Recommendations for a Restful Night’s Sleep
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Getting a good night’s sleep is something I have struggled with for as long as I can remember. As a child, my family nicknamed me “wiggle worm” because I tossed and turned so much while I slept and, unfortunately, that is something I never grew out of.
As I got older, my sleep became more and more restless. I wake up constantly throughout the night and will occasionally have a hard time going back to sleep. I’m currently battling with headaches from clenching my jaw throughout the night (something that is commonly referred to as “TMJD” [temporomandibular joint disorder]). Mouthguards don’t help because I hate them, spit them out in the middle of the night, then accuse my cat of stealing them before I find it on the floor beside my bed.
In the past I’ve tried melatonin and valerian root to help me sleep better. Both helped a little but the more I used them the less effective they became. Plus, valerian root stinks to high heaven so keeping it on my nightstand was not ideal.
I’ve also tried many expensive, gimmicky items (I do love a good gimmick), but below is a comprehensive list of the best remedies I have found for a good, restful night’s sleep.
(And for all of you Type A folks like myself, don’t let this list overwhelm you!
Implement a few items at a time. Start with the ones that jump out to you the most. And who knows, maybe a few of the suggestions is all you that you need to get a good night’s sleep – lucky dog!)
Recommendations for a Restful Night’s Sleep
- Avoid exercising, eating late, or doing chores too close to your bedtime. Your body and your mind need time to wind down after a long day. Try to sit and relax about an hour before you head to bed.
- Head to your bed well before your desired “sleep time”. If your goal is to be asleep by 11pm in order to get your 8 hours (or whatever your desired sleep number is), plan on heading to bed by 10-10:30 at the latest!
- Take a book or a magazine to help distract your brain from the day’s activities.
- Figure out what’s best for you to sleep in – even consider sleeping in the nude!
- If you wake up tangled in heaps of clothing and comforter or suffer from night sweats, heavy flannel pajamas may not be the best option for you! But they might be for someone who gets super chilly at night.
- Set your thermostat to range from 65-68 degrees. Think I’m crazy? Read on.
- Use blackout curtains on all of your windows.
- We even painted our bedroom in “Shadow”, Benjamin Moore’s 2017 Color of the Year. It’s a deep purple that almost looks black in some lighting, but it creates a heavenly, dark bedroom that I sometimes refer to as a cave. I wanted as little light or brightness as possible in our bedroom, as you’ll see in the following suggestions.
- Turn alarm clocks and electronics away from you to reduce unnecessary light.
- Avoid using electronic devices in the bedroom.
- This includes phones, televisions, tablets, etc.
- I totally cheat on this one. I do keep my phone on my nightstand because sometimes I get so bored when I wake up in the middle of the night. I also keep my Kindle there and will frequently read.
- I HIGHLY recommend using any devices like this on the lowest light setting – exhausting your eyes will make your brain want to go back to sleep faster.
- Take a super warm bath right before bedtime.
- And if you really want to indulge yourself, fill the tub with lavender-scented bubble bath and/or Epsom salts.
- Speaking of, fill your bedroom with lavender-scented everything! Lavender is said to be one of the best scents to promote sleep.
- Don’t like lavender? Don’t worry, there are many other essential oils said to promote sleep, such as peppermint, chamomile, among many others.
- Cover all lights from your electronics.
- I have used towels and washcloths to cover lights, but these little things are brilliant! Who knew?!
- Use white noise machines or really loud air purifiers to block out other noises.
- This is my go-to for white noise machines, but there are a ton out there to choose from.
- I’m not suggesting an air purifier with 5,000 Google reviews talking about how quiet it is – I look for negative reviews stating that the machine is as loud as a train! (Okay, not quite that bad, but again, my goal is to use it to clean the air AND to cover up other general noises.)
- Sleep with a tri-core pillow.
- Not only is it great for your cervical (neck) spine, but it really helps to prevent me from clenching and grinding throughout the night when I manage to stay lying on my back.
- Look into Procera Sleep and/or Quietude (I also like all of Procera’s and Quietude’s other products.)
- Like I said, melatonin and valerian root used to help a little, but these two products really and truly quiet my brain. I was on the verge of begging for an Ambien prescription despite the concern that I would wake up feeling drugged or like I get hit by a bus. These two help me go to sleep and stay asleep and they keep my brain from waking me up in the middle of the night to think about completely unnecessary things.
- Make sure your bed is comfortable. This might sound like a no-brainer, but it’s really important.
- Is your mattress comfortable and good for your body?
- Do you have a good pillow?
- Do you have sheets that make you want to crawl into bed at night? (This does not have to be a huge investment – my favorite sheets are some of the cheapest on Amazon!)
- Invest in a good comforter. Again, this may not have to be a huge investment. I did invest in a down comforter from The Company Store and this snuggable coverlet from Sunday Citizen, but to each their own.
- I know for a fact I did not go for the top-of-the-line down comforter, but I did spend a decent amount of money for something I plan on having forever.