Do you want to start getting a good night’s sleep? Surveys show that 11% of Americans experience sleep deprivation every night, according to Sleep Health. The good news is I’ve discovered you can sleep better with some basic tips and tricks like learning how to choose the right mattress. Many of them are also super-cheap including:
How to Fall Asleep in 2 Minutes (video)
#1 Lower Light, Noise, and Temperature
These are some very simple yet effective ways to get a full night’s sleep. You can either eliminate all bedroom light or reduce it using a dimmer switch or night light.
Next, try to reduce noise from inside and outside your bedroom. Earplugs can be an effective sleep prop to reduce noise levels. Meanwhile, white noise machines can help you fall asleep to pleasant sounds like chirping birds.
Finally, since skin temperature increases while sleeping, it’s a good idea to reduce your bedroom’s air temperature. The best temperature is about 65°F or 18°C, which is a few degrees below room temperature.
#2 Sleep and Wake up at the Same Time
OK, this isn’t an exact science since falling asleep itself isn’t clockwork. However, the body does have an “internal clock.” When it gets dark outside, this tells our body’s processes to slow down and prepare for sleep. Sleeping at different times can confuse your body’s “biorhythms.”
The key is for adults to get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep nightly. Try to set and follow a specific bedtime. Then create a sleep environment that will allow you to cycle through the 5 sleep stages, including rapid eye movement (REM) sleep when most dreams take place.
#3 Unplug Electronic Devices Near Bedtime
LCD and LED screens have tiny bright lights that can affect your ability to wind down at bedtime. Sleep experts recommend ending screen time at least one hour before going to sleep. Soft music is a better option than staring at TV, computer, and mobile screens at bedtime.
Even if you try to avoid using your cellphone at bedtime, you still might get a call. A few hacks include putting it in “do not disturb” mode, or even switching it off. You could also move the phone farther than arm’s reach to avoid taking or making a call.
Are Electronic Devices Ruining Our Sleep? (video)
#4 Eat & Drink the Right Stuff at the Right Times
What if you get the munchies before bedtime? If you’re going to eat before catching Zs, then make it a light snack up to an hour before bedtime. You should certainly avoid big meals let alone epic cheat meals. They can prevent you from falling asleep and mess up your sleep cycle.
When picking drinks, you should try to avoid ones with caffeine, sugar, and alcohol after dinner. In fact, sleep experts recommend avoiding caffeine up to 6 hours before bedtime.
Here’s why. Caffeine has a half-life of about 5 hours, according to Medical News Today. So if you have a beverage with 40mg of caffeine, the body will reduce it to 20mg within that time frame.
#5 Understand the Sleep Needs of Babies and children
Infants and toddlers need lots of sleep. Besides buying baby mattresses, here are some important facts to keep in mind:
- Infant sleep cycles last for about 45 to 60 minutes
- Babies need up to 20 minutes to start deep sleep
- About half of babies’ sleep is rapid eye movement (REM)/deep sleep
- Babies who sleep late-night will likely be over-tired
- Infant sleep up to 16 hours/day, and toddlers sleep up to 14 hours
- The sweet spot for nap times is 1.5 to 2.5 hours.
- Night feedings are generally from 7 PM to 7 AM
If your household members want to sleep better, there are many easy options. They include ones related to the sleep environment, sleep schedule, and learning how to choose the right mattress.
You also don’t have to shell out $5,000 for a Van Der Hilst gold pillow. It turns out the best things in life really are free—including sleep and better sleep!