I’m Usually Such A Restless Sleeper But Trying These Four Viral Trends Actually Helped

During a recent scroll on social media, I stopped in my tracks on a video of a girl talking about her experience using mouth tape for a better night's sleep. I, too, thought taping your mouth before bed sounded like a scene from a hostage or murder movie, BUT this content creator might've been on to something because, supposedly, there are benefits to sleeping with mouth tape.

Screenshot from "Friends" of Joey looking surprised

Lately, it seems like there's a new sleep trend or hack on social media every day, giving hope to people who don't sleep that well. I'm a person who doesn't necessarily have trouble falling asleep; it just takes me a lot to get into bed, and then once I'm asleep, the quality of my sleep isn't great (I know this thanks to my Oura Ring that I got a few months ago).

Person lying in bed with eyes closed, head resting on hand, wearing a T-shirt with lettering
Fabiana Buontempo

Here's how my sleep is on a normal night. As you can see, there is a lot of red in the areas where I want to improve.

Sleep tracking app screenshot showing a Sleep Score of 67 labeled 'Fair' with various sleep metrics like total sleep and REM sleep
Fabiana Buontempo

Since the mouth tape isn't the only sleep trend that has flooded my social media feeds recently and piqued my interest, I ~researched~ (I watched more TikTok videos of people explaining their experience) a few more sleep trends before deciding which ones I wanted to try. From there, I reached out to a few experts to find out which of the trends I picked are beneficial and which are just fads.

Here are the trends I wanted to test to see if I could get better quality sleep (meaning I am less restless throughout the night and spend more time in REM and deep sleep).

• Drinking a 'sleepy girl' mocktail before bed

• Sleeping with a sound machine + switching up my alarm clock chime to snooze my alarm less

• Taping my mouth shut while sleeping

• Sleeping with a red light

Note: During this time of trying the different methods, I went to bed and woke up at the same time every day. Keep in mind, what works or does not work for me can vary from person to person. Sleep is an individual thing. 

TREND ONE: First up was the 'sleepy girl mocktail.' TikTok is filled with people making this drink and raving about its magical powers when it comes to sleep. If you're unfamiliar with what it is, it's a drink meant to be consumed about an hour before bed that consists of tart cherry, magnesium powder, and a seltzer (or any other liquid of choice).

Collage of four images: three people holding drinks, and a text-based recipe for a "Sleepy Girl" cocktail

Regarding which magnesium to choose when making this drink, "It’s best to use magnesium glycinate because it is the form that is most beneficial for sleep and has the least GI side effects," explained Dr. Holliday-Bell.

"I think this drink can also be helpful because it adds to a bedtime routine, and just making and drinking the mocktail before bed can help your brain connect the drink with sleep, making it easier to fall asleep," she said.

I admittedly didn't have the exact ingredients handy; however, I did have some of the sleep powder from The Absorption Company, which luckily includes the same ingredients as the sleepy girl mocktail, plus a little bit extra.

Hand holding a box of Sleep chamomile lemonade-flavored dietary supplement with ingredient chart
Fabiana Buontempo
Hand holding a box of "Deep Sleep Assistant" with a list of ingredients and their supposed benefits for improved sleep

Side note: Regarding the magnesium used in this sleep powder, 'liposomal' solely helps the body absorb the magnesium better.

Fabiana Buontempo

I drank my sleepy drink as directed 45 minutes before bed the first night of trying this remedy, hoping it would make me a sleepy girl. I regularly try to get into bed by 10:30 p.m. (the key word here is "try"), so I mixed it with cold water around 9:45 p.m.

After 45 minutes, I felt no different, but I wasn't expecting to since this cocktail isn't a sleep aid or a melatonin pill that might make you drowsy after some time. I hopped into bed and tried my hardest to part ways with my nightly Friends episode (or two) ritual. I was tired from a long day, so I hoped this drink would do the trick!

I purposely drank this nighttime drink for a few consecutive nights to see if it made a difference in my sleep quality. I did notice that I woke up less groggy and more alert the mornings after consuming it (including this morning). Even my sleep score showed that I spent much time in REM and had a deep sleep despite my restlessness, which still needed some work.

Sleep tracking app interface showing statistics on sleep quality, efficiency, and stages, with a graph overview
Fabiana Buontempo

"It's no magic bullet for sleep, and not everyone will find it helpful, but many will. If it works for you, I see no problem adding it to your bedtime routine," said Dr. Holliday-Bell.

Aside from it helping me have a good night's sleep, I love having a little routine before bed that doesn't have to do with skincare, so sipping on this while relaxing is IMO the perfect way to end a long day. I'm sure there will be nights where I don't have access to making this drink (maybe when I'm traveling), which I'll have to accept, but while I am home, I'll definitely be incorporating the sleepy girl mocktail into my nighttime routine.

TREND TWO: I tried sleeping with a sound machine and switching up the alarm clock sound I woke up to.

A collection of four images displaying various Hatch Sleep Clocks in different settings

If you're unfamiliar with it, the Hatch is coined as a "gentle sunrise alarm" that not only has a library of different sounds you can sleep and wake up to but also has different light settings you can choose from.

Table with lamp, alarm clock reading 9:16, and a book titled "Maybe Someday". Decor includes earrings and stones
Fabiana Buontempo

I've tried sleeping with white noise apps on my phone before (I wrote more about it here), and they helped since I'm a light sleeper and can easily wake up from a pin dropping. However, I hated how the white noise app drained my phone's battery, so I was excited to try the Hatch when I received it as a PR mailer.

Side note: The Hatch was gifted to me to try, but I was not obligated to give a positive review; all these thoughts and opinions are my own.

Before using the Hatch, you have to download the app, and then you can choose your sleep settings for a customized experience. I chose to sleep with the 'Stormy Sea' sound which legit sounded like I was sleeping on an island next to the ocean.

Sleep app interface with 'Stormy Sea' sound option selected for a relaxing evening routine
Fabiana Buontempo

"White noise machines can help promote better sleep by creating a consistent background noise that may help individuals relax and fall asleep more easily," Dr. Jessica Andrade, a board-certified physician with expertise in exercise science and sleep health, told BuzzFeed.

"White noise works by reducing the difference between background sounds and sudden noises, making it less likely for external disturbances to disrupt sleep. Additionally, white noise can help drown out internal thoughts or distractions that may prevent individuals from getting the most restful sleep possible," she added.

Next, I chose (from the many options) to wake up to a Malibu sunrise with the ocean shore sound — clearly, I love sleeping near a beach!

Phone screen displaying "Edit Sunrise Alarm" with toggle options for "Malibu Sunrise" and "Morning Stroll" under LIGHT and "Ocean Shores", "Alarm Sounds", and "Meditative Flute" under SOUND
Fabiana Buontempo

The first morning my Hatch went off, I couldn't believe how pleasant it was to wake up. Usually, my alarm makes me want to throw my phone out the window and roll over, BUT the ocean shore sound paired with the gradual sunrise was really nice. I see why TikTok is obsessed with this alarm clock. It was pleasant to wake up to a gradual sunrise, but more importantly, I noticed that I slept better with Hatch's sleep sounds. I live in an apartment building, and my apartment is right off the elevator, so it's normal for me to wake up easily if I hear people moving around outside my apartment, especially since I'm a girl living alone. The sounds blocked out any outside noise, causing me to sleep better.

Sunrise alarm clock displaying 9:36 in a dimly lit room
Sunrise alarm clock displaying 9:36 in a dimly lit room
Digital clock displaying time on wooden surface with dim lighting
Digital clock displaying time on wooden surface with dim lighting

Fabiana Buontempo

I also loved the variety of sounds on the Hatch app so it felt really personalized to my liking. I loved waking up to the pleasant ocean sounds of the gradual sunrise, although I don't think it affected the quality of my sleep.

According to my Oura Ring, I slept better using the Hatch's sleep noises, and I've been consistently sleeping with it since receiving it. However, it is quite pricey ($199 for the Restore 2), and if you want more of an extensive selection of sounds on the app, you have to pay for the membership ($5 a month or $50 for the year.). Although sleeping with the Hatch did improve my sleep quality, depending on your budget, this gadget might not be for everyone.

Sleep tracking app screen showing sleep score of 86, with 7h 55m total sleep, 88% efficiency and other sleep metrics
Fabiana Buontempo

TREND THREE: The next sleep trend on my list is sleeping with mouth tape.

Four thumbnails of different people demonstrating mouth taping, a wellness trend
Fabiana Buontempo

I was most nervous about trying this trend because the thought of taping my mouth shut was enough to make me claustrophobic. However, there are claims online that sleeping with tape over your mouth and breathing only through your nose has many benefits. These supposed benefits include strengthening your jawline, better breath, good for your brain health, reduced snoring, etc.

You can't just pick any tape to sleep with. I learned from my research that you want to find a skin-friendly adhesive, meaning it doesn't irritate your skin, one that is breathable so technically you can still circulate air in and out of your mouth, and one that is flexible. I opted for The Skinny Confidential's mouth tape because it checked off all these boxes and, let's face it, was cute and pink. I'm a sucker for aesthetically pleasing things!

A TSC branded case with a matching lip-shaped face tape below it, both with "The Skinny Confidential" text
Fabiana Buontempo

The first night I took one of the mouth tapes out of its cute lil' box, I reassured myself that I wouldn't suffocate in the middle of the night, and thankfully, the tape had a little slit to allow for airflow. I used a mirror to put the tape over my mouth and got into bed.

Person in bed with eyes closed, peace sign, wearing lip mask and graphic t-shirt
Fabiana Buontempo

The next morning, I did not feel well-rested because, tbh, I was very aware of the tape the entire night so that led me to being restless and not getting a great night's sleep — the opposite of what I wanted.

Sleep tracking app screen showing Sleep Score as 'Good' at 77, with detailed sleep stage breakdown and timing
Fabiana Buontempo

I tried the tape a few more times to get accustomed to sleeping with it, and after a few nights of trying it, I finally got the hype. As I drifted off into sleep, I eventually let my mind forget that I was sleeping with tape on my mouth, and let me tell you, it was a game-changer.

Sleep tracking app screenshot showing a sleep score of 86 with detailed sleep stage contributions
Fabiana Buontempo

After speaking with experts, TikTok might be on to something with this trend. "Breathing through your nose allows you to filter air that you breathe in while sleeping and also warms and humidifies the air, which can reduce irritation as it travels through your airways and into your lungs," said Dr. Holliday-Bell.

"Breathing through your nose also aids in the elasticity of the lungs and leads to more oxygen absorption in your blood. All of these things help to improve your sleep quality. The thought is that mouth taping can lead to nose breathing in hopes of obtaining the above benefits," she added.

Before trying this trend, it's important to know that it's not for everyone. "Certain groups should avoid mouth taping or seek guidance from a professional before attempting it. Individuals with nasal congestion, allergies, or respiratory conditions such as asthma should exercise caution, as mouth taping may exacerbate these issues or interfere with breathing during sleep," said Dr. Andrade.

As nervous as I was to try sleeping with mouth tape, it was not as scary as I thought once I overcame the psychological part of it. It also wasn't uncomfortable and easy to get off in the morning. It was a random thought, but I also wondered if it would take off my nighttime lip balm, and to my surprise, it didn't! I plan to continue using mouth tape due to its many health benefits, and it helps me get a restful night's sleep! I don't mind repurchasing the tape when I run out because I feel like it's an investment in my health, although I know this isn't everyone's sentiment.

Woman lying in bed with a lip-shaped beauty mask on her lips
Fabiana Buontempo

TREND FOUR: The last trend I tried was falling asleep with a red light.

Collage of four images showcasing benefits and uses of red light therapy for sleep
Fabiana Buontempo

I was excited to wind down for the night with this tiny little red light. People on social media claim that getting ready for bed with all your bedroom lights off and just a red light on helps improve sleep and lowers the stress hormone — cortisol. I used the Helight Red Light Sleep Aid, but there are many other options (and some less expensive).

Smart speaker on a nightstand illuminated by red light
Fabiana Buontempo

Immediately upon turning on the red light, I loved the overall vibe it created for my apartment (I live in a studio, so I can't say bedroom). To reap the benefits of the red light before sleep, you're supposed to turn it on for about 15 minutes before going to sleep to help you wind down for the night, and then this specific light I used fades out after 14 minutes and automatically shuts off after 28 minutes.

Smart speaker on a bedside table illuminated by red light, creating a cozy atmosphere
Fabiana Buontempo

This was an easy trend to test, and I can report that it worked on night one. Although my Oura Ring data showed I was pretty restless, I spent a lot of time in REM and deep sleep, which is a big win! Like many, I usually watch some TV or scroll on my phone before bed, which obviously doesn't help my sleep, but having this red light on kind of forced me not to look at electronics before bed because that would defeat the purpose of the red light, you know?

Sleep tracking app screenshot showing Sleep Score of 89 and various sleep metrics like duration, restfulness, REM sleep, latency
Fabiana Buontempo

Experts agree that red light is great for sleep. "Red light can be beneficial for sleep. Red light technology is excellent for sleep because the red wavelength of light actually has a beneficial effect on promoting melatonin release as it most closely mimics the red light frequency of the sunset. So, finding ways to incorporate red light into your nighttime routine can be a great way to help you naturally fall asleep faster and improve your sleep quality," Dr. Holliday-Bell told BuzzFeed.

It's important to note that no one should feel the need to invest in all these products to get a quality night's sleep. Everyone's goals and budgets are different. My goal was to try a few popular sleep trends being talked about on social media and speak to experts about them to find out if any are worth incorporating into a nighttime routine or not. You know yourself best; what works for one person might not work for another.