Raise your hand if this scenario sounds familiar.
It’s about 10 on a Sunday night and you’re trying to catch some zzz’s--something you really need, given that the next day is packed full of work meetings, family and (maybe) a workout. You have to fall asleep pronto in order to get a full eight hours.
But, nothing. You toss and turn and scroll mindlessly on Instagram until you glance at the clock and it’s 1:30 a.m.
Ugh, now what?
Unfortunately, you’re not alone. At least a third of Americans don’t get enough sleep and 68 percent struggle to sleep at least once a week, according to a Consumer Reports survey. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get seven to nine hours a night--a number that’s way off of what many of us actually achieve under the covers.
A full night of sleep might sound like a pipe dream, but you can get there. Falling asleep is a science and you can nail it every time if you avoid some of these nasty nighttime habits and replace them with more sleep positive rituals instead.
Turn Down the Thermostat
It might seem counterintuitive--especially on chilly nights--but you should turn down the thermostat before hitting the hay. Warmer temperatures warm your body, making you more prone to restless and sweaty sleep. Instead, The National Sleep Foundation says 65 degrees is the magic number for slumber. Yes, even during the coldest months of winter.
Hide Your Phone
Don’t double tap if you want to sleep. Zoning out on social media before bed will actually make you less sleepy. The reason: The light emitting from your smartphone is on the blue spectrum messes with your circadian rhythm and tells the brain to stop producing melatonin, or the natural sleep hormone we all produce.
And if you do manage to go to sleep, a 2014 study found that people who looked at blue screens before bed experienced less REM sleep and woke up sleepy.
Your best bet: Power down your devices at least an hour before bed to help prepare your body for sleep.
Stay Out of the Bedroom
Here’s a crazy stat: Sixty-four percent of U.S. homes keep a television in the master bedroom. It might seem like a relaxing way to wind down from a busy day, but like smartphones, televisions emit the blue light that makes feel more awake. Instead, keep your bedroom as a place for sleep and sleep only. By keeping your bedroom sacred, you’re subconsciously telling your body to feel sleepy once you step inside.
Turn Your Alarm Clock Away From You
Here’s the weird thing about alarm clocks: Many of them display the sleep-disturbing light that you should avoid. You can opt for a sleep-friendly clock like the Withings Aura and the Sleepace Nox, or just face your current one away from you. Bonus: It keeps you from watching the minutes tick by--and from stressing over it.
And if you use your smartphone as an alarm? Buy a real alarm clock--and keep your phone in another room to keep temptation away.
Just Say ‘No’ to Food and Drinks Before Bed
Try to eat dinner a good two to three hours before you need to sleep. This gives your body the opportunity to digest your meal--and so don’t have to wake up during the night to use the bathroom or alleviate that (inevitable) gas that comes from a full meal. But, don’t go to bed super hungry, either. If you’re feeling serious hunger pangs, consider grabbing a light snack full of protein--like some beef jerky or a handful of almonds.
And no alcohol before bed, either. A nightcap might initially help you fall asleep, but alcohol can interrupt the restful REM sleep. Deep sleep is vital to help your body recover and repair from workouts and other stressors, so you’re not giving your body the opportunity to repair if you imbibe before bed.
Get a Little Zen
Our brains tend to work overtime when we’re trying to sleep and all these thoughts can keep you from drifting off into dreamland. Quiet those thoughts with some pre-bed meditation. A 2015 study found mindful meditation can help improve sleep quality and help curb the mid-afternoon slump the next day.
Not sure what “mindful” meditation means? You’re not alone. The easiest way to get started down the meditation path is through guided sequences designed to help you relax. Headspace is one awesome app to help you get started.
Keep Fido or Fluffy Out of Your Room
Snuggling with your pets might seem like a dream, but it’s actually more of a nightmare. A whopping 42 percent of us admit to sleeping with our pups or kitties, but they can interrupt our sleep. The reason: Animals love to move around a lot during the night which can (and likely will) wake you up. No one likes it, but keeping your animals in another room is the best choice.
Buy the Right Mattress
You can make all the changes in the world, but they mean nothing if your mattress is actually the root of your sleep problem.
You should replace your mattress every few years--especially if you’re using a traditional spring coil mattress--because they lose shape and sag. A saggy mattress throws your spine out of alignment and distributes your weight unevenly, making restful sleep pretty much impossible.
A foam-based mattress eliminates those problems because the mattress contours to the unique curves of your body, instead of the other way around.
Bear Mattress didn’t stop at the foam mattress. Our mattress is designed with four layers of Quick-Response and graphite-gel infused foam. This foam helps relieve pressure and also helps regulate your body temperature, allowing for deeper recovery sleep.
Our pillows can help you sleep better, too. Most pillows put your head in the absolute wrong position for good sleep, but The Bear Pillow is made for proper contouring and neck alignment. The Loft-X and Double Ice fabric also helps regulate body temperature, too. Try the Bear Mattress free for 100 nights and feel the difference (and get more sleep, too!).