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Stop counting sheep... Use these 5 tips for the best sleep ever
If you are struggling to fall asleep, stay asleep, or get a full night’s rest, you are not alone.
Have you ever felt tired even if you slept for a decent amount of time?
This is a classic case of quality over quantity.
The quality of your actual sleep is more important than the number of hours you sleep.
In this article, I will give you the science-backed tips proven to improve sleep And I'll share my own tips and pieces of advice that I use to help me sleep!
1. Remove light sources
Our bodies use a sense of light to regulate our sleep-wake cycle and sleep patterns.
Getting light exposure during the day is beneficial to our body and health.
But, light exposure during the night does not have a positive effect on your circadian rhythm (2).
Blue light has the worst effect on your circadian rhythm. In fact, many of our modern-day electronics emit blue light from LEDs.
Blue light comes from most electronic devices such as your laptop and smartphone. Even a small amount of blue light in the bedroom can disrupt sleep (3).
Remove as much light as possible from your bedroom.
This includes unsuspecting light sources from alarm clocks, electronic led indicators, and smartphones.
Blackout curtains will keep out outside light.
The easiest change is to sleep with an eye mask. There is a trick to finding a quality, comfortable eye mask.
Tip: A flat eye mask will likely leave gaps for light to shine through.
- Choose an eye mask that has a curve for your nose and curved away from your eyes, so your eyelashes have extra room.
- Another important feature to look for is an adjustable strap.
I had a sleep mask once that was elastic and NOT adjusable - it was horrible! It was so tight that it triggered a headahe!
Avoid the headache - get a eye mask with an adjustable strap.
You can get a high-quality sleep mask like this on Amazon for under $15.
2. Reduce noise
Sleeping in silence would be the best-case scenario. With all the noise from family, traffic, roommates, neighbors, this isn’t always an option.
Many research studies have found a link between external noise, poor sleep, and long-term health issues (4).
Are you sensitive to noise?
Some people are more sensitive to noise than others. If you are a light sleeper, earplugs can help to keep noise from disturbing your sleep.
One solution that has become popular is white noise machines.
White noise machines are a great way to block out noise from external sources. Using it to mask annoying or distracting sounds.
My Tip: During the summers I like to use a fan for white noise and to keep me cool.
It works very well to drown out background noise that would typically wake me up... Like my dog deciding 3am is a perfect time to eat dinner!
There are also white noise apps that can give you the same benefit. If you are sleeping with a partner that does not find white noise helpful, then you can wear headphones.
Here is an example of comfortable headphones within a soft headband that are perfect for sleeping. Since they do not go in your ear they wont hurt!
3. Improve Air quality
Did you know that poor air quality can impact your sleep? And it can increase the risk of sleep disorders, including sleep apnea?
Indoor air pollution can affect the quality of your sleep.
There are a lot of things we can do to improve the quality of air.
Plants: Plants are a natural and effective way to clean indoor air. Another benefit of seeing plants less stress improved mental outlook.
Air filters: Salt Lamps, Bamboo Charcoal bags, and beeswax cancels are all inexpensive ways to clean indoor air.
Air purifiers: Inexpensive air purifiers can remove dander, allergens, mold, smoke, and other
My Tip: Sleep apnea is one of those things you don't think about or hear much about. It's a serious issue that many people suffer from and might even go their whole life without knowing it's the reason they can't sleep well.
I've reviewed a couple of sleep devices that can help you find out if you are suffering from sleep apnea. My personal favorite that I use nightly is the Go2Sleep ring!
4. Find the perfect sleeping temperature
Temperature is a detail that is usually missed when creating a perfect sleep environment. In fact, some studies have found that temperature can affect sleep quality more than external noise (6).
The temperature of our room has a significant impact on sleep. Sleeping in a place that is too warm can take longer to fall asleep and stay asleep.
In short, increased bedroom temperature and body temperate can hurt your sleep. It can decrease sleep quality and cause you to feel more awake (7).
Research has shown that the ideal sleeping temperature should be in a cold room between 60 and 70 digress (8). A place that is too cold or too hot can interfere with your sleep.
Sleeping with fewer clothes, blankets, and layers can help you stay cool.
My Tip: Another option for achieving the perfect temperature all night is a ChiliPad mattress pad. I have a Chilipad and it revolutionized my sleep!
If you are a hot sleeper like me, a cooling blanket would really help. One of the top things on my wishlist is a cooling weighted blanket! They can get a little pricey but sometimes they have "lighting deals" on Amazon that will give you a nice discount.
5. Get Comfortable - Mattress, Pillows, Bedding
Have you ever wondered why you sleep better in hotels? Bed quality and comfort can have a huge effect on sleep (9).
If you aren’t sleeping well or find yourself tossing and turning through the night that your mattress might be the issue.
A quality mattress can make all the difference.
When people switch from a cheap mattress to a quality mattress, they reported falling asleep faster. They also reported waking up less during the night to readjust sleeping positions.
One study tracked the benefits of a new mattress for 28 days. The participants reported an improved sleep quality by 60%! And also said they had reduced back pain, neck, and shoulder pain (11).
New bedding can also improve your sleep experience. Poor quality bedding has been shown to lead to increased lower back pain (12).
The right mattress, pillow, and bedding will vary very from person to person based on your body and personal preferences (13).
I know what you're thinking ... you probably are not excited about shelling out $500+ dollars for a new mattress. But thanks to Novilla, you don't have to! Novilla has affordable and budget friendly mattresses and mattress toppers. Both have received awesome reviews!
You should get new bedding at least every 5 to 8 years.
If you are still sleeping on the old mattress that you’ve had for several years, getting a new bed could be a quick fix to your sleeping problems.
Buying a new mattress is easy, and you can even buy a mattress online and have it delivered straight to your door.
There are also mattress companies that will let you try out a new mattress, and if you are not satisfied, they will take it back and give you a refund.
Your bed covers and sheets should be comfortable and leave you enough room to stretch and turn without becoming tangled. If you are waking up with a stiff or sore neck, then you might need a more supportive pillow.
Bonus Tip: Create a Relaxing Atmosphere
Make your bedroom a room for rest. Creating an atmosphere that is relaxing and calming will help you wind down and prepare for sleep.
This can include simple things like keeping the room clean and clutter-free.
Certain scents in a room can also help promote sleep. Aromatherapy uses scents like lavender and vanilla to encourage rest and relaxation.
Tip: Lavender lotion, candles, and even lavender essential oils in a diffuser are all great ways to use the benefit of scent to promote sleep!
Which of these habits will relax you the most?
Having a pre-sleep routine that helps you prepare your body for rest (15).
Relaxation practices can help get your mind and body ready to rest (16). Examples include:
- listening to relaxing music
- reading a book
- relaxing yoga or stretches
- deep breathing
- listening to guided visualizations
My Tip: I regularly practice relaxing yoga-like Yin yoga and meditate daily. My favorite meditation app is Insight Timer and you can use it for FREE! Also, feel free to add me as a friend!
Another tool I use that has helped my a lot is the Kasana Meditation System. If you are a beginner or have a very hard time meditating the Kasana Meditation System is super helpful.
For me, it helps to quite my thought, clear my mind, and totally relax my body!
1. Get your bedroom as dark as possible. .... How? Easy:
- Cover all light sources and remove light-emitting electronics. This includes alarm clocks, LED power indicators on TV’s, etc.
- You can turn your phone face down and your alarm clock away from you.
- Use blackout curtains to reduce artifice lights from the outdoors.
- Avoid screens (TV, Computer, Smartphones, etc.) at least 30 minutes before bed.
- Sleep with a sleep eye mask
2. Reduce noise as much as possible:
- Turn off phone notification sounds and vibrations
- Sleep with earplugs to reduce noise
- White noise machine or app (or fan)
- Add items like plants, rugs, artwork, furniture to reduce echo and absorb sound
- Use a fabric padded headboard to help absorb sound.
- Sleep with headphones
3. Improve the quality of the air:
- Add plants to your bedroom
- Add air filters like salt lamps, bamboo charcoal bags, and beeswax candles
- Get an air purifier to remove dander, allergens and improve overall air quality
4. Adjust your sleeping temperature:
- Sleep with less clothing and covers
- lower thermostat to get the temperature between 60 to 70 degrees
- Sleep with a cooling blanket
- Use a Chilipad mattress pad to get the perfect temperature all night
5. Upgrade bedding
- Get a quality mattress and update your bedding every 5 to 8 years
- Use high-quality sheets with a good thread count and soft material
- Get a better pillow
6. Create a calming atmosphere and practice relaxing habits
- Keep your bedroom clean and free of clutter
- Use aromatherapy for relaxing scents
- Develop a pre-sleep routine like listening to relaxing music, reading a book, meditating, deep breathing, listening to guided visualizations
Are you interested in improving your sleep and your health? Then you should make sleep a top priority!
I hope that some of these tips will be helpful to you as they were to me. Sometimes it takes trial and error to find what changes will make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
What do you do to create a better sleep environment?
Share your tips in the comments below!