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Read on for 8 research-backed tips to get your best night’s sleep.
1. Too hot, too cold–just right?
Everyone has their own ideal sleeping temperature, but the National Sleep Foundation suggests between 60° and 67° F for optimal sleep conditions. When your body is gearing up to sleep, your body temperature drops to initiate sleep mode. Setting a cooler temperature in your room can help facilitate getting shut-eye and decrease the chances that you’ll wake up during the night. Thermostat settings that are too extreme in either direction can cause your sleep quality to suffer.
If you have a partner sleeping next to you, another factor to consider is how their body temperature or sleep habits might be affecting you. Their body heat can affect yours, or they might like to sleep at a temperature that keeps you tossing and turning.
You may have to experiment a bit to find what works best for you. The Eight Sleep app, hooked up to your mattress, helps you record your sleep habits. It’s the first and only mattress that helps to track your heart rate and respiratory rate, and adjusts the temperature of your bed accordingly. You can review your individual statistics, and customize the setting of your mattress to account for your sleep needs, as well as your partners.
Your before-bed habits could be eating at your sleep! Many of us spend time on our phones or computers before bed; however, the blue light emitted by our beloved screens can have a negative effect on your sleep.
Focus on reducing the amount of blue light you’re exposed to before bed, whether this means putting your phone and computer on Night Shift mode, or unplugging entirely. Blue light isn’t the only culprit when it comes to sleep disruptors–dimming the lights around you as you’re preparing to go to bed can also help your body to start winding down.
Finally, make sure you’re shutting off your notifications before you lie down. Don’t let a stray like wake you from your much-needed shut-eye.
3. Cap your naps
When you’re tired during the day, a power nap can be just the thing. That said, if your sleep is suffering, you might want to reevaluate your nap habits.
Experts say a 20 to 30 minute nap is the sweet spot. You might be cutting into your sleep time with naps that are too lengthy, or even counteracting your nap’s recharging effects–if you nap for an hour or so, you’ll wake up from deep sleep, which will leave you groggier than if you only entered a lighter phase of sleep with a shorter doze.
Try setting an alarm on your next nap to wake you up within 20 to 30 minutes. Avoiding late afternoon naps can also be a good way to get better sleep. Even a bit of sleep later in the day can mess with your sleep cycle and delay your bedtime, creating a cycle of daytime naps and nighttime restlessness.
4. Switch up your positions
Chances are, you have a go-to sleeping position–but not all positions were created equal. Your position of choice might be affecting your ability to get a good night’s sleep.
Each sleeping position has its pros and cons, but experts usually recommend lying on your back or side. If you’re a side sleeper, resting on your left-side promotes relief of acid reflux and heartburn, better digestion and toxin drainage, not to mention improved circulation. Back sleepers also enjoy a host of benefits including better alignment of the spine and neck.
If you’re a stomach sleeper--especially one with back problems--you might want to reconsider. Sleeping on your stomach flattens the natural alignment of the spine and can lead to neck pain. Check out the Eight Sleep blog to learn more about sleeping positions.
5. Rethink your Snacks
Our food choices can bear on our sleep–and we’re not just talking about your bedtime snacks. Excessive consumption of alcohol and/or caffeine during the day can do a number on your ability to get a good night’s sleep. We love a cup of coffee in the morning, but grabbing multiple cups throughout the day–especially in the afternoon–can make you wired when it’s time to wind down.
Alcohol can also hamper your sleep. Although many people think a nightcap helps make them sleepy, drinking can cause sleep disturbances and lower the quality of your Z’s. Alcohol can also lead to stomach upset and acid reflux which can really bother you when it comes time to lie down.
Eight Sleep’s blog recommends some snacks to try before bed if you’re feeling hungry. These include almonds, oatmeal, warm milk, bananas, cottage cheese, and decaffeinated teas like ginger tea or chamomile. Other suggestions include turkey, hummus, tuna, and cheese for a dose of satiating protein. Avoid spicy and greasy foods in the evening, and eating too late so as not to go to bed with a full stomach--both can lead to digestive troubles.
6. Get on a schedule
A healthy sleep schedule means you’re getting eight hours of restful, consistent sleep per night and going to bed within 15-20 minutes of lying down. A great way to promote healthy sleep habits is by embracing “sleep-wake-time consistency”. This means going to bed and waking up at essentially the same time every day.
The Eight Sleep thermo alarm is designed to facilitate this consistency, by waking you up within a half hour of your alarm, when you’re in your lightest sleep period. Gradually, your body will get used to the schedule, and you’ll wake up automatically without an alarm.
Creating consistency in your sleep schedule requires discipline, but it’s worth it. If you find it difficult to tuck in at the same time every night, try creating a ritual around your bedtime. By crafting a personalized nightly routine for winding down--whether that’s reading, taking a bath, or going through a skincare routine--you can help to quiet your mind and ease the transition from activity to rest.
7. Deal with aches & pains
If pesky back pain or other physical discomforts are keeping you up at night, you may need to switch your habits around during the day.
Get moving to get your blood flowing and maintain healthy postural alignment. Stretching and taking short walks can work wonders. Sitting all day, particularly paired with the stresses of work, can create physical tension, most commonly in the form of back pain. Switching up your daytime habits can include exploring options for ergonomic chairs or standing desks. Sleeping on your back is, as mentioned, the best way to relieve pressure on the back and promote proper alignment. Daily exercise is also important for managing excess energy, and can help you feel sleepier come bedtime.
8. Get the right accessories
If you’re not comfortable in bed, you’ll have a hard time cozying up. Don’t shortchange yourself on getting the right pillows and bedding. If your pillows are deflated or old, it can affect how well you sleep. You might need better neck support, and that means firmer pillows.
Don’t hesitate to update your bedding seasonally, especially if you’re sensitive to temperatures at night. As Eight Sleep’s blog aptly puts it, a “flannel sheet may be cozy in winter but too hot to use in summer”. You may also need a new mattress--Eight Sleep’s blog also reports on how you can tell when your mattress’ time has come. A new mattress is a big purchase for many people, but one of the most important investments you can make.
Invest in yourself!
Your sleep is vital to your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. Don’t sleep on your health—get 18% bitcoin back on your order at Eight Sleep today. 🚀