There are few things that affect our day more than the quality of our sleep. A good night’s sleep supports brain function, physical wellness, and safety. However, not everyone finds it easy to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. Luckily, you can use these six tips to personalize your sleep regimen so that you can finally catch some Zs.
If you wake up with neck or back aches on a regular basis, look at your mattress. You should replace your mattress every 7-10 years. Although mattresses are a major expense, there is little else in your household that you could use every day for eight hours straight and not expect to need to replace.
Just like with a good pair of running shoes, quality matters in your mattress. Everyone has different mattress size or firmness comfort levels, but don’t be afraid to try a new type of mattress if what you currently use doesn’t work well for you.
Between The Sheets
With so many types of sheets available, it’s difficult to determine what thread count or fabric will work best for you. Microfiber and jersey sheets are popular because they’re generally cheaper than cotton, but they tend to not be as breathable as cotton sheets are. Furthermore, their texture often feels “wrong” to someone who grew up sleeping on cotton sheets. So it’s best to stick to cotton sheets with a fairly high thread count to maximize comfort. When you look at thread count, remember that higher numbers mean softer sheets, but a reasonably-priced soft sheet will fall between 200-400.
European comforters with washable duvets and no top sheets have made their way into many American hotels and homes. For many who hate the tangle of too many layers, this comforter type is a perfect solution. For others, the missing top sheet can be a problem. If you feel hot when you sleep but still enjoy being under the covers, keep a top sheet on your bed.
Everything has gone technological these days, including sleep aids. As a kid, you might have had a white noise machine, but now you can tell your Amazon Echo to play soothing music or even utilize a sleep app on your phone. Many people who have trouble falling asleep have good luck with meditation apps that lead you through a series of relaxation techniques and breathing exercises. Some apps also have long “stories” that can lull you to sleep. Other apps focus on helping you track your sleep, so you know exactly what triggers you awake.
Lavender works as a sleep aid, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the right scent for you. There are plenty of other scents to try either through a diffuser, a light room mist, or an oil. For centuries, people have used chamomile to alleviate stress and insomnia. Bergamot can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, which helps you relax before bedtime. And jasmine is chemically similar to some compounds in insomnia medication. In other words, if traditional lavender doesn’t seem to help you sleep, branch out until you find a scent that does.
Exposing yourself to sunlight during the day may help you sleep better at night. Try to enjoy at least two hours of bright, natural sunlight. If that’s not possible, invest in a full-spectrum bulb that mimics sunlight. This type of bulb helps keep your circadian rhythm on track. Two hours before bedtime, stop looking at your phone and computer, or at the very least, download an app that blocks the blue light on your devices.
Test sleeping at different temperatures to find the best one for you. It may be worth it to keep the house a little warmer during the day so that you can afford to cool down the house at night. The middle range temperature for the best sleep is 70, but your personal comfort zone may be warmer or cooler.
Sleep is extremely important to your overall health. Try these adjustments to your sleep routine to give yourself the best chance at a good night’s sleep.