12/11/2013 08:20 am ET Updated Dec 11, 2013

A Gift Guide For The Sleep-Impaired

Courtesy of Marpac-Dohm

Sleep, elusive sleep. Indeed, all many boomers want for Christmas is a good night's sleep.

“The older we get, the more likely we are to develop sleep problems,” Dr. William C. Kohler, a Florida sleep specialist and a past official of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, told the New York Times.

So for the sleep-impaired on your list, we'd like to make these gift suggestions:

1) The Original Sound Conditioner
This is the white noise machine by Dohm (that rhymes with "ommmmm") by Marpac that's been around for half a century. Its dome shape is easy to recognize. Turn it on, and tune out the rest of the world. The white noise it produces sounds like rushing air and masks other disruptive noises -- like spousal snoring. For light sleepers who are easily woken up by noise, this is a gem. It retails for about $60 and comes recommended by the National Sleep Foundation.

2) SleepPhones
SleepPhones were designed by a family doctor who had trouble falling back to sleep after she was woken up by emergency calls. They look like a soft headband and function along the same white noise principle. You can download soothing music from the website to play through your SleepPhones or just play your own. No little earbuds to fall out during the night, either. Available online for about $40; $100 for the wireless version.

3) Blackout blinds
We sleep better in dark cool rooms, says the Mayo Clinic. This means removing all electronics, TV sets, our phones, anything with a blinking light. But the big guns in the darkness fight are blackout shades or blinds. They can reduce light by almost 100 percent and people swear by them. Prices depend on the number of windows you have to cover and design style.

4) Herbal answers
Many people reach for a prescription bottle before they've tried all the herbal remedies available. A gift basket for the sleepless is a great idea. It can include herbal teas like the Get Some ZZZs tea from the Republic of Teas or organic Sweet Dreams tea from David's Tea. Cap off the basket with some Sleep aromatherapy bath soak sold at Bath & Body Works.

5) A doctor's appointment
Well, why not? The National Institutes of Health says that about 10 percent of us suffer from such bad insomnia that we can't function the next day and in half those cases, the underlying cause is illness or the effects of a substance, like coffee or medication. Therefore, help for sleeping better may start at the doctor's office.



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