Falling asleep may seem next to impossible when you’re lying awake in bed after hours of counting sheep. Though it may seem like your body is working against you despite all of your best efforts, it is possible to get better sleep (even on a plane) with the right pre-bedtime steps. And believe it or not, you have more control over the quality of your sleep than you think. The right habits can help you develop healthy sleep patterns, which can ultimately make a world of difference between restlessness and peaceful slumber.
Put your nights of tossing and turning behind you with our comprehensive step-by-step guide aimed to help you achieve the best night’s rest, starting tonight!
Step 1: Upgrade Your Mattress
Have you ever wondered why you’re able to sleep so well while staying in a hotel? Apart from the relaxation factor of living in the lap of luxury, you can thank the mattress quality for your guaranteed good night’s sleep. Whether it’s a memory foam mattress or a pillow-top variety, the quality of your mattress plays a large part in your comfort levels and your sleep quality.
Unbeknownst to most, bedding should be upgraded or replaced at least every 5-8 years, so if you’re having trouble catching Z’s on your current mattress, it may be time to level-up.
Step 2: Make a Sleep-Only Zone
Your bedroom is where you sleep—keeping it as a space where only snoozing is allowed will better prepare your mind and body for slumber whenever you enter the room. Eliminate the temptation to watch TV or eat in your room so you can keep your bedroom a sacred space of sleeping only.
Step 3: Unwind & Destress
Carve out a nightly routine of unwinding and destressing to relax your mind and prepare it for some sweet slumber. Try the following exercises:
- Reading a book
- Taking a warm shower/bath
- Listening to nature sounds
- Doing yoga
- Drinking a cup of nighttime tea
Activities like these will ease the transition between wakefulness and drowsiness, allowing you to doze off effortlessly.
Step 4: Set a Bedtime
Setting a bedtime for yourself may feel juvenile, but you’ll appreciate the amount and the quality of sleep you’re able to obtain when you start following a stricter sleep schedule. For most people, there’s a certain hour of the night where tiredness begins to settle in. Set a time in that scope and stick to it. The better you’re able to keep up with it, the faster your biological clock will be able to adapt.
Step 5: Reduce Blue Light Exposure in the Evening
Tempting as it may be to unwind in bed with your phone in hand, nighttime light exposure can actually make you feel more awake. Blue light is the light emitted from electronic devices like smartphones, TVs, laptops, and tablets—all of which tend to be items we keep close to us throughout the day. In order to get a good night’s rest, say good night to your tech before getting in bed, and let your eyes adjust and doze off to the darkness.
Step 6: Cut Off Caffeine
While this may seem like an obvious step, it’s an important one. If you’re like most people, you depend on a little bit of caffeine to get you through your day. However, did you know that consuming caffeine after 3pm – 4pm can greatly affect your ability to sleep? Caffeine can stay active in your bloodstream for 6-8 hours after consumption, meaning evening dosages can keep you up well through the night.
Step 7: Say Goodbye to Naptime
While short power naps are great for sourcing some much-needed energy when you need it most, long naps can have the opposite effect. Sleeping during the daytime confuses your internal clock, effectively throwing your sleep schedule out of whack. Keep your daytime naps at an hour or less to ensure you’re still able to catch Z’s after the sun goes down.
Step 8: Find the Perfect Temperature
The temperature in the bedroom can play a huge part in the quality of your sleep, especially when you’re tossing and turning because it’s too hot, or shivering and uncomfortable because it’s too cold. Studies have found that the sweet spot temperature for most people lies between 60 and 67 degrees. Check your thermostat to see if the temperature of your bedroom is the culprit behind your lack of sleep.
Now that you’re only 8 steps away from the best night’s sleep of your life, all that’s left to do is put each step into practice! Which step will you try first? Let us know in the comments below.