Almost all of us could use a better night’s sleep. Chances are, you’re tired even as you read this. Yet improving your sleep can seem like a daunting, complicated, and even impossible task. Luckily, there are a few basic, easy to follow tips that can help to improve sleep.
1. Turn off the tech
You probably know by now that watching reruns Seinfeld on your laptop or ipad isn’t good for your sleep. But what you might not know is the reason staring at screens before bed is so detrimental to your sleep. The blue light emitted from screens wakes you up, and turning on night mode doesn’t solve the problem. Watching shows or reading articles stimulates the brain and makes it harder to fall asleep. Try reading a familiar book instead.
2. Watch your diet before bed
Resisting late night snacking is hard. I’ve fallen asleep many nights cuddling a bag of pretzels in a bed full of crumbs. Yet many foods before bedtime can leave you unable to fall and stay asleep. For example, cheese may cause nightmares, and acidic and spicy foods can potentially awaken you with a stomach ache. If you find yourself craving a little snack, many fruits and nuts are perfect alternatives that don’t cause poor sleep.
3. Exercise during the day
Exercise and sleep are both part of a healthy lifestyle, but exercise can interfere with a good night’s rest if it’s done too close to bedtime. Avoid exercise at least 3 hours before you plan on to sleep. This allows your body enough time to relax before falling asleep.
4. Improve your sleep environment
Calming colors like light blue actually have an affect on your sleep. Aside from interior design aspects, you want to ensure that your sleep environment is cool, clean, and quiet. The ideal temperature for sleep is around 60-68 degrees. You can use the Eight sleep app to automatically adjust the temperature in your room every night. Using ear plugs or a white noise machine can block out any outside noise so you can easily fall asleep. Sleep hygiene is also important when it comes to your sleep environment. You want your sheets and pillowcases to be clean to help you improve your sleep. Washing your sheets every couple of weeks is an easy way to help you sleep better.
5. Only use your bed for sleep and sex
At one point or another, we’ve all been guilty of eating, reading, or watching hours of television in our beds. While comfort is nice, a good night’s sleep is even better. If you do anything in your bed aside from sleeping and having sex, your brain will begin to associate other daytime activities with your bed, making it harder to fall asleep.
6. Make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable
This may seem obvious, but it’s an important aspect that many people don’t realize. If your bed is old and sagging, it could be the reason you’re not falling or staying asleep because you are so uncomfortable. Ideally, your mattress should support your entire body. There are many mattresses, like Eight’s mattresses made with at least three layers of foam, that can help you sleep better simply by improving your comfort.
7. Keep a consistent sleep schedule sleep
This is the number one thing you can do to improve your sleep. Always go to bed around the same time every night and wake up at the same time each morning. Resisting the urge to sleep in on weekends is hard, but it becomes easier once you train your body's internal clock. If you find yourself still struggling with insomnia, talk to your doctor for additional tips.
8. Avoid liquids an hour before bed
Hydration is important, but so is sleep. Go to the bathroom right before bed to avoid waking up in the middle of the night for bathroom breaks that can prevent you from falling back asleep.
Remember that change doesn’t happen immediately. It takes commitment and repetition, but ultimately following these simple rules can help you sleep better.