A bad night of sleep can make you feel awful for days, which is especially terrible if you’re working hard to nail your confidence and earn a promotion, have social plans that you’ll hate to cancel or are finally on an epic adventure in an out-of-this-world National Park that you’ve been dying to explore. Though getting good sleep isn’t always super controllable, we talked with a handful of experts to figure out the things that you can adjust to catch even more meaningful Zzz’s. Scroll on for their suggestions and get ready to relax, rest and repeat — no counting sheep required.
1. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule. It might not be super obvious, but training yourself to wind down and wake up at similar times every day can help a ton when it comes to getting your best sleep. Dr. Robert Oexman, the Director of the Sleep to Live Institute, says, “At night, you want to decrease light and activity, while in the morning, you want to increase light and activity. It’s all about zeitgebers, which are environmental cues that reset your internal clock. That includes light, exercise, when you eat and even when you brush your teeth. Your typical routines around waking up and falling asleep are zeitgebers.” Well, that pretty much explains it!
2. Invest in a seriously good mattress. We recently learned that a good mattress can make a huge difference in your physical health and quality of sleep. Spend some time to figure out what you need in one to sleep your best, which might vary depending on “your sleeping position and what you like in terms of firmness and thickness,” says Adam Tishman, who cofounded Helix Sleep.
3. Swap out your sheets. It’s not new news that sheets can make or break how soft your bed is, but did you ever realize that they can contribute to how warm you feel too? If you wake up tossing and turning while throwing covers off, consider investing in sheets that feel cool and crisp. Rich and Vicki, the husband and wife team who founded Brooklinen, agree, and suggest opting for Egyptian Cotton as the best choice. “It’s remarkably breathable, which is the key to maintaining an ideal temperature for a great night’s sleep,” they tell us.
4. Ease up on the caffeine. Drop the coffee and matcha tea at least SIX hours before you plan to fall asleep and try not to overdo it on caffeinated treats, like chocolate, four hours before bed, as caffeine stays in your blood for hours and can totally impact your ability to fall asleep. Yikes!
5. Power down BEFORE you get into bed. We know that weaning yourself off of your devices or watching Netflix from bed sounds horrible, but experts tell us it will make a really big difference in terms of helping you relax. The silver lining? You can treat your inner bookworm to some new titles. Christopher Lindholst, the CEO of MetroNaps, says, “Keep a stack of magazines you want to catch up on by your bedside and turn off your devices before you get into bed. That means NO screens, social media or streaming movies. Just read a little from your stack. As soon as you find your eyes getting heavy, put it down and turn off the light.” Ahh, bliss.
6. Try a cold shower. The sleep experts at Helix Sleep also suggested trying a cold shower instead of a warm one as a helpful way to wind down before bed. The reason? “Not only will you climb under the covers clean and refreshed, the cold shower will actually help to bring down your core temperature.” Who knew?
7. Keep your room temp comfortable. According to the sleep experts, 68 degrees is the ideal temperature for most sleepers. Figure out which temp works well for you, so you can control your environment and rest easy.
What helps you get great sleep? Share your secrets with us on Twitter @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)