How To Get Better Sleep

meg biram - bedroom

You don’t need me to tell you that sleep is important, I know it makes a huge difference in my day if I’ve slept well or not. Not only am I a light sleeper, I’ve battled with falling asleep since childhood (which I wrote about here and also gave you 16 Tips To Help You Fall Asleep).

So when The National Sleep Foundation challenged me to take a second look at my sleep habits, I was game. I’m a big believer in getting my beauty sleep, because I think plays such a huge part in my overall health, and yes, beauty (mostly meaning my skin). So out of my own curiosity, I did a bit of a deep dive into their website to see what tips about sleep I didn’t know already and wanted to try them out to see if they made a difference.

 

The main things I’ve done to help me go to sleep earlier and sleep better are:

1. Having our bedroom be really dark. We have blackout shades.

2. Sleeping with a fan on — for two reasons: the white noise, and keeping the room cold.

3. Keeping the room cold.

4. Having a good mattress (I go into depth on this below).

5. Getting in bed an hour before I want to fall asleep and read a book.

6. Not drink alcohol late in the evening (easier said than done).

 

How To Get Better Sleep

Since I’ve had sleep issues before, I wanted to give you all more tips in addition to the above and my previous sleep post.

Put a Snake Plant in your Bedroom — Snake plants convert CO2 into oxygen at night (most plants take away oxygen at night) and also filters formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene, and benzene from the air — improving the air quality in your bedroom. Now, I’ve literally got a snake plant on my bedside table.

Stop Worrying & Change Your Mindset — Seriously, stop. I know stress is a bitch, but worrying will not help anything, and it’s just making you miserable and gives you more anxiety. I’m talking from experience here. How do you do stop worrying? I finally figured it out. Everything that is worrying you — write it down. It doesn’t have to be at night, you can write it down in the morning, or even in the middle of the day if something is bothering you. I use a Word Doc, some people use a journal — but getting those feelings out of you will help you deal with them and get them off your mind. Zig Ziglar said, “Worrying is negative goal setting.” This is the same with a to-do list. If you find that you can’t sleep because you have a ton of things to do the next day, quickly jot it down and get it out of your head. I always keep pen and paper in my nightstand for this reason, and if I have a crazy dream or idea I want to jot down in the middle of the night.

Get Some Sun — All this talk about staying out of the sun drives me crazy. The sun fear mongering has got to stop — we are depriving ourselves of Vitamin D and other benefits of sunlight (and fresh air!). Yes, some people can’t be out in the sun, I get that, but most of us actually could use 30-45 minutes of sun every day! The sunlight helps our natural circadian rhythm which helps us stay on a good sleep schedule, and get our Vitamin D.

 

How To Get Better Sleep

Get a Better Mattress — If you toss and turn all night because of your mattress it’s time to invest in a new one.  I know I know, going to those gross mattress stores is not what you want to do with your Saturday, me neither. Thanks to the Internet and some young entrepreneurs you never have to lay on those who-knows-how-many-germs-are-on-here mattresses again. My husband and I were in dire need of a new mattress when Tuft & Needle came to the rescue. If you like a firm mattress you will LOVE their mattress. Plus it arrives quickly, in a box you can actually get up your stairs (and that you think — there’s NO WAY a mattress in there), plus you get 30 days to try it out to make sure you like it. Oh, and they’re actually fairly priced — the California King is only $750! So, you can invest in your sleep without draining your bank account. My husband and I love ours!

Block Blue Light — I know, you’re on your computer, iPad, or iPhone until the second you fall asleep (I read on my iPad). But the bright light is not helpful for getting your Zzzzzs. F.lux is a free app that makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day. Read more about it here.

Clean Sheets — Be honest, how often to you wash/change your sheets? I do almost every week. I’m sure I’ve gone for two weeks every once in a while, but I love the feeling of fresh clean sheets. Cotton, linen or bamboo are best for breathability. I just got some a new set thanks to Brooklinen and they are so soft!

Keep your room between 60-67 degrees — I like a cold bedroom. Even in the summer, I want it to be cold so I can cozy up under the blankets. I always sleep much better with a cold room.

If you have trouble getting to sleep, I just lay on my back and try to focus on breathing. One of my yoga teachers used to start at the head of your body and tell you to relax every part of your body all the way down. Relax your hair, relax your forehead, relax your nose, relax your jaw — she literally named everything, and by the time she got to your toes, you were out. Speaking of toes, I just learned about this toe exercise. If you are hungry, try eating a snack with carbs and protein — so basically milk and cookies.

I’m ready to take a nap after all that! Do you have any good sleep rituals I need to know about?

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Shown in photo: duvet / shams / book / plant / vase / lamp / pillow / plant / vase / lamp / book / book

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This post was done in partnership withThe National Sleep Foundation. Read my interview with Sleep.org here and for more tips about getting better sleep visitThe National Sleep Foundation.

Mattress courtesy of Tuft & Needle; sheets and duvet courtesy of Brooklinen; Plant courtesy of Exotic Angel; Pillow protectors courtesy of PureCare 

Photos by Meg Biram