There are two ways to get better sleep. First, you can focus on the quantity of sleep that you get — and that’s a good place to start. It’s generally recommended that an adult gets at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Fall short of that benchmark, and you’ll be facing blurry eyes and endless yawns all day long.
But there’s more to sleep than just going to bed early. You also need to ensure that the quality of your sleep is sufficient. Light, disrupted sleep is inadequate, no matter how long you spend in bed.
Here are a few suggestions for different ways that you can improve the quality of your sleep.
1. Get the Right Sleepwear
Your sleepwear can make or break a good night’s sleep. Wearing warm pajamas can make you feel overheated, whereas going light can leave you shivering. Make sure to tune your sleep attire to the needs of each night of sleep.
In addition, consider the material of your pajamas. For instance, lightweight cotton is great for warm weather, while flannel is a good cold-weather option. Silk pajamas are a great choice that is particularly good for all situations. They can help with moisture, allergies, and general comfort.
2. Consider Your Bed, too
Along with your PJs, you also want to consider the bed that you’re sleeping on. What is the condition of your mattress? Do you have a box spring? What about the sheets that you use, do they help you stay comfortable? Do you wash them often enough?
Along with your mattress, it’s also worth considering your pillow. Do you have a pillow that is firm or soft enough for your needs? What about your pillowcase? Are you allergic to dust mites? If so, you can develop a stuffy nose while you sleep, which can inhibit the quality of your rest. Look for a special allergy-friendly pillow to keep your breathing steady.
3. Set the Stage
Let’s back out even further. Along with your sleep attire and the comfort and support of your bed, consider the rest of your sleep environment. Is your room set up to encourage sleeping?
For instance, is your room dark when you’re sleeping? If not, you may want to get some black-out curtains to help you control the lighting. What about the temperature? The Sleep Foundation recommends keeping the temperature of your room around 65 degrees Fahrenheit while you’re sleeping. There’s room for adjustment, but you shouldn’t go beyond 60 and 67 degrees.
Also, consider the smells and sounds of your room. Set up an essential oil diffuser and use a relaxing scent like lavender oil to calm your mind. You can also use a white noise machine or even a fan to help tune out any audible distractions.
4. Establish a Bedtime Routine
Routines are powerful tools. A good morning routine can help you wake up and get going every day. In the same vein, a rock-solid bedtime routine can usher in sound, slumberous rest every night.
A good routine should start with your basics, things like brushing your teeth and getting dressed. From there, incorporate other activities that can help you relax and clear your mind. Take a bath. Read a book. Write in a journal. Find activities that calm you down and indulge in them as part of your pre-sleep ritual.
5. Also, Get on a Schedule
Along with bedtime routines, you also want to try your best to stick to a sleep schedule. There are times when it’s impossible to get a tight seven hours on a regular basis, and when that happens, you’ll have to depend on getting shorter nights of high-quality rest.
But the truth is, most people can find enough time to sleep seven hours every night if they try. Consider practicing a little discipline by going to be early enough or sleeping in late enough on a consistent basis.
You don’t have to be overly rigid with this. Instead, set windows of time, such as going to bed between 10 and 12 at night, to help you get into more of a sleep rhythm.
6. Avoid the Wrong Things Before Bed
There are many habits that we partake in that can quietly derail our sleep. A few of these include:
- Blue light: Try to avoid blue light an hour before bed.
- Caffeine: Don’t drink caffeine within six hours of bedtime.
- Exercise: Exercise is great for sleep, just don’t exercise right before bed or it’ll wake you up.
- Food and alcohol: Both food and alcohol can mess with your sleep quality if they’re consumed too close to bedtime.
From phones to late-night snacks, it’s very easy to do things right before bed that throw off your sleep. Do your best to avoid setting yourself up for disaster.
7. Calm Your Mind
Often things like anxiety, stress, and worry can stir up trouble as we go to sleep. Rather than spending time fretting as you fall asleep, look for ways to calm your mind as you head to bed.
For instance, we already talked about journaling. That’s a great way to decompress and come down from a busy day. You can also spend time meditating and praying before bed. You can even go for a relaxing stroll or go watch the sunset. By putting your mind in a good place, you give yourself the best chance at some quality rest.
8. Don’t Work or Play in Your Bedroom
Finally, it’s wise to avoid certain activities in your bedroom. If you’re a student, don’t do homework in bed. If you work from home, the same rule applies. If you’re watching TV, do so on the sofa.
Regardless of the activity, if you do other things in your sleeping space, it’s going to wire your brain to wake up and think of other things when it’s time to sleep. Instead, preserve your bedroom — or at the least, your bed — as a sacred place where you get the best sleep of your life.
There are many ways to improve your sleep. Start by ensuring that you’re getting a good quantity of sleep every night. From there, go over the list above and look for areas where you can improve your slumber. If you can do that, you can count on getting high-quality rest each and every night.