Your quality of sleep impacts your productivity, concentration, energy, weight, health, and mood. From the obvious (trouble focusing at work) to the invisible (sleep plays a role in the repair of blood vessels) getting enough quality sleep is more important than many people realize.
The ideal amount of sleep varies depending on the individual, but most adults function best on seven to nine hours per night, preferably on a similar schedule each night. Your quality of sleep is impacted by everything from screen time to your exercise schedule to the products you use for bedding and sleepwear. Ready to sleep better? Here are our 10 tips for getting good rest each and every night.
1. Turn Your Phone Off
Keep your phone out of the room or shut it off entirely at night. Not only can the screen light disrupt your restful mindset, checking social media or scanning the news can turn into a black hole of scrolling that will last hours past when you wanted to go to sleep. Use your phone for an alarm? Try an alarm clock. Like to jot down notes in the middle of the night? Keep a pen and paper next to the bed.
2. (Can’t Do Without the Phone?) Designate Screen-Free Time and At Least Turn Off the Blue Light
Smartphone screens emanate blue wavelengths, which heighten attention but can negatively affect your ability to fall asleep. If you must keep your phone in the bedroom at night, turn on the “night shift” setting to eliminate blue light once the sun goes down. Spend an hour screen-free before bed to read or journal before instead of staring at the screen.
3. Do a 5-Minute Meditation
Everyone has experienced those nights where your mind won’t quiet down. Taking five minutes for a meditation—guided or otherwise—before bed can do wonders for your relaxation. Focus on your breathing and let your thoughts come and go. A quick internet search (ideally, earlier in the day) will bring up countless guided meditations for any length of time and relaxation goal.
4. Develop a Nightly Ritual
Your nightly ritual might be something useful for the next day, such as setting out clothes or prepping your breakfast for the morning. It might be mindful, such as writing out a list of goals for the next day or listening to a few minutes of a favorite podcast. Whatever your choice of calming activity, make it a regular habit to get your mind ready for sleep.
5. Be Smart About Food Choices
Snacks before bed aren’t necessarily bad, but eating heavy foods late at night can adversely affect your sleep. Look for foods with tryptophan, including turkey and dairy, and yes, carbs. Carbs help boost tryptophan in the blood, which can help you sleep. Alternately, spicy or acidic foods can trigger acid reflux, so do your best to avoid those for dinner and nighttime snacks.
6. Exercise Can Help You Sleep, But Avoid Vigorous Workouts Before Bed
It depends on the individual, but most people should aim to finish a high-output exercise 3-4 hours before bedtime. Vigorous exercise elevates your heart rate and can flood your body with adrenaline, neither of which help promote ease of falling asleep. A relaxed walk around the neighborhood won’t hurt though, and in general, exercise during the day will help you sleep better at night.
7. Choose Comfortable Bedding
Choosing the right bed products is crucial for getting the best night’s sleep possible. Sleep Number’s True Temp Sheets and Pottery Barn’s Sleepsmart bedding use 37.5 Technology, which captures and releases moisture vapor throughout the night. This helps keep you in the most comfortable “zone” for sleeping. Similar to microclimate-regulating sheets, the Art Van Mattress Protector helps maintain that optimal space. The Buffy Comforter features a plant-based shell, and the same 37.5 thermoregulating technology (bonus: each unit incorporates at least 50 recycled plastic bottles). Lastly, your mattress should be a well-thought-out purchase. The Activcor Mattress keeps you cool and dry by helping your body temperature stay at the ideal level for a solid night’s sleep.
8. Avoid Looking at the Clock
Keep your clock facing away from your bed, and if you wake up at night, try to avoid checking the time. Checking the clock every time you wake up will set your mind into the pattern of calculating how much time you have left to sleep, which adds to the stress about not getting enough sleep. The longer you stay awake, the more your mind will worry about the decrease in hours you have left to sleep.
9. Set a Regular Wake-Up Time
Our circadian rhythms don’t just rely on sunlight—consistency is a crucial factor. Your chosen wake-up time should accommodate for weekdays and weekends without having to fluctuate too much. Sleeping in on the weekends will make it harder to fall asleep the next night, throwing off your schedule and making it more challenging to get regular amounts of sleep
10. Cut Out Afternoon Caffeine
The afternoon slump is real, but nixing that 2 p.m. cup of coffee means your last cup was likely 10-12 hours before going to sleep, and the caffeine has had that much more time to leave your system. Weaning off the afternoon latte doesn’t have to be done cold turkey—try switching to tea at first for a more mellow pick-me-up before cutting it out entirely.
Getting a good night’s sleep isn’t always easy—those nightly temptations will always be there—but if you can work to improve your nighttime routine, you’ll enjoy much more pleasant and productive days.
Written by RootsRated Media for 37.5.
Featured image provided by Nicole Honeywill