The best sleep aids to help you nod off

Alexandra Thompson
Desperate girl suffering insomnia trying to sleep in a bed at home in the night
Insomnia is a common condition that affects a third of Britons. [Photo: Getty]

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Millions of us spend long, sleepless nights staring at the ceiling, trying to get some shut eye.

Bupa statistics show insomnia affects a third of people in the UK.

And in the US, 30% of adults struggle to nod off, with 10% battling chronic insomnia, according to the American Sleep Association.

READ MORE: Could 'moon breathing' help you sleep?

While a poor night’s kip may leave you exhausted and irritable the next day, insomnia has been linked to depression and even heart disease over the long term.

With experts recommending people only turn to sleeping pills as a last resort, Yahoo UK looks at the best-rated products on the market to help you nod off.


When you just can’t nod off, Dodow “teaches” you how to breathe to induce sleepiness.

The device emits a blue light on the ceiling. When it expands, users are encouraged to inhale, before exhaling when the light narrows.

The “exhalation phase” is deliberately longer to “create a sensation of tiredness conductive to sleep”, the manufacturers claim.

Users can select an eight or 20 minute session, depending on how alert they feel, with the device automatically turning off at the end.

By taking a user’s breathing rate from an average of 11 to just six inhalations per minute, it “really slows down the metabolism and the body will be completely relaxed”.

What’s more, the gentle blue “halo” on the ceiling has a “hypnotic effect”, allowing a user to really switch off.

Dodow has reportedly been bought more than 500,000 times, and - with a 63% five star rating on Amazon - fans “can’t recommend it highly enough”.

Dodow Sleep Aid Device | £49.90

This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray

This peaceful blend of lavender, camomile and vetivert essential oils “calms both body and mind”.

Simple but effective, a survey of 200 adults found 92% woke more refreshed after spritzing their pillow, while 97% claimed they slept better overall.

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As if that was not testimony enough, all the participants would recommend the spray to a friend, the This Works study showed.

With many users giving it five stars, one lifelong insomnia sufferer even called it “magic” and “worth every penny”.

This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray | £16.50

AVANTEK Sleep White Noise Machine

Prepare to nod off as you unwind to the sounds of waves crashing against the shore, a babbling brook and even the nostalgic crackle of a campfire.

Avantek’s white noise machine lets a user choose from 20 soothing options to help them catch some zzz.

If background noise is disturbing you, the “masking effect” of the machine drowns out “snoring lovers, crying kids or party-loving neighbours”, the manufacturers claim.

The user sets the device for between one and seven hours, with it then fading out when the time is up.

READ MORE: Common sleep myths keeping you awake - and damaging your health

According to the National Sleep Foundation, white noise “reduces the difference between background sounds and a ‘peak’ sound, like a door slamming”.

“If you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, creating a constant ambient sound could help mask activity from inside and outside the house.”

The machine has received rave reviews on Amazon, with 69% giving it the full five stars.

One even called it a “life saver” after she was “at the end of her tether” contending with “flicking light switches” and “coughing”.

Sleep White Noise Machine | £29.99

This Book Will Make You Sleep

You may not think a book will combat insomnia, but with 54% of Amazon reviewers giving it five stars, it must be doing something right.

Co-written by the psychologist Dr Jessamy Hibberd, it includes cognitive behavioural therapy techniques to help get your sleep patterns on track.

The book talks readers through the best foods for a peaceful slumber, how to banish negative thoughts and tips to “put stress to bed”.

It then teaches them to change how they think about sleep, including debunking many myths.

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One happy customer raved: “I was skeptical a short book could make a difference. But it has.

“My sleep has improved significantly and I have cut down on the use of sleeping pills almost entirely.”

Another added: “very helpful tips on getting to sleep and getting back to sleep on waking early.”

And it’s not just Amazon customers who are fans.

TV presenter and burns survivor Katie Piper called it “the answer to all her problems”.

This Book Will Make You Sleep | £6.47

Bluetooth Eye Mask

Many rely on an eye mask to nod off, but most are not this high-tech.

As well as blocking out “100% of light” to create an “absolute dark zone”, it is also embedded with speakers.

The mask then wraps around a user’s ears, gently playing soothing sounds.

Rather than having “built in” white noise, the device connects to a user’s smartphone, allowing them to select the background sounds they find most soothing.

While its speakers may be what makes the mask novel, Amazon customers also praise the “super soft and cushioned” farbic.

Another added: “Loving everything about this item. I work night shifts so I sleep during the day and these make a huge difference.”

Bluetooth Eye Mask | £16.99

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