Get a Good Night’s Sleep. You’ve earned it.
Getting a good night’s sleep is vital to your quality of life, but getting enough rest each night is sometimes easier said than done. The good news is that you can implement small changes to your lifestyle to achieve both the quantity and quality of sleep you need.
During the day
The journey to a good night’s sleep starts long before bedtime. There are certain daily habits that will help prepare your body to get restful, restorative sleep by the time night comes.
- Get active: Getting at least some exercise during your day can have a direct benefit on your quality of sleep. Johns Hopkins says that even just 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise in a day can mean better-quality sleep that night.
- Get some sun: Exposure to sunlight can help regulate your circadian rhythm (aka your internal clock that tells your body when it’s time to sleep or be awake).But that’s not always easy, especially on short, cold winter days. But if you can get a quick walk in during the daylight hours, it can help. There is evidence that morning sunlight exposure is the most beneficial.
- Limit caffeine, especially later in the day: Keep an eye on your caffeine consumption, and try not to consume any in the afternoon or evening.
- Cut out alcohol and nicotine: Alcohol and nicotine use in the hours before bed can negatively impact sleep. Nicotine is a stimulant and may prevent you from falling asleep. Alcohol, on the other hand, may help you fall asleep faster but it may also disrupt your sleep.
Your bedtime routine
Now that your day is done, it’s time to create a peaceful bedtime routine that allows your body and mind time to wind down.
- Stop screen use at least an hour before bed: When you’re winding down at the end of the night, it’s tempting to turn on the TV or grab your cellphone and scroll through your social media feed. But studies have found that using digital screens before bed can be disruptive to our sleep. Opt for a good book instead.
- Practice journaling before bed: Do you ever lie down to go to sleep and suddenly find yourself unable to shut off your brain? Whether it’s running through tomorrow’s to-do list or replaying that terribly embarrassing moment from sixth grade, our brains may not always take the cues that it’s time for sleep. But that’s where a journal can come in handy. Journaling before bed can help you get those thoughts out of your brain and onto paper, allowing you to get some rest.
Creating a bedroom built for rest
In order to get a good night’s sleep, you’ll need to make sure your bedroom is a peaceful space for you to wind down and relax. By bedtime, your room should be dark, cool, and quiet.
- Keep it cool: When you’re too hot, it makes it very difficult to go to sleep and stay asleep. You’ll want to make sure that your bedroom is nice and cool. The National Sleep Foundation recommends keeping your room around 65 degrees at bedtime. You can turn on a fan for additional air circulation.
- Use breathable bedding and sleepwear: Your bedding and sleepwear should keep you cozy but allow for adequate airflow to keep you cool and comfortable.
- Keep it quiet: There are plenty of sound machines or free smartphone or tablet apps that offer relaxing audio meant to help you sleep, some that sound like rain storms, a crackling fireplace, or just white noise.
- Keep it dark: Blackout curtains can help block out any light from street lamps or an early-rising sun. You could also use a sleep mask.
- Use a comfortable and supportive mattress: You can turn your bedroom into a peaceful oasis, but if your mattress isn’t comfortable and supportive, you’ll probably still find it difficult to sleep. Everyone’s comfort and support preferences are unique, so we recommend you take your time when researching and testing out mattresses.