Every night, we jump into bed intending to get better sleep. But night after night, it feels like we fall victim to our own bad habits.
Maybe the second glass of wine is to blame, or maybe you just decided to stay awake until 2 a.m., riding the temporary highs of a Netflix binge. No matter what the culprit is, it’s undeniable that most of us are guilty of compromising on sleep. When there’s so much to get done during a day, getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep might even feel like an unnecessary luxury.
But sleep is essential for your physical and mental health. Not only can a good night’s rest make you feel more refreshed and alert during the day, but you also need more sleep to boost your immune system, reduce stress, and improve cognitive functioning.
Yet, despite being so beneficial and coveted, quality sleep can seem eternally elusive. But it doesn’t need to be. Everything from investing in the most comfortable mattress to practicing proper sleep hygiene habits can help you catch quality z’s. Here are five simple tips for getting better sleep that you can start doing now.
1. Customize Comfort
Getting a good night’s rest starts with your bed. The average person spends about a third of their day in bed, so it makes sense to optimize your bedroom for comfort.
To ensure you’re getting better sleep, start by investing in the most comfortable mattress. A memory foam mattress and a hybrid mattress are both great options. Both are designed to support your body and provide pressure-relieving rest.
Your bed frame is another important consideration, especially if you share a bed with your partner. Even if you don’t, an adjustable bed frame is the best way to customize your comfort according to your needs and preferences.
An adjustable base comes with multiple comfort levels so you can raise your head, legs, or both. In addition to providing options for personalized rest, an adjustable bed frame can also help improve blood circulation, ease back pain, and reduce the effects of heartburn or indigestion.
2. Watch Your Drinks
Caffeine and alcohol can both be detrimental to getting better sleep. While a cup of coffee in the morning is unlikely to do any harm, it’s best to ditch the 3 p.m. latte. Caffeine is a stimulant that can stay in your body for up to 10 hours, so consider switching to decaf if you want to enjoy a late afternoon cup of coffee.
On the other hand, alcohol may make you feel drowsy when you initially consume it, which is why many people use it as a sleep aid. But despite its sedative effects, alcohol can prevent you from getting better sleep, particularly during the second half of the night. Even if you fall asleep fast, you’ll find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, affecting your body’s ability to enter the deep sleep stage.
In case you do drink, try to have your last one at least two to three hours before you plan to sleep. It’s also a good idea to stay hydrated, so for every drink that you have, drink two glasses of water in between so your body can flush out the alcohol more efficiently.
3. Stick to a Sleep Schedule
Going to bed and waking up at the same time is essential for regulating your sleep-wake cycle, which can eventually help you get better sleep.
To get started, pick a bedtime that works for you and allows you to get at least 7 hours of sleep. Stick to your bedtime and wake-up time every day. If you feel the urge to sleep in during the weekend, give yourself an extra 20 minutes to an hour and try not to exceed that. Over time, you’ll notice that it becomes easier to fall asleep and wake up in the mornings.
4. Avoid Screens
Resisting the temptation to check your phone or emails before bed is essential for getting better sleep. Phones, computers, and tablets emit a blue glow that can suppress melatonin production, the body’s sleep hormone.
For optimal sleep, it’s best to avoid screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Not only can a no-screen policy allow you to lock in better sleep, but you can also spend quality time with your loved ones or pamper yourself.
Going to bed stressed is a surefire way to stay up all night. Instead, allocate some time for yourself beforehand so you can properly unwind.
Treat yourself to something that makes you feel good, whether that’s a warm bubble bath, a meditation session, or reading a book that distracts your mind from the day’s stresses. If you often find yourself lying awake because of anxious thoughts, try journaling to clear your mind.
Getting better sleep doesn’t have to be a faraway dream. The most efficient way to get started is by making small adjustments to your regular routine and adopting healthier habits.