Ever since I purchased my Fitbit and began tracking my sleep, I've realized my sleeping habits leave much to be desired. If you're anything like me, with my over-attachment to my phone, and my tendency to over-think and stress the moment my head hits the pillow, falling asleep can feel like an impossible task some nights. The first change I made to improve nighttime habits was to purchase a Casper mattress. Ours was about 10 years old, with some pretty deep dents where we slept every night from worn out springs. I was a little skeptical when I read that the mattress would show up on my door step in a dorm-fridge sized box, but I'm in love.
Not only was the bed fun to take out of the box (check out some of these unboxing videos on YouTube, I promise you won't regret it), but the mattress is super comfortable, and doesn't seem to trap heat the way other foam mattresses do. It was super affordable (ours was $950 for a King, but a Twin is only $500!), and came with a free 100 day trial period. If we didn't like it, Casper would arrange for pick-up, and have the mattress donated. Love, love, LOVE a company with a social conscience.
The first step to conquering the rest of your sleeping woes is to identify your sleep type. This handy (ok, and maybe a little bit silly) info-graphic can help you do just that! I definitely identify as an iSleeper, though I have some Cat Napper (or Dog Napper if you want to get technical) and Night Creature tendencies as well.
Once you've identified the problem, it's time for some solutions! I've listed some of my favorite ways to ensure a better night's sleep below, and you can find many more at casper.com.
I know, this one's no fun, but exercise reduces stress and improves your mood throughout the day, which can help keep you from laying awake at night. Exercise also helps you fall asleep faster, and improves your quality of sleep.
2. Keep to a Regular Sleep Schedule
Yes, even on the weekends. Reinforcing your body's sleep cycle promotes better sleep and will leave you feeling more rested when your alarm goes off Monday morning.
3. Forget the Snooze Button
Those extra minutes of sleep between alarms are low quality, and will leave you feeling even more groggy. Set your alarm for the time you actually NEED to get out out of bed.
4. Keep Naps Short and Sweet
Naps that are too long (more than 10-30 minutes) or too late in the day can interfere with nighttime sleep. Keep naps short, and stick to napping in the mid-afternoon.
5. Cut Caffeine Earlier in the Day
If you have a hard time falling asleep, try cutting out coffee and other caffeinated beverages after lunch. Switch to water or herbal teas instead.
6. Step Away from Your Phone
Light from devices (laptops, tablets and phones) can impact your ability to fall asleep. Put them an hour before bed, and switch to an activity a little easier on the eyes.
7. Start Keeping a Journal
Taking time to write down the things in your life that are worrying you can help you stop stressing about them. Listing them out feels like taking the first step to addressing issues. I often make lists of things I need to do the next day, so I don't waste time at night worrying that I'm going to forget that they need to be done.
8. Read a Book
My favorite way to unwind before bed is to read a great book. I have a hard time sitting idle for long though, so sometimes I listen to a podcast or audio book and knit so that I can relax while still feeling productive!
Meditation or breathing exercises can sooth your mind and your muscles, both of which are important for falling asleep quickly. Not sure where to start? Look online for a calming guided meditation.
10. Try Aromatherapy
Scents like lavender or Roman Chamomile can be very soothing and calming before bed. Try diluting essential oils with a carrier oil, like almond oil, and applying them topically, adding a few drops to a pre-bed bath, using them in linen spray for your bedding, or diffusing them.
Getting enough sleep is extremely important for both you mental and physical help. Hopefully a few of these tips will come in handy and help you to begin getting a better night's rest.