Science-Backed Hacks For Finally Getting The Sleep You Need
Are you getting the recommended 7–9 hours each night?
Sweet, sweet slumber is a precious commodity. We all long for 8 hours (or more) of sound, uninterrupted sleep, but getting a good night’s rest can be tricky. Whether you’re prone to tossing and turning or you can’t help waking up in the middle of the night, we’ve got 12 tricks to help you snooze like a baby (on a regular schedule).
1. Try a cherry juice nightcap
Skip that last glass of wine before bed — alcohol may help you fall asleep, but it leads to less REM, the most restorative kind of sleep. Instead, substitute the nightcap for a glass of tart cherry juice, a natural source of melatonin and tryptophan.
2. Shut off your screens
By now we all know that staring at screens is not conducive to good rest. The white and blue lights emitted from your phone and computer hinder your brain’s ability to release chemicals essential for sleep. Try setting a “screens off” bedtime for yourself an hour or two before lights out.
3. Charge your phone in another room
You can’t get uninterrupted sleep if your phone keeps buzzing or lighting up every time you get a notification. Putting that sucker in another room to charge overnight will help you put the rest of the world out of your mind.
4. Journal your lingering thoughts
Worries about work, bills and relationships keeping you up at night? Instead of dwelling on that dumb thing you may or may not have said or done, write down those lingering thoughts to clear your head.
5. Get your heart rate up a little
Getting some exercise during the day is ideal—not only for your overall health, but also so your body feels it has earned a good night’s rest. If you’ve had a pretty stationary day, a few jumping jacks before bed or some between-the-sheets exercise can tire you out all the same.
6. Lower the thermostat
You know how good it feels to crawl into a fresh, cool bed and cuddle up under the covers? Keep that feeling all night long by setting your bedroom to a nice cool temperature. Science says the sweet spot for deep sleep is between 65 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
7. Put on some lavender lotion
It’s no secret that the scent of lavender is soothing — studies have shown that the purple flower’s aroma actually slows your heart rate and primes you for relaxation. Put on some lotion, spritz some infused water or dab a bit of essential oil on your pillow.
8. Listen to soothing sounds
Turn on a white noise machine, listen to a boring book on tape or search YouTube for whispery ASMR videos to drown out your thoughts and lull you to sleep.
9. Cover up your clock
Looking at the time pass will only make you more anxious about falling asleep. Toss a t-shirt over your clock or at least turn it away from your bed.
10. Wear an eye mask
Light pollution and an early sunrise can interrupt a good snooze. Cover those peepers so you can sleep til you can’t sleep no more.
11. Try “square breathing”
Counting sheep is so last year. Try focusing on your breath in counts of four, while mentally drawing a square in your head. Sounds weird, but it works.
12. Go sit in another room
If you’ve been lying awake for more than 20 minutes, get up and sit in another room until you’re feeling sleepy. The change of scenery will be like a reset for your brain, and you’ll get that fresh bed feeling again when you crawl back in the sheets.