Have you ever had one of those nights where it feels like you’re tossing for hours before you finally fall asleep? Wouldn’t it be great to have tools at your disposal to help you fall asleep faster? We thought so, too!
Maintaining good sleep hygiene habits can help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep, and get better sleep! Better sleep has been proven to improve your mental health (improved concentration, elevated mood) and physical health (more energy, less need for caffeine).
First, let’s go over what habits to kick to the curb right now because they’re not helping you get the quality sleep you need!
- Don’t take naps too close to bedtime. Ideally, you should be napping about 8 hours before you go to bed! So if you go to bed at 10 p.m., you should nap before 2 p.m.!
- Keep a consistent bedtime. Switching up when you go to bed can mess with your body’s natural rhythms, and it won’t know when it’s supposed to prepare for sleep.
- Avoid blue light from your devices too closer to bedtime.
- Don’t eat big heavy meals closer to bed. Your body will be working hard to digest the food, which can prevent you from falling asleep!
- Exercise can be helpful to fall asleep, but exercising TOO close to bed will actually raise your body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure – which will make your body think it’s time to be awake and stay awake.
So, now that we know what not to do, what sleep habits should you work into your bedtime routine?
- Take a relaxing bath. Whether you like bubbles or not, taking a bath with essential oils can help you relax before heading to bed! Add a little lavender or chamomile to your water and just soak.
- Add essential oils to your bedtime routine. Several essential oils have been proven to help you relax and get better sleep! Misting a little lavender on your linens can help you induce relaxation and increase your overall sense of calm. Chamomile tea can help with stress and tension relief. Cedarwood, perfect for these cooler months, can reduce adrenaline and help you stay calm.
- Drink some warm milk, lemon tea, or cherry juice. These beverages help to stimulate tryptophan (which helps you feel relaxed and transition to sleep), to stay calm, and to produce melatonin (which stimulates a healthy sleep cycle)!
- Wear an eye mask and earplugs. Block out all that natural light and noise in your home to avoid waking up prematurely.
- Keep your bedroom at a lower temperature (about 60 – 67 degrees Fahrenheit). Cooler temperatures help to lower your body temperature (which makes it easier to experience deep sleep), stimulate melatonin production, and keep you asleep, so you cycle through the critical sleep stages naturally!
- Use a white noise machine (or tablet app). Not only can it block out environmental noises to help you fall asleep and stay asleep, but it can also help train your brain to know when it’s time for sleep!
- Turn off all your devices at least 60 minutes before bed. The blue light from your phone or tablet can tire out your eyes but keep your brain awake! It impacts your brain’s melatonin production, so your body doesn’t realize it’s time for sleep. So turn them off to prepare for bed!
- Do a short yoga sequence. Certain yoga poses can help you to relax and reduce anxiety before bed! You can easily find these guides online to walk you through the appropriate poses.
- Do a ten-minute meditation. Mindfulness meditation allows you to focus on breathing and clear your mind; these practices can reduce stress and anxiety. You can easily find apps to guide you through a meditation routine.
Did you know that the type of mattress you should be sleeping on varies depending on your sleep position?
Ensuring that you’ve chosen the correct mattress is essential to your sleep quality!
- If you’re a back sleeper, you should look for a mattress that supports your hips and shoulders! You’ll want to consider a medium-firm to firm mattress, and we would recommend sticking with memory foam, innerspring, or hybrid material.
- Stomach sleepers will likely have the hardest time finding the right mattress! It’s a delicate balance to keep the spine aligned at night when you’re non your stomach. You’ll want to consider a firm hybrid or a foam mattress, and we’d recommend trying a memory foam, innerspring, or hybrid material.
- When you’re a side sleeper, your mattress must be soft enough to contour your body but firm enough to support the spine! We recommend a memory foam or hybrid material in medium-firm support. You need to find a mattress that will provide pressure point relief along your back no matter what side you sleep on!