Blue light-blocking glasses can be helpful for people with insomniaLooking for a gift for a problem sleeper (or are you browsing for sleep-friendly products yourself)? Last year’s holiday gift blog was so popular that I decided to post a similar blog this year.

Most of these items are fairly inexpensive and all can be purchased online. They may be helpful for people with insomnia and other sleep problems. If nothing else they’ll make for comfier nights.

Blue Light-Blocking Glasses: Evening use of computers and smartphones can suppress secretion of melatonin and make it harder to fall asleep. Blue-light blocking glasses keep this from happening. Night owls and people who use screens at night should use blue blockers in the evening. Night-shift workers should wear them when they leave work in the morning. Blublocker sells glasses for use outdoors for $49.95. Lenses suitable for both in- and outdoor use are available at LowBlueLights for $70 to $80.

Red Night-Lights: People who are sensitive to light and prone to insomnia should avoid light at night. But darkening the house completely is not always practical. The solution lies in using red lighting, which research shows is unlikely to have any effect on melatonin secretion or sleep. Brownsmark sells three red night-lights, made by Ibis & Orchid Design, for $19.99 apiece. Together with small red bulbs sold at hardware stores, the night-lights make pretty gifts.

Herbal Teas: The jury is still out on the question of how well herbal remedies work for insomnia. But teas containing kava, valerian and passionflower are believed to have anxiety-reducing, sleep-promoting properties. And simply drinking a warm beverage at night is a calming ritual. Yogi sells a “Rest & Relax Variety 6-Pack” for $28.14. For tea-drinking insomniacs, this is as good as it gets.

Calming Essential Oils: Last year’s blog featured lavender oil, found in some studies to relieve anxiety and help with sleep. Lavender is also found in some essential oil blends. DoTERRA’s Serenity contains a mix of lavender, Roman chamomile, ylang ylang, and other oils said to alleviate stress. Its subtle herbaceous smell makes for wonderfully fragrant nights. A 15 ml bottle sells for $40.

Warm Slipper Socks: Feeling too cold at night is never conducive to sleep, but sleep is most likely to occur when your core body temperature is falling. Warming the extremities hastens this process, dilating blood vessels, allowing for the swift release of body heat and in turn promoting slumber. So warm footwear is a must on winter nights. At $49.95 a pair, L.L.Bean’s fleece-lined knit slipper socks are the best I’ve found.

Travel Pillows: Sleeping on planes can be nearly impossible for the sleep challenged, but the right travel pillow can reduce the discomfort of sleeping in a seat. SkyMall offers a wide selection of inflatable pillows suitable for most sleeping positions: reclining backward, leaning to the side or slumping forward over a meal tray. The pillows sell for $20 to $40.

Sleep Tracking Devices: I’ll leave it to Joanna Stern of The Wall Street Journal to review the latest sleep monitors. Keep in mind that these gadgets were designed and work best for normal sleepers. They may not be able to deliver all they promise for people with insomnia. They start at $99.

The Savvy Insomniac: Give your loved one this A-to-Z guide to improving sleep and stamina. No other book about chronic insomnia presents as many solutions and explanations of why and when they’re likely to help. No other provides such insight into a disorder still widely misunderstood. The Savvy Insomniac now sells for $10.36 with free shipping in the US. There’s no better way to fight insomnia than this.

Still looking for the perfect gift? Take a look at last year’s holiday gift blog.


Posted by Lois Maharg, The Savvy Insomniac

Lois Maharg has worked with language for many years. She taught ESL, coauthored two textbooks, and then became a reporter, writing about health, education, government, Latino affairs, and food. Her lifelong struggle with insomnia and interest in investigative reporting motivated her to write a book, The Savvy Insomniac: A Personal Journey through Science to Better Sleep. She now freelances as an editor and copy writer at On the Mark Editing.


  1. Since both my spouse and I retired, we’re unable to fall asleep without listening or watching TV. We both awake feeling as if we haven’t had a good night’s sleep.
    Myself, trying to fall asleep under those ideal conditions you cite just doesn’t work.
    However, I’ll now try using red lights and blue blocker sun glasses to see if it helps.



    1. Hello Vince,

      Let us know if manipulating light at night has an effect on your sleep.

      If you’re awakening feeling as though you haven’t had a good night’s rest, you may want to check out cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, or CBT. This treatment often helps people consolidate their sleep and feel as though they’re sleeping more deeply.

      Click “blog” at the top of the page and use the site search box to access information on CBT and one of the behavioral treatments it involves, sleep restriction therapy. I also describe the CBT treatment I and others went through in chapter 8 of my book, The Savvy Insomniac. It’s helped me quite a lot.

      Good luck moving forward.



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