Nightstand essentials to help you fall asleep

Slumber buddies for the five senses.

Nightstand sleep aids
Devices for dozing. Jonathon Kambouris

When we think of time travel we picture something out of an H.G. Wells novel, but in a way, your bed is a time machine. Lay down, close your eyes, and wake up in the future. Unfortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that at least 50 million adults in the U.S. have trouble getting shut-eye. This gathering of gadgets can’t cure a full-fledged sleep disorder, but it will appeal to your five senses and make it easier to drift peacefully into dreamland.

Smell

1. Essential oils aren’t a bedtime panacea, but it’s easier to rest in a room that smells more like peppermint, lemon, or cedarwood than your dirty gym clothes. The Homedics Ellia Aspire Ultrasonic Diffuser uses a rapidly vibrating transducer to transform and disperse a water-and-oil mix into a cool, fragrant mist. $167

Sound

2. Looping white noise from an app or digital sound machine can be inconsistent and annoying. The Marpac Dohm, however, uses a two-speed asymmetrical fan to generate constant, soothing sound. The pitch and volume are adjustable up to 75 decibels to drown out street noise or a snoring partner. $56

Sight

3. Switching between machine-fed light of our devices and total darkness can confuse our brains about the time of day. The Philips Wake-Up Light changes color and brightness to simulate natural sunrise and sunset. Its LED shifts among yellow, red, and orange to aid transitions into and out of sleep. $199

Taste

4. For centuries, purveyors of Ayurvedic medicine have praised various spices for general relaxation. Yogi’s Bedtime Tea contains two of ’em: cardamom and cinnamon. Chamomile in the mix adds apigenin, a flavonoid, which binds to benzodiazepine brain receptors to help chill you out. $8

Touch

5. Under Armour’s Performance Pajamas feel like a mixture of silk jammies and athletic gear. A bioceramic coating reflects far infrared rays from body heat back to the skin, which preliminary studies show might help muscle recovery. The science isn’t settled, but the PJs sure are cozy. $99

This article was originally published in the September/October 2017 Mysteries of Time and Space issue of Popular Science.