Written by Sarah Thebarge, Physician Assistant
We’re guessing you love to sleep, and you are not alone. But to truly reap the benefits of a good night’s sleep, it's important to ensure you are getting quality time with your bed.
Sleep affects your heart, weight, mind, mood, and more. Make sure you’re getting the best sleep possible with these out-of-the-box tips and tricks.
1. Keep your bedroom cool
The heat and/or humidity can make sleeping difficult, so always try to keep your room cool. Whether you have air conditioning, a fan, or breathable bed sheets, keeping your body temperature down will help you sleep better.
So what should you keep the thermostat at while you sleep? According to Sleep.org, try to keep your room between 60°F and 67°F (15.4°C and 19.4°C) as temperatures outside this range are known to disrupt REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is when you get the most quality sleep time.
2. Skip the big glass of water before bed
Hydration is healthy, but drinking water right before bed can disrupt your sleep. Opt for your last glass no later than two hours before bed. Guzzling large amounts of any fluid any later can give you multiple bathroom trips throughout the night, or lead to urinary tract issues with added pressure to your bladder throughout the night.
However, if you sleep with a glass of water at the bedside, make sure it is no more than 8 fl. oz. Water drank to clear a midnight throat tickler or early enough in the morning after a period of restful sleep should not be an issue.
3. Eat recommended nutrient-rich foods
Certain nutrients found in foods, like lycopene (found in grapefruit, tomatoes, and watermelon) or vitamin C (found in papayas, broccoli, and citrus fruits) can help you sleep better. You can also opt for a small snack of one of these foods an hour or two before bedtime.
4. Listen to music or bedtime soundscapes
The key here is the type of music. Certain tunes, like Mozart or other instrumental music, have been seen to cause a relaxation effect similar to white noise machines. If you need to calm your mind before drifting off, try playing some soft music. It may help to relax both your mind and body. There is a great playlist of tracks that help induce sleep and create a peaceful tune in the room while you sleep that can help you rest better.
5. Don’t take a shower or hot bath
If you normally shower in the morning but you switch it up and occasionally shower at night, you could be giving your brain a misleading message. It may think it’s time to wake up, causing you to sleep trouble. Also, hot showers can make you overheat which can make it difficult to fall and stay asleep.
Instead, stick to a regular showering schedule and don’t sway from it. Unless of course you really need a shower! Sleeping in your body sweat is not great for your skin or immune system. Just be sure to let your body temperature return to normal before going to bed or take a lukewarm shower.
6. Have your pet sleep on the floor or in their own bed
This may be a lonely trick, but it can do wonders for improving sleep. Your dog or cat may move around at night, causing you sleep disturbances. It can also lead to anxiety and stress from worrying about kicking or rolling over your pet.
Pet hair and dander can also lead to breathing difficulties at night. Furthermore, dirt and bacteria from your pet can get you sick, really adding to your sleep issues and possibly your health.
7. Use the right detergent and fabric softener for your bedsheets
What does laundry detergent have to do with sleep? If you have allergies or are sensitive to soaps and fabric softeners, your detergent could be keeping you awake at night.
On the opposite end, sometimes soft, sweet-smelling detergents have a calming effect and can help you sleep better. Be sure to experiment until you figure out what works best for you.
8. Try an air purifier or maybe a diffuser
This trick will only help if you have allergies or congestion issues that are keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep. Using an air purifier can help by improving allergy symptoms and reducing nasal congestion.
Here too, on the opposite end, diffusing lavender, chamomille, or other calming essential oils into the air in your bedroom can help you sleep better.
Bonus Tip: A good night's rest can improve your immune system
Is poor sleep making you feel sick or causing you pain? Can't figure out what's making you to toss and turn at night?
We can help determine if it's more than just a bad dream. Stop by your neighborhood GoHealth Urgent Care or save your spot online.