03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

The Perfect Holiday Gift: Give The Gift Of Sleep, Part I

'Tis the season for gift-giving and spreading holiday cheer. But how many times have you -

1) received a gift you just don't need, or

2) given a gift that's destined to never be used or appreciated?


It's not easy finding the ideal gift for a person, especially if you're looking to watch your wallet this year. But I have an idea. Luckily, in my world of sleep medicine, there's a lot to be said for giving the gift of a good night's sleep.


This can be done easily--and often inexpensively--through a variety of options. In this blog I will give you a list of some of my favorite products for a better nights rest. In Part II I will give you some recommendations to give yourself the gift of sleep, to help YOU get a better night's rest.  


I work with many companies to research and develop quality, effective products that can help you (and those on your gift list!) get a better night's sleep. Here are some of my favorites:


· Pillows:  Besides your mattress, which is one of the most important parts of a good night sleep, pillows are arguably the most critical ingredient. A few years ago, I gave pillows as gifts at the holidays, and they were a hit. Few of us buy new pillows when we really need to, so getting one as a gift can be a delightful surprise. Check out for a pillow test to tell you which ones might be right for you.


· Aromatherapy: Recent studies have offered evidence that aromatherapy not only lifts your spirits, but possibly reduces anxiety, agitation, and even pain--all good effects for inducing sleep. Consider relaxing smells such as lavender, rose, and chamomile.


· Sound machines:  You might want to try a sound machine that drowns out noise (like a snoring bed partner-talk about a gift for YOU) or provides ambient or soothing noise; you can program most machines to provide what you want to hear, such as surf, rain, or a waterfall. I like some of the smaller ones that you can travel with as well.  There are some great choices at Brookstone.


· Other accessories to consider include an eye mask: one of my favorites has built in eye cavities, so your eye lashes do not brush against the fabric. You might want to look at a watch that may help you sleep better. Check out the Philip Stein collection of watches with natural frequency technology. 


· Book lights:  Some of the latest book lights illuminate the entire page, are light weight, easy to carry, and can even help with night vision when you're trying to read a map in a car. How cool is that?


· Interested in monitoring your sleep? An exciting, new product I have worked with is the Zeo - the first and only sleep monitor and sleep coach all in one! The more you learn, the better you will sleep.


You really can't go wrong with any of the above gift ideas. I also love the fact they are gender neutral and can be good for just about anyone at any age. Hey, it beats getting another pair of socks or tie, doesn't it?


Hopefully this will help with those last minute ideas. And look for my next blog: Give the Gift of Sleep, Part II!

Sweet Dreams,


Michael J. Breus, PhD

The Sleep Doctor™