There’s nothing quite as comforting as falling into bed after a long, stressful day. After all, sleep is how your body, mind and spirit rest, recover and recharge for tomorrow. Those precious moments before “hitting the hay” offer you a chance to unwind and reflect on all the good that happened during your day — and to clear your mind as you prepare for gentle slumber.
Sometimes, though, falling asleep is easier said than done. Whether it’s worries from your day keeping you awake or distractions in your bedroom, a consistent bedtime routine and relaxing sleep environment may help you get the rest you need.
Create an optimal environment for better sleep with these eight tips:
Wind Down With a Routine
A consistent routine each night can signal to your body and brain that’s it’s time to settle down for bed. Going through the same steps can also help you calm your worries from the day. Build a routine that helps you relax. Consider:
- Doing gentle stretches
- Enjoying a warm cup of milk or decaf tea
- Praying or quietly reflecting
- Reading a good book
Spend a few nights working out the routine that’s right for you. Once you know what helps you relax and disconnect from the day, be mindful about following the same steps every night.
Cut out Screen Time
The blue light from televisions, phones, tablets and other devices has been shown to disrupt sleep patterns. The shorter wavelengths of the blue light are thought to cause your body to produce less melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep.
Turn off the TV, put phones down and shut off all other electronic devices at least one hour before bed. Use that time to ready yourself for sleep with your bedtime routine.
Block out Noises
Neighbors arriving home late, dogs barking and sounds of traffic going by can sometimes disrupt your sleep. Block out distracting noises with a sound machine. These handy machines can help drown out noises out of your control by playing gentle, soothing tones. Try one out to see if it helps you catch a better night’s sleep.
Focus on Comfort
Comfort is key to getting the sleep you need. If a lumpy mattress, flat pillow or scratchy sheets are keeping you awake at night, indulge in a comfortable mattress and bedding set. The investment is well worth a good night’s sleep.
What you sleep in should be just as comfortable as what you sleep on, too. Make sure your pajamas are cozy and comfy to help you drift off (and stay asleep).
Keep It Cool
A cool bedroom makes it easier to fall and stay asleep. Try keeping your thermostat somewhere between 60 and 67 degrees in your bedroom. It may take a few nights to find the perfect temperature.
Dim the Lights
Keep bright lights and distractions out of the bedroom. Turn down the lights about an hour before bed. Install blackout curtains or shades to keep lights from the neighborhood out of the bedroom. Consider an eye mask for additional coverage. The dark environment will help lull you off to sleep.
Soothing scents can calm you. Lavender has been shown to slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure. Vanilla, rose, jasmine, bergamot and chamomile are also calming scents that may be able to help you unwind and relax before bedtime.
Keep It Minimal
Your bedroom should be designed with sleep in mind. Choose a calming wall color that you love and keep the distractions to a minimum. Move anything that’s not for sleep or relaxation out of the room, like workout equipment or work supplies. A tidy room, free of clutter and distractions can help you have a restful night.
Get a Better Night’s Sleep
Small changes to your routine and your bedroom can make a big impact on how much sleep you’re able to enjoy. Experiment with what’s best for you. Try a few calming activities; test out a few new scents.
If you regularly struggle to get a good night’s sleep, talk to your primary care provider. Together, you can create a plan that helps you get the rest you need to take on a new day.