An essential oils diffuser may make a good gift for a person with insomnia

Photo courtesy of Your Best Digs

Oops! Here it is just a few days before Christmas and Hanukkah and I’ve forgotten to write my annual gifts-for-the-sleepless blog.

I’ll just post this gift blog now and include items available from online sellers promising 2- and 3-day shipping. (Apologies to readers expecting a post about an insomnia treatment that increases sleep efficiency! I’ll publish that one next week.)

Essential Oil Diffuser

The National Sleep Foundation says there’s evidence that certain scents are relaxing and may be conducive to sleep: lavender, jasmine, vanilla, rose, and “any scent you love.” Essential oils—natural oils that smell like the plant or other source from which they come—are popular now and, for those who like essential oils, a diffuser is a must. Some diffusers contain an atomizer that produces fine, airborne particles of oil and blows them into the air. Others blend the oil with water and release a cool mist. Diffusers are attractive and reasonably priced, and they make good gifts. Available at Amazon and many big box stores.

Satin-Lined Cap

It doesn’t have to be long and pointy, and it doesn’t have to look like the mop cap worn by Betsy Ross. These days satin-lined beanies are being sold as fashion accessories that can double as nightwear to protect fancy hairdos as well as warm the head on chilly nights. Check out these stylish options and these cute caps: an affordable gift sure to provide your loved one with comfort at night.

Wake-Up Light

In last year’s post I suggested night owls might find it easier to get up if they used a wake-up light. My night owl nephew tried one and was surprised to discover how much easier it was to get out of bed. But his light—made by Philips—begins to brighten 30 minutes before the alarm rings. A light that began to brighten 60 minutes before wake-up time would be even more helpful, he said. A 30- or 40-minute brightening cycle may be fine for the night owl in your life. But late, late night people may do better with the Lumie Bodyclock, which has a longer, more flexible light cycle.

Cashmere Socks

Wearing soft, warm socks to bed may be just the ticket for an insomniac who has trouble falling asleep, especially if during the colder months that person has cold feet. Icy extremities are never sleep friendly. And research shows that warming the feet can sometimes help people fall asleep. It dilates the blood vessels, helping lower core body temperature and hastening sleep. Some wool socks are scratchy, but not cashmere, which is warm and soft. Many choices for men and women online.

No-Drawstring Pajamas

Whoever had the idea of creating pajamas with a drawstring at the waist? Certainly not someone whose sleep is disrupted by bathroom calls at night! Especially if your mate or sweetheart makes several trips to the bathroom, do him or her the favor of getting pajamas with an elasticized waist. Warning’s fair: you may have to hunt a while for this gift and purchase tops and bottoms separately (drawstring pajamas are “in” and elasticized bottoms, apparently “out”). Yet for the persistent shopper they are available from Amazon and other online sellers.


I know: a humidifier is a pretty pedestrian holiday gift! Yet it can be oh so useful for the sleep-challenged in the wintertime. When it’s cold outside, we endure months of forced-air heating and the coughing that results, keeping us awake or waking us up. It actually took me years to realize that humidifiers weren’t only for use when someone was sick. Now we use ours nightly and our nights are quieter—and our sleep, more peaceful—as a result. Available online as well as at all the big box stores and very reasonably priced.

The Savvy Insomniac

Last but not least: Give your friend or family member this A-to-Z guide to improving sleep and stamina. There’s no more comprehensive book about insomnia on the market today. Print and Kindle versions available from Amazon. Epub format available through other online booksellers, including Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iBookstore.

Can’t find the right gift here? Check out last year’s holiday gift blog or the ones from 2013 and 2014.

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.

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