When it comes to sleep, it seems like there are two types of people. Those who can live on a few hours of rest per night and those who require an average of eight hours each evening. Arianna Huffington falls into the latter category. The founder of the Huffington Post is such an advocate for sleep that she wrote a book devoted to the topic. In The Sleep Revolution, Huffington argues that sleep affects everything from health to job performance. As she puts it, “a lot of people forego sleep in the name of productivity, but in fact our productivity is reduced substantially when we’re sleep deprived.” Sleep is incredibly important and nobody should be ashamed of requiring a full night’s rest. Wondering how to make the most of it? Here are nine sleep tips for the best night’s rest ever.
Establish a bedtime ritual. Any parent to a young child knows the importance of having a bedtime routine. Teaching a toddler to put on their pajamas, brush their teeth, and read a few books is essential to ensuring that they fall asleep and stay asleep. Somehow this daily part of life has become lost on many adults, but if you can bring it back and create a nighttime routine that works for you, you’ll reap the benefits of a better night’s rest.
Wear pajamas—not gym clothes. Again, this goes back to our childhood where you have a specific set of clothing that is only worn to bed. Wearing the same clothes that you would wear to the gym can confuse the mind: Is it workout or rest time? Treat yourself to a silk pajama set, night dress, or a get a matching top and pants. Target’s website has 20 pages of women’s pajamas, so take the time to figure out what you feel most comfortable in and purchase a couple of sets.
Create a bedroom environment that is dark, quiet, and relatively cool. (Huffington says the ideal temperature for sleep is between 60 and 67 degrees). When putting a baby to sleep, you want to make sure that it’s quiet and dark, right? Apply this same thought process to yourself. Invest in room darkening shades or curtains to ensure that your bedroom is dark. If you find white noise relaxing, turn on a fan or get a white noise machine. Live in an apartment building on a very busy street in an active city? Earplugs are your new best friend! Make turning the heater off a part of your bedtime ritual.
Take a hot bath or shower before bed. If you’re stressed or had a long tense day, a soothing bath or shower will help calm your mind and body. Stretching or performing a few slow yoga moves can also unwind the body.
Enjoy a warm drink. A glass of lavender or chamomile tea, a hot toddy, bone broth, or warm milk can be a nourishing way to slow yourself down. Take small sips, be mindful of what you are drinking, and make sure it doesn’t have any caffeine.
Turn off the television and step away from digital devices. You’ve probably heard this before, but screens that emit blue light affect our natural sleep patterns. Huffington recommends turning off all electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime and keeping them out of the bedroom. However, if you’re one of those people who sleeps with their iPhone, this can be a challenging daily habit. Get an alarm clock, so you don’t have to use your phone’s alarm. Don’t read emails before bed as any stress from work could create anxiety and keep you from sleeping.
Use your bed for sleep and sex only. Don’t do any work from bed. If you like to read at night in bed, make sure you read something that doesn’t have anything to do with your job. Preferably a novel, poetry, or philosophy—just make sure it’s light and won’t get your brain moving actively. The goal is to slow down your thinking and quiet the mind.
Invest in quality mattresses, pillows, and bedding. Make sure your bed is comfortable and supportive. Most mattresses last for 10 years. If you frequently wake up with a sore back or knots in your neck, it’s time to think about getting a new pillow or mattress. Make the room attractive and inviting for sleep and free of any allergens.
End the day with positive thinking. Write a couple awesome things that happened during the day or list three things you are grateful for in a journal. Taking the time focus on the positive rather than the negative will put you in a better mindset for sleeping.
How do you ensure a good night’s sleep?