Can you believe most of us spend 25 to 33% of our lives sleeping? Clearly, the body was designed in such a way that sleep is essential if we want to function optimally while we’re awake. Many special things happen while we’re sleeping. These processes allow the body and brain to recover from the day — like muscle and tissue repair, memory consolidation and hormone homeostasis. Deep sleep helps us work smarter and feel happier during the day, perform better during exercise and pay better attention. Since you’ll spend a third of your life sleeping, you ought to do it right. Improve your sleep quality and positively change your experience of life while you’re awake. Upgrade your sleep quality with these tips.
7 Easy Ways to Sleep Better
1. Don't Light Up the Bedroom
This is at the top of the list for a reason. Refrain from all active electronics in the bedroom before bed, including the TV, tablets and phones. Those bright lights piercing into your eyes right before bed mess with your brain waves, significantly reducing high-quality sleep. There’s tremendous scientific data showing that even light from small electronics (like your phone) are enough to miscue the brain and promote wakefulness. Even quick texting and e-mailing when the lights are out is shown to increase sleepiness during the day. Take action: an hour before bed, set your alarm for the morning. This allows you to go to bed without the shining light shocking your eyes before you close them. Set your phone on a dresser where you can't reach it from bed. Keep it on silent. Turn it upside-down. Don't get up in the middle of the night and check your phone.
2. Soothe Yourself Before Shut-Eye
Because you'll be shutting down screen time right before bed, you'll need something else to do. Get your body and mind prepared to rest. Do something soothing that feels gentle and relaxing and you’ll minimize the time it takes to fall asleep after your head hits the pillow. Take action: curl up on the couch without the television on. Close your laptop and leave the phone in the other room. Grab your softest blanket and a cup of chamomile tea and think about the lovely things you are grateful for. Take a warm bath with salts, essential oils and a candle or take a warm shower. You can give yourself a mini hand or foot massage as late-night self-care. Do some light stretching. Put on some calming music like beach waves. Read something inspirational.
3. Cool it
Most people sleep better when the temperature of the room is cooler. Tossing and turning can be a sign that you’re too warm and that interrupts good sleep. Take action: crack the window a little bit. Turn on a fan. Turn the thermostat down two to five degrees from its normal temperature in the home.
4. Strategize Your Last Meal
Heavy meals and overeating in general require a lot of digestion energy and interfere with high-quality sleep. Try this: eat your final meal of the day about three to five hours before sleep. A small snack one to two hours before bed is okay. Oatmeal, cherries, bananas and oranges all contain melatonin-boosting properties so these are good choices before bed as a snack.
This is unique advice that works. It’s really effective and underrated: clean your room! Just like it’s harder to work if your desk is overflowing with clutter, a chronically messy bedroom can be what’s underlying restless sleep. Make it a priority to de-clutter and clean your bedroom. Keep it tidy on a daily basis. Make sure items are intentionally placed and serve a purpose. Junk --> out. Take action: remove everything from under your bed. Store necessary items like blankets and extra pillows. Clean out your drawers and closet — all clothes, underwear, socks, etc. — if you don't love it, get rid of it. If it's torn/ripped/stained/unloved, get it out right now. Ask yourself, "Do I even like this?" Vacuum and dust your furniture regularly. Minimize what's on your dresser. Put all your clothes away and don’t throw things or store them on the floor.
6. Invest in Your Bed
Put in the time, energy and money to find a mattress that you love. People often see a dramatic increase in their sleep quality when they get a mattress that suits their body. Same thing for pillows. Ideally, with the right mattress and pillows, you will wake up in the same position you fell asleep in, even after years of purchasing the best mattress. Take action: if you don't already have a mattress, pillows, blankets, headboard and/or bed that feel good to you, make an investment in your health. Your bedroom should create a feeling of relaxation for you, in all ways.
7. Embrace Your Bedtime Routine
Our bodies like predictability when it comes to resting. It helps to go to bed and wake up around the same time each day. It also helps if you do some of the same pre-bedtime activities to prepare yourself for great sleep. Take action: think about or write down what your routine looks like. What time, approximately, does it benefit you to hit the hay? What time does it feel good to wake up at? What can you do before bed to prepare yourself for sleep (warm bath or shower, yoga, gratitude journaling, reading, etc.)?