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These surprising products help me sleep like a baby 😴

I don't know if you've heard but pandemic insomnia is real—and it's making some moms very tired. Me. I'm some moms.

pandemic insomnia solutions

I don't know if you've heard but pandemic insomnia is real—and it's making some moms very tired. Me. I'm some moms. Add that to my already natural tendency for anxiety to well up in the darkest of late-night hours, and, well, you used to catch me yawning at noon and begging for a nap by 4 pm.

Notice how I said used to?


I was determined to find something to help me sleep better because I have a 4-year-old who likes to eat three meals a day and a million snacks (how dare he), a demanding work schedule, mountains of laundry, and oh yeah, a pandemic going on that requires my full attention and energy. I cannot afford to lose any sleep right now. (Can a mom ever?)

So, I set out to find some products to help improve the quality of sleep I'm getting and make the most of every single one of those zzz's. Here's the best of what I found.

Popmask starry eyes sleep mask

Popmask starry eyes

When I found these self-warming masks, I was super excited. Made from non-woven cotton and are self-heating, they provide this amazingly comforting warmth right over your tired eyes and they induce relaxation like I've never experienced before. Bonus: They also help get rid of headaches.

I have to admit, I was skeptical about the self-warming properties at first. I didn't want to put chemicals over my eyes and I was actually wondering if it would get too hot. Well, I was reassured when the package gave details on what creates the warmth in the mask—only naturally occurring ingredients. It starts to warm up and will stay warm for about 20 minutes. Just enough to help you melt away your day and then fall asleep into a deep night's rest.

$20

Sunday Citizen snug comforter

Sunday Citizen snug comforter

Our commerce editor has been raving about this uniquely cozy comforter for weeks now. She says, "I've always been a down comforter sort of girl, but after a week of testing the ridiculously plush and aptly named Snug Comforter from Sunday Citizen, a brand that's run by 'curators of soft, seekers of chill' who 'believe in comfort over everything,' it's safe to say I've been converted. My only complaint? I've slept through my alarm twice."

$249

HappyLight® Lumi light therapy lamp

HappyLight\u00ae Lumi Light Therapy Lamp

Spending hours parked in front of the blue light from my phone and laptop definitely has an effect on my ability to properly regulate my sleep patterns. At night, I'm often exhausted but find it difficult to actually fall asleep. Enter: non-UV light therapy. Sitting in front of this portable lamp for 20-30 minutes provides a dose of light that is supposed to trigger biochemical changes in your brain, regulating the production of melatonin while boosting serotonin. The result? A sleep cycle reset and better rhythms all around. After all, the laptop isn't going anywhere any time soon.

$50

Slumber app

Slumber app

Imagine the most soothing storyteller and all of nature tucked gently under your pillow lulling you to sleep. This awesome app is all that and more. It has an extensive library of stories, meditations and soundscapes which can all be customized to dial background sounds up and down. It even has stories for kiddos that can help make bedtime routines a little more enjoyable for everyone. The free version gives enough options to realize it's well worth the few dollars a month to unlock more.

$5.99

This Works deep sleep pillow spray

This works deep sleep pillow spray

Made from a power trio blend of lavender, camomile and vetivert, this pillow spray is some sort of sorcery in a bottle. I'm not sure if it's a placebo effect or I've conditioned myself to this awesome scent=stop fretting and go to sleep, but I'll take it. Just spritz over your pillow and give yourself license to get off the worry express for 6-8 hours.

$29

Hatch Restore

hatch restore

Hatch is known for their baby sleep products so when they launched Restore for adults, I was intrigued. It's part bedside alarm clock, part sound machine, part smart light—and it's genius and all controlled via an app. You can customize the lights and sounds to wind down (and wake up) easier. My fave part? The reading lamp setting that involves no blue light.

$129.99

Altwell gummies

altwell cbd gummies

Our managing editor swears by CBD for restless nights and recommended these gummies to do the trick. The CBD and melatonin blend helps you gently calm down from even the most hectic days, and the tropical flavor is actually delicious. It comes in child-resistant packaging, too to be extra safe. (You should always consult your doctor before consuming CBD products, especially if you're pregnant or breastfeeding.)

$54.99

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Sunday Citizen

I live in the Northeast and when I woke up this morning, my house was freezing. It had been in the mid 40's overnight and we haven't turned the heat on yet. Suddenly, my normal duvet felt too thin. The socks on my bare feet too non-existent. Winter is coming, and I'd been drinking rosés still pretending it was summer.

I couldn't put it off any longer. It was time to do my annual tradition of winterizing my home—and I don't mean making sure my pipes and walls have enough insulation (though obviously that's important too). I mean the act of evaluating every room and wondering if it has enough hygge to it.

If you've never heard of hygge, it's a Danish word that means a quality of coziness or contentment. And what better time to make sure you have moments of hygge all throughout your house than right now? As far as I'm concerned it's the only way to get through these dark winter months (even more so during a pandemic.)

So I went room by room (yes, even my 4-year-old's room) and swapped in, layered or added in these 13 products to get us ready for winter:

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Tips parents need to know about poor air quality and caring for kids with asthma

There are steps parents can take to keep their children as healthy as possible.

When wildfires struck the West Coast in September 2020, there was a lot for parents to worry about. For parents of children with asthma, though, the danger could be even greater. "There are more than 400 toxins that are present in wildfire smoke. That can activate the immune system in ways that aren't helpful by both causing an inflammatory response and distracting the immune system from fighting infection," says Amy Oro, MD, a pediatrician at Stanford Children's Health. "When smoke enters into the lungs, it causes irritation and muscle spasms of the smooth muscle that is around the small breathing tubes in the lungs. This can lead to difficulty with breathing and wheezing. It's really difficult on the lungs."

With the added concern of COVID-19 and the effect it can have on breathing, many parents feel unsure about how to keep their children protected. The good news is that there are steps parents can take to keep their children as healthy as possible.

Here are tips parents need to know about how to deal with poor air quality when your child has asthma.

Minimize smoke exposure.

Especially when the air quality index reaches dangerous levels, it's best to stay indoors as much as possible. You can find out your area's AQI at AirNow.gov. An under 50 rating is the safest, but between 100-150 is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as children with asthma. "If you're being told to stay indoors, listen. If you can, keep the windows and doors closed," Oro says.

Do your best to filter the air.

According to Oro, a HEPA filter is your best bet to effectively clean pollutants from the air. Many homes are equipped with a built-in HEPA filter in their air conditioning systems, but you can also get a canister filter. Oro says her family (her husband and children all suffer from asthma) also made use of a hack from the New York Times and built their own filter by duct taping a HEPA furnace filter to the front of a box fan. "It was pretty disgusting what we accumulated in the first 20 hours in our fan," she says.

Avoid letting your child play outside or overly exert themselves in open air.

"Unfortunately, cloth masks don't do very much [to protect you from the smoke pollution]," Oro says. "You really need an N95 mask, and most of those have been allocated toward essential workers." To keep at-risk children safer, Oro recommends avoiding brisk exercise outdoors. Instead, set up an indoor obstacle course or challenge your family to jumping jacks periodically to keep everyone moving safely.

Know the difference between smoke exposure and COVID-19.

"COVID-19 can have a lot of the same symptoms—dry cough, sore throat, shortness of breath and chest pain could overlap. But what COVID and other viruses generally cause are fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhea and body aches. Those would tell you it's not just smoke exposure," Oro says. When a child has been exposed to smoke, they often complain of a "scrape" in their throat, burning eyes, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain or wheezing. If the child has asthma, parents should watch for a flare of symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing or a tight sensation in their chest.

Unfortunately, not much is known about long-term exposure to wildfire smoke on a healthy or compromised immune system, but elevated levels of air pollution have been associated with increased COVID-19 rates. That's because whenever there's an issue with your immune system, it distracts your immune system from fighting infections and you have a harder time fighting off viruses. Limiting your exposure to wildfire smoke is your best bet to keep immune systems strong.

Have a plan in place if you think your child is suffering from smoke exposure.

Whatever type of medication your child takes for asthma, make sure you have it on-hand and that your child is keeping up with regular doses. Contact your child's pediatrician, especially if your area has a hazardous air quality—they may want to adjust your child's medication schedule or dosage to prevent an attack. Oro also recommends that, if your child has asthma, it might be helpful to have a stethoscope or even a pulse oximeter at home to help diagnose issues with your pediatrician through telehealth.

Most importantly, don't panic.

In some cases, social distancing and distance learning due to COVID may be helping to keep sensitive groups like children with asthma safer. Oro says wildfires in past years have generally resulted in more ER visits for children, but the most recent fires haven't seen the same results. "A lot of what we've seen is that the smoke really adversely affects adults, especially older adults over 65," Oro says. "Children tend to be really resilient."

This article was sponsored by Stanford Children's Health. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Mama, all I see is you

A love letter from your baby.

Mama,

I can't see past you right now, I'm so small and everything's a little blurry.

All I see is you.

When you feel alone, like the walls are closing in, remember I'm here too. I know your world has changed and the days feel a little lonely. But they aren't lonely for me.

You are my everything.

When you feel like you don't know what you're doing, you're making it look easy to me. Even though we're still getting to know each other, you know me better than anyone.

I trust you.

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