A good night's sleep seems increasingly out of reach for many of us—whether we're working late, being kept up by loud neighbors, or glued to our phones until 1 a.m.—and disruptors everywhere are preventing us from truly getting our snooze on for 7–8 hours a night. But the benefits of a good night's sleep are too good to ignore: Studies show that it can make you happier, improve your memory, and even out your complexion. So how do you improve your sleep when your mind is racing and your surroundings are keeping you awake?
Start by taking a good hard look at your bedroom: Is your mattress supportive? Is the room free of light and noise disruptors? Is your space truly a relaxing sanctuary that promotes deep z's? If Netflix is on, street lights are beaming in, and your bed is making you hot or uncomfortable, your bedroom may be to blame for feeling tired and sluggish in the morning. By tackling your sleeping issues now, you'll be more productive at work, and you can show up rested, cheerful, and even glowing at your next event.
Take the ultimate bedroom test and adjust as necessary—your bedroom bliss awaits.
Keep Your Charger Far Away
Be strict about unplugging 30–50 minutes before bedtime. We already know that our devices are ruining our sleep patterns—the blue light emitted from our phones disrupts our natural sleep cycle, while our 3 a.m. Wikipedia deep-dives are never productive. Having a charging station outside of your bedroom makes it easier to check out for the night, and pick up a book before bed instead. You'll not only feel more naturally tired, but you'll be less likely to pick up your phone in the middle of the night after a bathroom run.
Bonus: If you get into the habit, you'll never wake up with a half-charged phone again.
Switch to Warm Light Bulbs
Speaking of blue light, you'll want to reduce it as much as possible to signal to your body that it's time to go to sleep. Dimmed warm light tells your body to start releasing melatonin and prepares your body for sleep, so avoid any bright or fluorescent lights in your bedroom. A few hours before bedtime, start dimming the lights around the house—especially in the bedroom to naturally get ready for shut-eye. Smart bulbs like Hue make it easy to manage your lighting, and can even switch from a bright cool light for daytime to a warm low light for nighttime.
Invest in Blackout Blinds
If you're a city dweller, chances are your bedroom is flooded with ambient light, even at night—and while it might be tempting to leave your curtains open to wake up to natural light, it may be disrupting your sleep more than you think. If your bedroom is exposed to neighboring street lights, invest in blackout shades, turn off all the lights in your home, and lull yourself into a deeper, healthier sleep.
Block Outside Noise
Just as light can disrupt sleep, so can noise. New York City dwellers know all too well how city sounds can abruptly disrupt sleep and make it hard to get back to snoozing. If your bedroom is exposed to a lot of outside noise, block it out. Turn on a noise cancelling maching, a fan, or even an air conditioner. The soothing sounds produced by a white-noise machine can drown out other disrupting sounds and help lull your into a deeper sleep.
Buy a Better Mattress
If you find yourself tossing and turning at night, or waking up with backaches, your mattress could be to blame for your lack of sleep. A good mattress provides the right amount of support without beeing too stiff to cause circulation issues. If you've been sleeping on a hand-me-down mattress from your previous roommate, it may be time for an upgrade. A great mattress should also weight transfer, so you won't feel your partner moving or getting up at night—because if your S.O. is sleeping better, chances are you'll have a better night's sleep, too.
Keep Yourself Cool
From sticking your feet out of your blanket to turning on the A/C or keeping your room temperature at 65 degrees, there are tons of ways to ensure your body stays cool while you snooze. Because your body temperature drops when you are asleep, it's important to keep ambient temperature at a similar level. If you really want to tackle the issue, try an app-controlled cooling mattress topper, which actively adjusts your mattress temperature to as low as 60 degrees. You can choose the temperature that works for you hour by hour—even set it to warm you up right before your alarm rings to naturally wake you up.
It can also alleviate any joint paint that may be keeping you awake. And for those with partners, you can each choose your own heat setting—so no one will be stealing blankets at night.
Some scents are proven to wake you up and boost productivity, while others are known to put you to sleep. So before you light your favorite scented candle, make sure it has the right aromas to wind you down. Sandalwood, chamomile, and lavender all have calming properties. For an extra boost of aromatherapy, spritz your pillow with a lavender linen spray—you'll feel instantly more relaxed when your head hit the pillow.
Wake Up Wrinkle-Free
Now that you're ready to hit the pillow like never before, you may wake up with deeper sleep wrinkles. Good news is, you can proactively prevent them with a silk pillowcase, which lets your skin gently glide along your skin instead of creasing. Silk is all-natural, hypoallergenic, and keeps more moisture in your skin and hair because it's less absorbent than cotton. So not only will you wake up rested, but you'll have better skin and hair, too.