Experts agree that sleep is essential to your well-being, but some sleep comes much easier to some people than others. For those who can’t fall asleep quickly, it can be a continuous source of frustration, exhaustion, and stress.
Physical and emotional factors can both cause restless sleep. These can include unhealthy bedtime habits, stress and anxiety, medical conditions, or even sleeping on the wrong mattress. Whatever the cause, you wake up the next morning feeling weak and tired. Fortunately, there are simple ways to help address these issues and give you a better night’s sleep.
Don’t Eat After 8 p.m.
Both eating late at night and not eating enough can have significant adverse effects on the quality of your sleep.
As a rule, avoid heavy meals (those full of carbohydrates, for example) just before bed. They get your digestive system all fired up during a time when it would naturally be reducing activity.
At the same time, going to bed without dinner can cause you to be awoken by hunger. To ensure proper digestion and comfort, go to sleep within three to four hours of eating dinner.
If you like to have coffee with dinner, keep in mind that caffeine’s stimulating effects on the nervous system take between six and eight hours to pass. Unless you want to spend that time waiting impatiently in bed, drink decaffeinated coffee after 2 p.m.
Commit to Stress Management
Do you lie in bed thinking about the problems of the previous day or the tasks of the next morning? This is a sure way to keep your mind from relaxing into sleep which drives you into sleep deprivation.
Instead of stressing before bed, find a pre-sleep routine that helps you unwind. A massage just before bedtime improves the quality of sleep, especially if you’ve had a stressful day. Simple habits such as listening to relaxing music, deep breathing, and reading a book in bed to keep your mind busy and carefree can help you fall asleep quicker and keep you asleep without the interruption of unpleasant dreams.
Listen to a Sleep Podcast
If you prefer to save your music for the waking hours, you can also try sleep-focused podcasts, which induce sleep through methods like ambient sounds, meditation and relaxation techniques. Some even tell bedtime stories. Many hosts have exceptionally calming voices, so some podcasts that aren’t explicitly aimed at inducing sleep can still be great for bedtime.
Try These Essential Oils
A light scent can help you fall asleep more quickly. Essential oils extracted from flowers and leaves, with natural aromas (such as lavender, cedarwood and bergamot), are ideal for use during pre-bedtime baths or massages. You can also put a few drops on a cotton ball or in a cup to leave on your bedside table and help perfume the room.
Make sure you don’t overdo it, though, as powerful aromas can make you more restless. Avoid sandalwood oil or rosemary, for example, because they’re substances with a stimulating effect. Be careful to avoid potential allergic reactions by testing any oil before using it.
Keep Your Sheets Clean
Research shows that there’s nothing like climbing into a well-made bed with clean sheets to invite you to enjoy a night of deep and peaceful sleep.
Many people neglect to clean their mattresses and pillows, as it can be labor-intensive, but there’s no excuse for dirty sheets and pillowcases. Try to wash them once a week and alternate between multiple sets.
It’s also recommended that you change out your bedding entirely at least every five to eight years, so consider updating your old sheets to ensure good dreams.
Sleep Under a Weighted Blanket
As the name implies, weighted blankets are heavier than typical blankets and are often used by those with anxiety, insomnia, autism and other conditions. The weight of these blankets partially restrains your movements in a way that many find comforting, helping the body to relax.
On the other hand, weighted blankets are not recommended for anyone who has obstructive sleep apnea, asthma or claustrophobia, so be sure to consider whether a weighted blanket is right for you.
Invest in a Mattress That Suits Your Sleep Style
A good night’s sleep starts with a good foundation. But how do you know which mattress is best for your sleep style? Today there are different types of mattresses on the market for those who sleep on their side, stomach, and back:
- For Back Sleepers – The most comfortable option is the medium-firm mattress.
- For Side Sleepers – A soft mattress is the best for those who sleep in this position because it’s easy on the sides of the body.
- For Stomach Sleepers – A firm mattress helps you sleep better on your stomach. It’s also smart to use a body pillow, which can relieve the pressure on your hips and back.
There are also different materials to consider. An adjustable air foam mattress is a versatile and comfortable option, especially for couples with their own needs and sleep styles. Through the mattress valve system, it’s possible to change the firmness of each side of the bed independently and adjust it to each occupant. Air foam mattresses like those made by Nolah Mattress (you can read reviews for Nolah mattresses here) also provide pressure relief and have a cooling effect.
A Good Night’s Sleep is Essential
Getting consistent and sufficient sleep is essential for your health and quality of life. Enduring a strenuous day is far more challenging after a restless night’s sleep.
Sleeping well depends on many different things, including comfort, stress and mattress style. By addressing all of these factors, you can set yourself up for the most restful sleep possible.