We’ve all experienced the frustration of sleepless nights. When poor sleep becomes a habit, though, it can have an impact on our mental and physical health. But don’t worry: better sleep health is easier than one might think.
Reddit users were asked what their trick is to falling asleep fast and sleeping well. The consensus was clear: Follow these six easy steps to fall asleep more easily and wake up feeling refreshed.
6. A Good Sleep Starts In The Morning And Lasts All Day.
“I ditched all stimulants like coffee. If I have to pick between a good night’s sleep or a few hours of caffeine-fueled insanity, I will choose the sleep every time. I drink more water, I exercise more, and I sleep on a schedule.”
Little things throughout the day can affect sleep at night. Stimulants throw off the body’s natural energy levels all day. Being dehydrated can make it harder to fall asleep. Even something as simple as an irregular sleep schedule can make sleep elusive. The key is to pinpoint how things we do (or don’t do) during the day help to regulate our circadian rhythm and promote good sleep health. When we have a good day for sleep, we’re ready to have a good night for sleep.
5. Screens Are The Enemy.
“I stop all social media and video games about 1 hour before I go to bed. I go to bed at regular times and get up at regular times.”
We live in an on-the-go society, with 24-hour news and instant notifications. While it’s good to stay connected, sometimes all those devices can affect our sleep. Most cell phone, TV, and laptop screens give off blue light, which is sleep’s greatest nemesis. Blue light tricks our brains into thinking it’s daytime, and makes it harder to feel drowsy and ready to snooze. Turning off tech before bed and keeping screens out of the bedroom are good ways to get our brains out of daytime mode and into night mode.
4. Wind down.
“After getting the bed turned down and everything ready for sleep, I then sit in a comfy chair and read until my eyelids “feel heavy.” At that point, I just turn out the light and slide into bed, still thinking of what I just read. And zingo – off to sleep.”
It’s nearly impossible to fall asleep until we’re mentally ready for bed. No matter how late we’re awake, it is vital to give our brains time to slow down and get ready for sleep. Reading a book, listening to a podcast, or putting on some soothing music can help us relax into our bedtime routines, and can bring on that “drowsy” feeling that tells us it’s time to sleep.
3. Lay back and enjoy.
“Instead of putting pressure on myself with expectations of instant sleep, just enjoy the act of being in bed. Unwinding. Resting. Being in bed is enjoyable and I have a smile as I doze off. Don’t think of problems; you can’t solve them in bed.”
Nobody falls asleep the moment they hit the pillow, and that’s okay! Bedtime should be the time we turn off our brains, lay back, and just enjoy resting after a long day. Bed should be a happy place, where we are calm, happy, and comfortable. Anxiety is an obvious enemy of sleep. So instead of thinking about all the things we haven’t done today, the big, stressful presentation at work, or the sleep we’re missing, try to let go and enjoy bed. Consider meditation or breathing exercises if it’s hard to clear the mind.
2. Counting Sheep (or whatever)
“I put together a little story in my head, I try not to sleep and continue the story with eyes closed but pretty soon I just drift off to sleep.”
Some people just can’t turn off the little voices in their heads. It could be due to a particularly stressful day, or some people just have a hyperactive internal monologue. Don’t worry, there’s a remedy for that too! Remember when Mom used to read a story before bed? We may have outgrown the bedtime story, but the principle still applies – picturing something soothing while we relax into bed can help us fall off into sleep. Try telling a story, recalling a good movie scene-for-scene, or even just counting sheep. Focusing on something vibrant and visual in our mind’s eye can override the activity in our brains, and we can transition easily from imagination to dreams.
1. Mattress matters.
“I used to have trouble falling asleep until I bought a new bed with a solid, robust mattress. My old one was really soft. You could squeeze it with one hand like a sponge. I’m sure some people like it that soft, but it just didn’t work for me. Everyone really should buy a bed that fits their particular needs.”
It should go without saying that a bed should be comfortable, and yet real life adults all around the country sleep in a bed that doesn’t meet their needs. An uncomfortable sleep can have a huge impact on our mental and physical health, while sleep on a mattress that works can literally be the cure for what’s ailing us. Everyone has specific needs, and mattress shopping can be intimidating if we don’t know what to look for.
The good news is, we are here to help. This quiz helps find the right mattress for everyone’s specific needs.