1. Create a Night Time Routine
Some prefer a cup of tea or coffee (for the record, I can have espresso coffee right before bed and it won’t affect me!), and a good book. Others enjoy a warm bath with epsom salts and essential oils, like lavender. Here are some great DIY bath salt ideas! Just make sure your bath isn’t too hot, as raising your body temperature will actually make it harder to fall asleep (see next section). Alternatively, you can use a few drops of lavender essential oil on your pillows, dabbed along your neck, or in a diffuser.
2. Lower the Thermostat
Lowering the thermostat a few degrees will help cool down your body and promote a good night’s sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation:
During the course of a normal day, your body temperature rises and falls slightly. This pattern is tied to your sleep cycle. As you become drowsy, your temperature goes down, reaches its lowest level around 5:00 a.m., and climbs slightly as morning begins. This is why the air in your room can affect the quality of your sleep: if it’s too hot, it may interfere with your body’s natural dip and make you more restless through the night. In fact, studies indicate that some forms of insomnia are associated with an improper regulation in body temperature. Of course each of us has a slightly different optimal temperature for sleep, so experiment with keeping your room cool and find what makes you most comfortable.
I’ve found that setting our thermostat between between 71 and 73 degrees is my happy place, although some experts recommend setting it even lower.
3. Reduce Screen Time Before Bed
Exposure to light stimulates the brain and creates a false alertness and stimulation.
This is a REALLY tough one for us, as B loves to watch The West Wing before bed, and I like to do my online shopping (or Pinterest browsing) right before falling asleep. Sometimes I’ve dropped the phone on my face.
4. Exercise Early in the Day
According to the National Sleep Foundation:
Sleep experts recommend exercising at least three hours before bedtime, and the best time is usually late afternoon. Exercising at this time is beneficial because body temperature is related to sleep. Body temperatures rise during exercise and take as long as 6 hours to begin to drop. Because cooler body temperatures are associated with sleep onset, it’s important to allow the body time to cool off before sleep.
It makes complete sense, then, when some of my best sleep has been after a long morning of heavy yard work when we first bought our house. Not to mention, it’s helped keep me in shape.
5. The Right Mattress
Last, but certainly not least, the mattress in your bedroom will make or break a good night’s sleep. And, trust me, we are the unfortunate experts on that. Back in June, we became the proud owners of our very own Perfect Sleeper® by Serta®, the only official mattress of the National Sleep Foundation, engineered to help solve 5 common sleep problems. Since June, we’ve been sleeping like babies.
The Cool Action™ Gel Memory Foam built into the mattress has helped keep us cool through the hot Floridian summer nights. And our Motion Essentials™ adjustable foundation, which allows us to adjust both the head and the foot of the mattress, has made lounging in bed during our weekly movie night super enjoyable.
The Perfect Sleeper® by Serta® is a high-quality mattress at an affordable price ($399 – $1,299 standard queen set suggested retail pricing). Had we known this years ago, we would have purchased a Perfect Sleeper and prevented years of poor sleep.