6 Ways to Sleep Better
The statistics on shut-eye are, well, eye-opening. Thirty-five percent of adult respondents to the 2014 National Sleep Foundation Sleep Health Index say their sleep quality is “poor” or “only fair.” Fortunately, there’s hope for sleepyheads. Use these ideas to reach dreamland.
1. Get the Light Right
There’s no such thing as a good night’s sleep, if your bedroom isn’t dark enough. Make sure you have the window treatments your room needs to keep street light (and, later, morning sun) at bay. Blackout shades can help, as can a combination of drapery with blinds or shades. For extra insurance, try a lightweight eye mask that fits comfortably and features a light-blocking inner liner.
2. Keep Things Quiet and Cool
From late-night traffic to night-owl neighbors to the person snoring beside you, sudden noises shift your brain into high alert and disrupt your sleep. A simple solution is a pair of earplugs. However, for those needing a little more help, consider a fan or a white-noise machine that creates a low, continuous sound to help lull you to sleep. And while you’re reducing the noise levels, do the same for the temperature: experts recommend setting it between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Focus on the Bed
It’s one of your most used pieces of furniture, so give your bed some love! Rotate the mattress every two to three months. (And if it’s showing visible wear or has a sagging center, it might be time for a new one.) Enhance the comfort level with a cushy mattress topper, plush comforter or duvet, and pillows that support the way you sleep. Splurge on dreamy sheets and a quality duvet cover that wrap you in luxury and feel soft on your skin.
4. Embrace a Tech-Free Zone
Electronics stimulate your brain—something you don’t need before bedtime. To keep your space serene, keep the TV out of the room (or at least turn it off an hour or so before you snooze), and let smartphones and tablets charge in another area. Curl up with a good book or magazine, instead of your laptop.
5. Cut Back on Clutter
Clear out anything in the bedroom that doesn’t relax you. Paperwork, bills, and work projects should have a home outside the bedroom, as should kids’ toys and empty glasses and food containers. Designate places for items like jewelry and accessories, and aim to keep the floor free of shoes and clothing. If you’re in need of extra storage space, think of ways to keep items out of sight and off the floor: use under-bed storage, for example, and over-the-door solutions that can go inside a closet.
6. Start (and Stick to!) a Sleep Routine
Commit to a regular bedtime ritual you look forward to. Dim the lights a half hour before getting into bed; take a warm bath; read; listen to soothing music; practice meditation or do a few simple yoga moves; sip herbal tea in a favorite mug. And enjoy your restful, deep, much-deserved sleep.
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