages, and closer to wakefulness. “Whether it’s a gradual sound or light alarm, wake-up lamps can help better prepare the body to wake up more gently, with less startle,” Dimitriu said.
Sunrise alarm clocks can also help reduce the effects of sleep inertia, that drowsy, disorienting feeling that a lot of us experience after abruptly waking up. “Sudden awakenings can lead to sudden changes in cortisol and other neurotransmitters that could cause problems,” said Dr. William Winter of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine. “Waking up with a gradual increase in wake-promoting light makes a lot of sense,” Winter said, which is why sunrise alarm clocks might be a better option than regular alarm clocks.
In addition to consulting two experts, I leaned on my own experience in sleep science for this guide. I previously managed a sleep laboratory for two years and continue to contribute to sleep research. I’ve presented some of my research at Eastern Psychological Association and have tested products for SleepScore Labs. Given my research background, I think it’s important that any new product you bring into your sleep routine be backed by research. That’s why I tested seven sunrise alarm clocks, using each for three consecutive days and nights to evaluate how effective, easy use, and durable they are. You can read more about how we tested here.
The Philips Smartsleep Connected can help you fall asleep gently and wake up on time with stunning sunset and sunrise simulations. It monitors your sleep environment and makes recommendations to improve it.
Pros: Smartphone connected; allows you to customize duration, color, sound, and intensity of wake-up and wind-down programs; makes recommendations for improving sleep environment; can set up to 16 alarms
Cons: Occupies a lot of space on nightstand, does not play music via Bluetooth, not a good option for those who prefer manual controls
The Philips Smartsleep Connected is a relatively large sunrise lamp that sort of resembles a glowing donut. Its controlled almost entirely from your phone an app (available for iOS or Android).
The app allows you to customize “wind-down” and “wake-up” profiles with your preferred sound, light intensity, and duration, and I found it very easy and intuitive to use. The stunning sunset simulation was my favorite feature: the brightness gradually decreases from beautiful hues of bright yellows to soft reds, and is accompanied by natural relaxing sounds that fade away with the sunset. Your personal sunset can last anywhere from five minutes to an hour and you can choose from four color schemes with inviting names such as “Caribbean red” and “Nordic white,” and four nighttime ambient sounds like “soft rain,” “summer lake,” or even your preferred FM radio station.
I woke up to “summer birds” and an “island red” sunrise with warm red and orange lights that distributed nicely throughout the bedroom. The combination made me feel like I was on vacation. You can also set up to 16 alarms; a useful option for people who tend to hit the snooze button.
The device also tracks your sleep habits and and lets you know if your bedroom is too hot, humid, bright, or loud for optimal sleep. Other features guided meditations, a night light, back-up battery in case of power failures, USB charging dock for your devices, an AUX cord to play music from your phone, and a bright reading light. Unfortunately, you can’t wake up to music from your phone or anything else connected through the AUX cord, and it does not play music via Bluetooth.
The technology has been backed by research: in a 2010 study, participants reported easier rising; better mood, productivity, and quality of social interaction; and reduced sleep inertia after using Philips sunrise lamps.
I’ve now used the device for many months. I still love falling asleep and waking up with this sunrise alarm clock, and in the winter months I’ve noticed that it’s light therapy has helped lessen the effects of my seasonal affective disorder (SAD). In all, its customization and user friendly app make it the best choice if you’re investing in one of these wake-up devices.
The Hatch Restore has the most light options and sleep sounds of any model we tried and they’re all fully controlled through its multifunctional Hatch Sleep app.
Pros: More than 30 sound options and 20 light options to choose from, guided meditations, fully personalized sleep and wake-up routines through the app
Cons: Not a good option if you don’t like to rely on an app, doesn’t play music, guided meditations only available with subscription, must be connected to Wi-Fi to use
The Hatch Restore sunrise alarm clock connects via Bluetooth to your phone and, with the free smartphone app (available on the Apple App Store and on Google Play), you can set your personalized bedtime routine and more than 18 alarms. Setting up the Hatch is easy even though it doesn’t come with traditional instructions. Instead, the box contains a small card with a link to the instructions online. There are so many features to choose from, including a bedside reading light, guided meditations, sleep stories, wind-down profiles, and sleep routines; all of which are fully customizable. It has more than 30 soothing sleep sounds and many more light therapy options than any of the products we tried, including nighttime shades, warm oranges, and soft relaxing pastels, which I loved while listening to meditations. What’s great about the Hatch is that users can fully personalize every part of their sleep schedule according to their preferences; you can add up to 10 steps to create a routine to fall asleep.
My routine consisted of three simple steps. First, I got into bed and read my book using the coral nighttime light for 30 minutes while listening to the “sea wind” sound. Then I wound down with a soft pink light and the “meeting sleep with ease” meditation. Finally, I fell asleep to an orange light and the sound of rain. You can also set how long each step is. I was concerned about the digital clock display being too bright during the night, but you’re able to turn it off completely or set it so that it will turn off by itself at your preferred time — a great feature for total darkness that also contributes to a good sleep environment. I also really enjoyed the variety of the guided meditations, which include breathing techniques, body scans, and relaxing sleep affirmations. The Hatch is well-designed with a nice half-moon shape that simulates a natural sunrise and, at 7.5 inches long, it didn’t take up too much of my nightstand. It’s a good device with a lot of light and sound options to create your own sleep routines.
Unlike some sunrise alarm clocks, the Hatch does require users to download the app and to have a stable Wi-Fi connection in order to use the device; without either, it’s basically useless. All its features are controlled through the Hatch Sleep app, but the device itself includes a few soft-touch buttons for volume and brightness. Unfortunately, many of the guided sleep meditations can only be accessed by subscribing for $49.99 a year or $4.99 a month (though the first six months are free). Another thing to note is that the device doesn’t immediately connect to your smartphone every time you open its companion app; it usually takes a few seconds to connect. I personally did not have an issue waiting five seconds for the app to open but other users might find it annoying. It also does not play music or radio.
The best sunrise alarm clock on a budget
The iHome Zenergy Dream Mini produces a soft sunrise and will gradually wake you up with your favorite song. For the price, it’s packed with a lot of features that will help you wake up in a better mood.
Pros: Lots of customizable options, pairs with Bluetooth to play music from your phone, won’t take up too much space on your nightstand
Cons: The light intensity might be too low for some, most functions cannot be controlled through a smartphone, only two alarms
The iHome Zenergy Dream Mini is a tiny sleep therapy machine packed with tons of features and customizable options. The instructions include really useful tips on how to properly meditate with the device and a brief section on the importance of maintaining good circadian rhythms.
What I love about the Zenergy Dream Mini is the option to wake up to my own Spotify playlist; a feature that other wake-up lamps I tested lack. The mini device paired up quickly and smoothly with my iPhone every single time with no issues, and I was able to wake up to a gentle simulated sunrise and my favorite song. The sound quality is honestly pretty good for such a small device. However, even though you can choose and play your music through Bluetooth, this device does not have an accompanying app, so you can’t control any other features with your smartphone.
Instead, you control most of its functionality through 15 buttons on the top of the device. It has a lot of options that have to be set up manually but the instructions are helpful and the settings are fairly easy to navigate. The time also has to be set up manually but will purportedly adjust during daylight saving time automatically, and the built-in battery maintains the time and alarm settings in the event of a power outage. One of its key features is the “ZENERGY” button, which activates calming sounds accompanied by gentle, colorful lights. It is customizable with the “fall asleep” and “stay asleep” buttons, which let you choose from a nice selection of sound and light options including a guided breathing meditation, 13 relaxing sounds, and nine calming light therapy cycles. My favorite is the “heart” sound because it promotes steady breathing patterns and pairs well with the “breath” light color therapy.
The snooze button is large and strategically placed in front of all the buttons, so I didn’t have to struggle to hit snooze in the morning. However, you can only set two alarms and snooze only lasts up to nine minutes. The light from this mini device might also be too soft for some individuals who need brighter hues in order to wake up. Still, this sunrise alarm clock is priced much lower than other options and offers great functionality if you’re just starting to dabble in light therapy.
The best portable sunrise alarm clock
The Casper Glow Light is uniquely designed as a wireless, portable night light, and uses intuitive gestures and a streamlined design to create a beautiful and simple experience.
Pros: Beautiful warm lights, portable, pairs with multiple Glow Lights for a bedroom light show, intuitive and easy to operate with simple gestures
Cons: Lacks sound, requires smartphone app for expanded features like setting sleep and wake times
Casper Glow Light is a small portable cylinder that can be easily controlled with just a few gestures: flip to turn on, rotate to increase and decrease the amount of light, and wiggle to turn on the night light. The device is small, softly lit, and smartly designed with gentle, warm hues of light for better sleep.
The light charges wirelessly and pairs with an app that is also very simple to use. While you can operate the light without it, the app (available on the Apple App Store and on Google Play) is a must if you want to set wake-up and wind-down times, which cue a sunset or sunrise that can last from 15 to 90 minutes.
One of the unique features of the Glow Light is that it synchronizes with other Glow Lights to make pretty light shows. Once you have more than one, you can name each and “group” or “ungroup” them through the app. I used two lights together and found they set a very tranquil mood.
The night light feature is very useful for when you wake up and want to avoid turning on bright lights that could disrupt your ability to fall back to sleep. The light was easy and fun to carry around during the night when I went on a mission downstairs to get a glass of water. It’s made with polycarbonate to resist bumps and endure falls, so is great for kids to use as well.
Falling asleep with my pair of Glow Lights was such a treat. The soft, warm lights create a tranquil sleep environment, gradually dim to slowly relax you, and then turn completely off for total darkness. The Casper Glow Lights are made with high-quality warm LEDs that were effective in waking me up gently. However, the device focuses solely on effective light therapy and, unlike other models we tested, it completely excludes sound. It might not be the best option for heavy sleepers who require some noise to wake up; you’ll still need to set a phone alarm if you really need a rise out of bed. That said, it’s a beautiful device that makes for a very tranquil bedroom environment.
The best sunrise alarm clock with all manual controls
The Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light has a unique spherical design that creates a beautiful sunrise simulation, and features many of the same premium settings as the more expensive Philips Smartsleep Connected.
Pros: Creates the best sunrise simulation, very user-friendly and simple, fully manual
Cons: Very limited sound options, doesn’t have an app if you’re someone who prefers a connected device
A less expensive option from Philips, the Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light has fewer customizable options and features than the Philips Smartsleep Connected and is completely manual; no app needed. I recommend this one if you’re looking for something simple, but still high-quality and efficient. It’s one of Philips’ best selling sunrise alarm clocks because of its impressive colored sunrise simulations and relaxing sunsets.
I had no problem setting the time and alarms with the easy-to-follow instructions. Falling asleep to this lamp was very relaxing; the sunset simulation therapy works just as well as the Philips Smartsleep Connected and the display automatically dims as the room gets darker, great for cocooning yourself in total darkness. Waking up with this lamp was such a pleasant experience; the gradual and natural sunrise simulation increased in the span of 30 minutes until it completely flooded my bedroom with beautiful, rich, orange and yellow lights and the gentle sounds of “Nepal bowls.” You can choose from five different natural wake-up sounds including beautiful “birds” and “ocean waves,” or your preferred FM radio station. The snooze feature is unique: a single slight tap anywhere on the device snoozes the lamp for nine minutes.
It’s also one of Philips’ sunrise alarm clocks that is clinically proven to help you feel more ready for the day, and I have to admit that it did a great job at waking me up feeling refreshed in the morning. I personally prefer this Philips model’s smooth, spherical shape and smaller size over the Philips Smartsleep Connected, although I wish it connected to the app for more customization. I missed the extra features in the Philips Sleepmapper app when I used this model, like the sleep environment monitoring and extended customization. I hope Philips comes out with a new sunrise alarm clock that features all of the Philips Smartsleep Connected options but is shaped like this model to simulate that beautiful, natural sunrise.
What else we tested
I tested seven sunrise alarm clocks as part of this guide and unfortunately, some didn’t make the cut.
What we don’t recommend and why
Lumie Bodyclock Shine 300 ($159.00): The Lumie Bodyclock Shine 300 doesn’t connect to an app and setting it up manually took me multiple tries and many minutes, as it comes with a set of lengthy, non-intuitive instructions that involve a lot of clicking around on the device. The daily alarm has to be turned on manually every single night before going to bed; if you fall asleep before you do, you’re out of luck for your morning alarm. The sound options are interesting, to say the least. I chose to wake up to “kittens purring” because the other options were not exactly what I would prefer waking up to; for example, there was “ping-pong,” “steam train,” “goats,” and “café,” among the 15 odd sounds. Made by a British company, the device only provides a 24-hour clock, which is somewhat inconvenient if you’re used to a 12-hour clock. That being said, the device and its lights do simulate a nice sunset and sunrise. The light progression is smooth and it has gentle levels of brightness. Although it has a lot of customizable options, they can be quite frustrating to set up.
AMTOK Smart Wake Up Light ($45.99): I was excited to try this smart sunrise alarm clock because of its voice control function. However, setting it up was so complicated and time-consuming that I quickly got discouraged. First, it comes with two sets of instructions with different information on how to connect the device to your phone, but neither appeared to be up-to-date to the model I was testing. Second, it only supports 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi networks, which transmit data at lower speeds and are prone to interference; likely why it failed to wake me up in the morning on multiple occasions. While the device has features that you can control through the app, they’re very limited; just a few sound and light options. The color loop option is nice but I found its light intensity somewhat dull and not very relaxing. It’s a device that you have to learn to get used to — if you have the patience.
In addition to interviewing sleep experts Dr. Alex Dimitriu, founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine, and Dr. William Winter of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine, I did hands-on testing with seven different sunrise alarm clocks. As a sleep researcher who managed a sleep lab for two years, part of my research involved investigating strategies to reduce sleep inertia (like using sunrise alarm clocks), so I also relied on my own background in sleep research and product testing to evaluate each product over several nights. I tested each sunrise alarm clock according to the following criteria:
Setup: For each of the lamps, I paid close attention to how difficult or easy it was to set up on my nightstand. I noted how accurate and helpful their instructions were and what it was like to set the time and alarms. I also evaluated how heavy they were and how much space they occupied on my bedside table.
Performance: I used each wake-up lamp for a minimum of three consecutive days and nights to get used to the routine and noted whether or not they woke me up on time and with the features (such as sound and light color) I chose. I took notes on what it was like to fall asleep with their wind-down features, and paid particular attention to the wake up experience. I woke up at the same time every morning with each alarm clock to keep my experiences consistent, and noted how I felt and how much sleep inertia I experienced. I also evaluated the sound and light quality of each, and how easy or difficult it was to snooze the back-up alarm (if it had one).
Special features: I tested out any additional and unique features of each sunrise alarm clock, such as speakers, Bluetooth integration, guided meditations, and accompanying mobile apps. I noted whether or not these extra features were actually helpful and easy to use.
Durability: In order to test how durable and resistant each alarm clock was, I knocked every one off my nightstand and checked to see if any parts came loose or broke. Fortunately, all of them passed this test. I also took note of each product’s materials and their warranty.
Long-term use: Since original testing, I’ve continued to regularly use our top picks and will report back about their durability over time.
What we’re testing next
We’re continuing to research and test the best wake up lamp alarm clocks; here are some models on our horizon.
Hatch Rest+ ($89.99): Hatch recently came out with a new Hatch Rest+ smart lamp. Its features include a sound machine, night light, and a “time-to-rise” feature that cues your child when it’s time to sleep and when it’s okay to get up. It also has an audio monitor, backup battery, and you can control it with Amazon Alexa (but not Google Home). You can even “dress it up” with cute coverlets to make it fun for babies and children. It’s received a ton of great reviews from parents and I’m excited to test its integration with Alexa.
TITIROBA Wake Up Simulation ($35.99): This wake-up lamp, which is the least expensive I’ve seen, has received a lot of really great reviews. Some of its features include five natural sounds, a backup battery, “eye-care” adjustable lights, digital LED clock, and touch control. It’s simple and equipped with only a few features but it might be worth a try if you’re on a budget.
LittleHippo Children’s Trainer Sounds Machine ($49.99): This one might be a great option for kids. It’s a cute design that uses colors and digital “facial expressions” to teach children when it’s okay to get out of bed and when it’s time to go to sleep. Its “wake” feature works just like a sunrise alarm clock, glowing to indicate the start of the day. It also has child-friendly alarms, nap timers, and a night light. It has great reviews and I’d love to compare this one to the Hatch Rest+.
Bodyclock Luxe 750DAB(£199.00): I really want to give Lumie another shot. To be fair, the Lumie Bodyclock Shine 300 that I tested was designed years ago, but is one of the few models currently available in the United States. There is a newer version with more sound options, Bluetooth for streaming music from smartphones, higher-quality sound, and a glass lamp cover — a feature that I imagine produces a beautiful sunrise simulation. Currently, this Lumie model is only available in the UK.
What are the benefits of sunrise alarm clocks?
The light therapy implemented in these wake-up lamps helps regulate cortisol and melatonin production, two important hormones that are essential in controlling sleep/wake cycles. It can be difficult for some of us to adapt to season changes, especially in the winter when days get shorter and nights get longer. The shift from bright summer days to long, dark winter months can have an impact on circadian rhythms, sometimes resulting in seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Regular daily alternation of light and darkness is essential in order to maintain good quality sleep. Sunrise alarm clocks have “wind-down” features that encourage a healthy production of melatonin at night by mimicking a gradual sunset, while the “wake-up” cycles encourage the production of cortisol in the morning by simulating a natural and gradual sunrise that prepares you for wakefulness. The wake-up and wind-down features can be equally important in helping maintain a healthy sleep cycle.
How does a sunrise alarm-clock compare to a traditional alarm?
Many sunrise alarm clocks are equipped with all the features we all like in traditional alarm clocks — a radio or music player, custom or multiple alarms, and yes, even a sound alarm if you need it. The key difference is that sunrise alarm clocks use gentle light and sound to help you wake up before resorting to the louder noises that are typical of a standard alarm clock.
Waking up to the loud, obnoxious sound of a traditional alarm clock is not only unpleasant and irritating, but it’s also quite unhealthy. “If we train ourselves to wake up suddenly, with a jolt, this can become a problem for any other time we wake up in the night, making it hard to fall back asleep,” said Dimitriu.
That abrupt wake-up experience can also cause stress levels to suddenly increase, often aggravating long-term issues like chronic anxiety. Winter also advises waking up gently because sudden awakenings can cause sudden blood pressure surges, possibly leading to heart issues.
Your chances of waking up with sleep inertia — that debilitating groggy, drowsy feeling that occurs as a result of a sudden, often startling transition between sleep and wakefulness — also increase if you wake up to a traditional alarm clock. Sleep inertia makes it very difficult for some people to get out of bed, and often puts people in a bad mood for the rest of their day. “Gradual alarms (sound or light) are excellent solutions to wake people gradually,” said Dimitriu, since these softer alarms offer a gentler, more gradual and natural wake-up experience.
What features should I look for when choosing a sunrise alarm clock?
There are a lot of options when it comes to choosing a sunrise alarm clock. One very important aspect to consider is the brightness level of the lamp. If you’re a heavy sleeper you might need a sunrise alarm clock that has bright lights to effectively wake you up in the morning.
Another important factor is alarm sounds: most sunrise alarm clocks have several sound options and some (like the Casper Glow light) lack this feature completely. If you’re a heavy sleeper you may want to opt for a device with many sounds. Or, if you are a “snoozer,” you might want to consider a sunrise alarm clock that allows you to set multiple alarms like the Philips Smartsleep Connected, which offers up to 16 alarms just in case you like to hit snooze more than once.
Finally, consider your personal needs; if you’re uncomfortable operating smartphone-enabled technology, you may prefer a sunrise alarm clock with manual functions right on the machine. On the flip side, if you want a very custom experience, you may like a lamp that offers many different colors and sounds that are controlled through a phone app.