The Best Products for Better Sleep, According to Sleep Doctors

Two sleep experts reveal their top product picks for mattresses, pillows, bedding, and more.

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March 08, 2024

Each year, the National Sleep Foundation emphasizes the important role sleep plays when it comes to overall health and well-being with Sleep Awareness Week, which is March 10-16 this year. So, if you’ve been looking for an excuse to learn more about sleep hygiene and prioritize catching a few more Zs, now you have it. Before you hop into bed and drift off, consider the fact that your current mattress, pillows, and bedding, not to mention your room surroundings, can affect how restorative your sleep is.

“I believe that sleep is a performance activity, and like most of those activities, your equipment matters,” says clinical psychologist and sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus, PhD (aka The Sleep Doctor). “I'm a runner and I can run a race in flip flops but my time will be terrible — with the right shoes I can run 7:30s all day. Sleep is almost exactly the same way; your environment will have a significant effect on your sleep, as does the equipment you use.”

With that in mind, we chatted with Dr. Breus and Sleepopolis Director of Sleep Health, Dr. Shelby Harris, to uncover their top sleep product recommendations. Check them out, below.

Mattresses for Better Sleep

How long have you had your mattress? As much as you may love it, it does have a shelf life. According to, mattresses should be replaced every six to eight years. However, they also recommend that you should swap it out if you’ve had your mattress for less time than that but are experiencing uncomfortable sleep.

While replacing your mattress regularly may feel like an unnecessary splurge, Dr. Breus says that it’s one product you absolutely want to invest in. “My grandpa always said you need to spend money on three things: shoes, eyeglasses and mattresses,” he shares.

His top picks? The Saatva Classic and Luxury Firm WinkBed. “The [mattress] feels great and comes in three firmness levels." Dr. Breus says. "I like their entire line.” As much as he likes the Saatva collection, he loves the Luxury Firm WINK Bed. “This company has four different firmnesses, and I really like the luxury firm hybrid,” he reveals. “I think this version will work on most people and most starting sleep positions. It sleeps cool and has zoned coils for support, so it really does take advantage of several technologies at a reasonable price point.” According to Dr. Breus, the mattress works best for folks between 125 and 250 pounds. “If you are under about 125 pounds, this may feel too firm,” he admits. “If you weigh over 250 pounds, you may need a firmer mattress.”

$1,799 $1,499

Meanwhile, Dr. Harris is a big fan of the Purple Mattress. “The Purple Mattress, known for its unique Purple Grid technology, is a great choice for optimal support and comfort,” she says.

Pillows for Better Sleep

Pillows may seem like squishy accessories to make sleep more cozy, but they’re meant to be supportive, too.

“I feel like I have saved more people’s sleep by just changing out their pillow than just about any piece of sleep equipment,” Dr. Breus reveals. His go-to? The Sleep Is the Foundation Shredded Memory Foam Pillow. “The biggest reason is that they do something most don't — they added a zipper on the side and extra stuffing. So [you] can 100 percent personalize [your] pillow to exactly what [your] head and neck need to stay aligned. In addition, I like the design; it has a gusset, which actually will give better support at the base of the neck where many people have pain.”


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For a pillow that works for various sleep positions, Dr. Harris recommends the cult favorite Coop Home Goods Pillow. “It can be adjusted for different sleeping positions and stands out for its customizable filling,” she says.

$129 $65

The best pillow for you is subjective. “Pillows are very personal,” Dr. Breus says, noting that he usually asks his clients a few questions to determine which type is best for them. First, he asks if they prefer squishy or firm pillows. “That really divides the pillow world in half,” he says. Then, he inquires about their starting sleep position. “This is critical because if you are a side sleeper, you need a pillow that is much thicker than if you were a back sleeper,” he says. Lastly, he asks about neck and upper back pain. If you have it, he suggests the TEMPUR-Neck™ Pillow and Sweet ZZZ Plant-Based Pillow, respectively.

$145 $95
Sweet Zzz Official

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Bedding for Better Sleep

Just as some garments are more comfortable than others, the same is true of bedding. And the overall consensus is that Brooklinen reigns supreme. “Brooklinen sheets are some of the best for soft, breathable materials,” Dr. Harris says — and Dr. Breus agrees. “Brooklinen has an awesome Move-in Bundle which is very cost-effective and contains a lot: sheets, pillow covers, duvets, and eye masks,” Dr. Breus adds. “They are 270 thread count with a very breathable weave to the yarn (long-cotton) and it's certified for chemical safety. It's an easy buy when you are moving in, have a kid going to school or for a guestroom. I have also used this when I just wanted a new set for our master.”

Dr. Breus also recommends Boll & Branch bedding. “If you are interested in sustainability and some of the best sustainable cotton on earth, this is the company for you,” he says. “They took the long way and have really held to their principles to let people know where their materials come from, and I think that's great.”


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Weighted Blankets for Better Sleep

Another bedding staple for better sleep? Weighted blankets. “Gravity blankets offer gentle pressure for those who enjoy the weight to help you relax at night,” Dr. Harris says.

While many weighted blankets exist these days, Bearaby is the brand that really popularized them in the past few years. “I like the Bearaby Velvet Napper,” Dr. Breus reveals, applauding the aesthetic design, ease of transport and weighted benefit. The Bearaby Velvet Napper is sold in six colors and two weights. “The biggest problem I have with these products is that they tend to sleep hot, which is fine for the winter but not for the rest of the year,” Dr. Breus adds.


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For a similar-looking, lighter-weight, more affordable version, try the Casaluna Solid Knit Weighted Blanket from Target. It’s sold in three neutral colors and weighs 12 pounds.

Sound Machines for Better Sleep

An important part of sleep hygiene extends beyond the bed. The sounds that fill your space can play just as big of a role in how restorative your sleep is. Because of this, Dr. Breus is a big fan of sound machines.

“Exposure to noise changes the normal pattern of sleep,” he explains. “People exposed to even low levels of noise experience more frequent sleep interruptions and spend less time in REM and stage three sleep. As a result, they’re less likely to feel well rested and recuperated in the morning.” Thankfully, white noise machines help mask noise changes, creating a more equalized sleepscape. “There are a number of factors to take into consideration when purchasing a white noise machine, including cost, volume control, a sleep timer, offering multiple types of sounds (white, pink, brown, green, ocean sounds, nature sounds, ASMR, the list goes on and on), and features that allow you to customize your bedtime experience.”

One of the most beloved sound machines that checks all of these boxes is the Hatch Restore 2, which looks aesthetic and features a sunrise alarm, sunset routine option, and soothing sleep sounds. “It's a very nice way to wake up if you wake early in the dark,” Dr. Breus says. “It has all of the white noises and other sounds I enjoy.”

If, however, you’re just looking for something to drown out the noise, Dr. Harris suggests the LectroFan Sound Machine, which features white noises and fan sounds. “It helps drown out background noise that could otherwise keep you up at night,” she tells us.


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White Noise Apps for Better Sleep

If you don’t have nightstand space to spare or you simply don’t want to invest in a sound machine before knowing how you’ll like it, Dr. Breus recommends downloading a white noise app.

“White noise apps are available for smartphones and come in a wide range of price points,” he says. “When choosing between apps, it may be helpful to consider whether the app is easy to use, includes a sleep timer and offers the features and sounds that help you fall asleep.”

If you don’t want to suss one out on your own, may we suggest Calm? The app features soundscapes spanning nature, relaxing spaces (like libraries) and general brown noise. It also has sleep stories, meditations and music designed to lull users to sleep. Personally, I love the 29-minute Wonder Sleep Story narrated by Matthew McConaughey. It’s so soothing — I’ve been listening to it on and off for years.

Sleep Tech for Better Sleep

Another way to enhance your sleep is to home in on it to understand its effect on the rest of your life. While many smartwatches have sleep sensors, since they often have to be recharged at night, they’re not the best (nor the most comfortable) option. That’s where the Oura Ring — which both Dr. Harris and Dr. Breus recommend—comes into play.

“I personally wear an Oura ring,” Dr. Breus reveals. “I know the company well and find their data to be highly accurate and scientifically tested.”

$299 and up
Oura Ring

Admittedly, the Oura Ring is an investment, especially because it requires a monthly membership to enjoy all of its features (though, it’s just a few dollars per month). That said, if you’re looking for more affordable options, Dr. Breus suggests using a Fitbit or Whoop, both of which are fitness companies that measure sleep. “Oura is a sleep company, and again more accurate,” Dr. Breus adds.

Then there’s the Apollo Neuro, which is a vagus nerve stimulator. “A new type of sleep tech has now entered the marketplace: frequency sleep technology,” Dr. Breus says “This is where some type of hardware unit will send out a particular frequency that will affect your biology and sleep. The only wearable that I think has the science to do this is called The Apollo. This is a very special wearable that not only helps improve your mood during the day but has real science to show you how many extra minutes of sleep you get by wearing this device. It’s kind of amazing. I’ve got several patients on it, and they love it.

Sleep Masks for Better Sleep

Sleep masks may seem frivolous but Dr. Breus says they can be beneficial.

“I love my MANTA Sleep Mask — I have one at my bedside and one in my suitcase,” he says. “They have done a great job of getting one thing right: It has removable eye pockets so it is amazingly comfortable and blocks out all the light. It’s not too restrictive, and I can add accessories that really work — sound, heat even cold.”


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Blackout Curtains for Better Sleep

Blackout curtains can reduce disturbances during sleep but they can also make waking up a nightmare. “To be 100 percent honest, I rarely recommend blackout curtains to people because in my experience, it’s very difficult to wake up in the morning,” Dr. Breus says. “If I need it dark, I use an eye mask and tell my patients to do the same.”

If you’re set on outfitting your bedroom with blackout curtains, though, Dr. Harris recommends the Nicetown Black Out Curtains. “They block light pollution in your room as well as offer thermal insulation,” she says.

Humidifiers for Better Sleep

Sleeping in a super dry or super moist environment can be disruptive to sleep. As such, Dr. Breus recommends adding a humidifier and purifier to your space. “Looking at air quality and humidity, NASA did a study and found that 40 percent humidity was what was optimal for sleep,” he shares. “That said, I also like to make sure the air is filtered. Let’s face it: You are in one room for six to eight hours breathing the same air; you want it clean and humid.”

One of the sleekest dual-action humidifiers on the market is the Dyson Purifier Humidify + Cool. It automatically senses and cleans the air while infusing it with optimal moisture.

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