Sleep. It’s one of our body’s most precious resources, but it’s something few of us actually get enough of. Whether you struggle to fall or stay asleep, or just want a longer and better night’s rest, these tips are for you.
- Turn the lights off in your bedroom and make sure the temperature inside the room is less than 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
According to The National Sleep Foundation, temperatures between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit increase the quality of REM sleep (the deepest, most restful sleep one can get). Total darkness is also encouraged for the same reasons. Think of your bedroom as a cave: for the best results, keep it cool, dark and quiet.
- Avoid looking at any of your electronics while you are in your bed.
Our screens emit something called blue light, a type of light that the brain interprets as daylight. The blue light actually suppresses melatonin, a hormone designed to help you fall, and stay, asleep, so when you’re on your phone at midnight, your body may believe it’s noon, making it even more difficult to fall asleep.
It’s not easy to unplug, but if you can, try to put your phone, tablet and laptop away at least 30-60 minutes before you want to sleep. Invest in an alarm clock that isn’t on your phone so you’re not tempted to scroll, tweet or text before bed. And, while reading before bed is a great way to lull yourself into a doze, try to do so with a paper-and-ink book, not an e-reader.
- Avoid consuming caffeinated beverages in the afternoon and evening hours.
Most experts agree that caffeine after 2 p.m. is bad news for your sleep quality. Caffeine has also been linked to increased anxiety and irritability, so watch your moods throughout the day. If you notice yourself snapping at coworkers or jittering out of your seat on the way home, it may be time to cut back.
- Make your bedtime your me-time.
It’s hard enough to shut your brain off after a long day; don’t allow your work to contribute to that stress. Your bedroom should be your oasis, the place you can go to unwind. Leave work at the office (or at least at the dining room table). Take some time before preparing for bed to acknowledge everything you did today. Make a list of things that went well, and write down what you look forward to doing tomorrow.
If you’re having trouble relaxing, run yourself a bath and have a cup of chamomile tea to relieve stress. Stretching and meditating right before trying to sleep has also been proven to increase melatonin levels and contribute to a restful night’s sleep.
- Comfort is key.
If you’re still struggling to fall asleep, you may want to take a look at your mattress. A new mattress, like this Macy’s mattress, may improve your sleep quality.
In short, anything that disturbs your slumber has got to go. If you have a pet that loves to snuggle in bed, but wriggles around a lot (or snores), make sure they have their own bed so you both can enjoy distraction-free sleep. Wear something comfortable, whether it’s a soft pair of flannel pants, a loose T-shirt or even a nightgown.
Sleep is one of our best tools to refuel and recharge for conquering the day. By following these tips, you will have set yourself up for sleep success and laid a great foundation for the rest of your life.