Sleep Products: My Top Picks, Comparisons, And Guides

man with a selection of headphones in a bedroom

If you’d like some independent recommendations for bedroom and sleep products, there are two main types of reviews and guides I share here on my website as well as my YouTube channel:

  • Lists with my top picks, recommendations, and comparisons.
  • In-depth individual reviews.

If you’re looking for ideas in a specific category, but aren’t quite sure which brand or model will suit you best, my lists and comparisons below might be a good place to start.

I always try to include a range to suit different needs, considering key areas such as budget, comfort, style, and features. Some of the articles include videos too, so you can see them in action.


Headphones

a range of headphones on a table

In the photo above, you can see some of the many headphones I tested to find the most comfortable ones to use in bed, as well as the most effective at blocking out external noise.

If you enjoy listening to music, radio, podcasts, or video while you relax and fall asleep, it’s good to have comfortable headphones that allow you to lie in different positions.

If you sleep on your back, or just listen for a while before taking them off, you can use any headphones potentially. If you sleep on your side, you might find a fabric headband style more suitable.


Bed cooling systems, cooling mattress pads and fans

Eight Sleep Hub next to bed

If you live in a hot part of the world, or are just a perennially hot sleeper, it can be difficult to sleep at night if you don’t feel comfortably cool.

There are some effective bed cooling systems that you could try, as well as mattress pads that are more breathable than dense memory foam toppers and mattresses.

In the photo above, for example, I’m setting up the latest high-tech cooling pad mattress I’ve tried.

If you’re on a tight budget, you might also find my tips for keeping cool in bed useful. Many of those ideas are free to implement and can be put into action straight away.


Mattress toppers

mattress topper

Mattress toppers are a great way to change how the surface of your bed feels without the expense of changing the entire mattress. You can make it softer, firmer, more or less springy, and change how warm or cool it feels to lie on.

If you’re unsure which style will work best for you, take a look at my guide to choosing a mattress topper. It’s full of useful information to help you understand the different materials and narrow down your choice.


Weighted blankets

weighted blanket

Weighted blankets are designed to apply gentle pressure on your body while you relax or sleep. The idea is that they feel comforting, often compared to being like a hug.

I’ve used one for many years, especially in the winter when the warmth of all that extra material is a bit more welcome. I find the weight provides a reassuring feeling and helps me relax.

If you’d like to know more about weighted blankets in general and learn about the different options, take a look at my guide to choosing a weighted blanket.


Sleep trackers

sleep tracker

The photo here shows one of the first things I do in the morning – check out my sleep stats, which I’m arguably more obsessed with than I need to be.

I just find it fascinating to see how my sleep times ebb and flow throughout the year. I also like to know how my lifestyle choices affect my sleep.

A good example is giving up caffeine in November 2021. Within days, my sleep tracker showed an improvement in the sleep score, helping motivate me to resist the temptation to return to the morning liquid buzz.

If you prefer to keep an eye on your sleep without using tech, perhaps keep a manual sleep diary in a notebook for a couple of weeks. Even that can throw up some interesting discoveries. Try noting how you sleep after eating certain food, doing exercise, or how other aspects of your daily life impact on your sleep.


White noise machines

12 white noise machines

In the photo above, you can see twelve of the many white noise machines I’ve tested. Of all the hundreds of sleep products I’ve reviewed in the last decade, there have probably been more white noise machines than any other category.

Why? Because I know many people find white noise, fan sounds, or nature sounds relaxing and helpful for masking external noise. The quality and sound choice they offer can vary enormously though, so I’ve tried to cover lots of different ones.

Here are some comparisons you might find useful if you’re thinking of getting one:


Sleep masks

Man with multiple sleep masks

Sleep masks are useful if you’re a shift worker and need to sleep during the day, and don’t have blackout blinds. If you’re traveling, they can also help you get some shut-eye when the world around you is a bit too bright.

As you can see in the photo above, I’ve tested a wide range of sleep masks. In this article, I write about my favorites and also show them in action in a video.

I focus on some of the key points I always look out for when I test new ones, such as whether they are flat or contoured, how comfortable they are, and the design of the strap.


Wake-up lights

two wake-up lights

If you don’t like waking up to a loud alarm tone, or if you struggle to get up when it’s still dark outside, a wake-up light could be worth trying.

In my experience, waking up slowly with a warm glow of light gently filling the bedroom is a much more pleasant experience than a jarring alarm in the darkness.

Many have a sunset simulator too, which is a great way to drowsily slip into the land of nod. I love how the light in my bedroom fades from the bright reading light setting to a subtle deep red and then turns off just as I’m falling asleep.


Earplugs

man on sofa with many earplugs on a table

Noise is my nemesis; earplugs are my superpower. Okay, I exaggerate a little, but it does sometimes amaze me how much noise you can get rid of just with simple foam earplugs.

The photo above was taken while I was comparing 15 different brands and styles of earplugs. Despite all the high-tech audio devices out there, sometimes a well-fitting set of earplugs with a high noise reduction rating is all you need in my experience.

If you struggle with noise at night, also check out my ideas for dealing with noise in bed. There are lots of useful tips for managing noise problems at night.


Pillow speakers

3 pillow speakers

Pillow speakers are a convenient alternative to headphones if you’d like to listen to music in bed without disturbing a partner.

You can pop them under your pillow or on top of your pillow next to your ear, which is more comfortable than lying on your side with headphones on.

The speakers tend to be flat and relatively quiet, so they are best suited to those who just want some quiet audio rather than incredible sound quality.


Travel pillows

many travel pillows in a car

Not long after I took the photo above, I took a couple of friends on a long car trip (buried under a mountain of travel pillows) to get their opinions in addition to mine.

That’s my approach to the big comparison reviews I do: I test multiple products myself, and then ask family and friends to see what other people think. After all, I’m just one person.

If you’re flying, I recommend doing some research and getting a good travel pillow beforehand rather than picking up whatever you can find in the airport. Sometimes the shops sell decent ones, but it’s not guaranteed to suit your body shape.


Heated mattress pads

heated mattress pad

If the idea of cooling your bed in the previous section makes you feel all shivery, maybe some extra warmth in bed is what you need instead.

Personally, I prefer heated mattress pads to electric blankets as they stay on the bed better and it can feel cozier to have the heat generated underneath your body.

Those with dual zones and separate controls are also a good way to have different temperatures on each side of the bed if you and a partner have different preferences.


See more of my reviews

If it’s white noise machines you’re most interested in, I cover lots of individual ones in depth, which you can find in the white noise machine section of this website.

For audio options, take a look at the headphones and pillow speakers section.

Take a look at the sleep tech articles for bedroom gadgets such as bed cooling and heating products, and wake-up lights.

For in-depth articles about mattresses, mattress toppers, and weighted blankets I’ve used, take a look at the mattress and bedding articles.

To find practical solutions for sleep problems, such as earplugs and sleep masks, as well as some sleep gift ideas, check out the sleep accessories section.

To find out about different over the counter sleep aids I’ve tried out, have a look at the sleep aids section.