There are a handful of helpful tips and tricks experts swear by, to combat sleep problems both big and small. Whether they’ll help you get into bed more relaxed or get out of bed more rested, we’ve compiled our definitive list of all the best sleep tips.
1. Don’t stress about sleep
We’re certainly not saying to shrug off your shuteye like it doesn’t matter, but don’t stress yourself out about getting adequate time in bed, either. The more anxious you get about getting enough sleep, the more difficult it will be to actually get any.
2. Try a new pillow
Dust mites might just love your pillows even more than you do. In some people, the build up of these critters can trigger allergic reactions that make it harder to sleep, according to The New York Times. Generally, pillows should be replaced every 12 to 18 months, WebMD reported.
You’ll also want to make sure you’re sleeping with the right pillow
. Stomach sleepers, for example, need very thin, flat pillows, and side sleepers need something a little firmer to fill the distance between their ear and shoulder.
3. Combat snoring
About 37 million American adults snore regularly. It certainly disturbs a bed partner’s sleep, but “sawing logs” can disrupt the snorer’s sleep, too, leading to more daytime sleepiness, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Some simple tips may help you keep it under control, like sleeping on your side instead of your back, avoiding alcohol before bed and even losing weight. Many experts recommend sewing a tennis ball into the front pocket of an old t-shirt, and then wearing it backwards to make sleeping on your back uncomfortable enough to help you stay on your side.
4. Get some sunlight first thing in the morning
There’s nothing quite like bright light to trigger your brain to stay awake and alert. Getting some natural light — you’ll want to aim for about 15 minutes — first thing in the morning can help night owls reset their biological clocks and ease into sleep a little earlier.
5. Get out of bed if you really can’t sleep
If all else fails, get out of bed. Continuing to lie there only stresses you out more, making it even more difficult to nod off. Experts recommend getting out of bed to do something else — as long it’s relaxing and doesn’t involve bright light. Then, climb back into bed when you’re really tired.
6. Try separate blankets in a shared bed
If your bed partner is constantly stealing all the covers or one of you sweats while the other shivers, it might be a good idea to try making the bed with separate sets of sheets. “Use only one fitted sheet to start,” Robert Oexman, D.O., director of the Sleep to Live Institute told HuffPost in 2013. “Then make the top-of-bed with twin-size flat sheets and blankets to meet each person’s needs. If you’re worried about how that will look — no problem — you can cover this up with a single comforter when dressing the bed each morning.”
7. Nap — wisely
When done right, a little daytime snooze won’t destroy your nighttime slumber, and can boost memory, alertness and job performance while you’re at it. Just make sure you limit your nap to 30 minutes, max, and don’t snooze too close to bedtime.
8. Power down an hour before bed
Dim the lights and turn off all your devices — smartphones, laptops, TVs, all of which belong outside the bedroom — about 60 minutes before bedtime. Bright light is one of the biggest triggers to our brains that it’s time to be awake and alert, so start sending the opposite signal early.
9. Set an alarm to go to bed
If you find yourself consistently wishing you had hit the hay earlier but staying on track with a calming bedtime routine is virtually impossible for you, consider setting yourself an alarm — to go to bed.
10. Resist the urge to snooze
Sleep caught between soundings of that alarm is just not high-quality sleep. The snooze button often disturbs REM sleep, which can make us feel groggier than when we wake up during other stages of sleep. You don’t have to launch out of bed in the morning, but setting the alarm for a slightly later time and skipping a snooze cycle or two could bring big benefits.