Whether or not you’re a resolutions person, chances are your sleep could use a little help. We’ve all heard the stats- Americans simply aren’t getting enough sleep, and it’s having serious effects on our mental, physical, and emotional health. The holidays, with the late nights and activity packed schedules, can wreck even more havoc than usual on our sleep, so if you’ve been thinking about upgrading your rest, there has never been a better time.
A new year is a great opportunity to revisit what is and isn’t working in general, and this also applies to your sleep. Sometimes poor sleep patterns are a sign of a bigger issue, but more often than not, they can be fixed or greatly reduced with just a few simple tweaks to your usual schedule.
By taking stock of what may be hindering your sleep and committing to a few resolutions to improve it, you can begin 2022 feeling relaxed, rested, and energized to take on the year. Not all of these may apply to you and taking on too many things at once can be overwhelming, so choose one or two that you think will make the most difference in your sleep and begin applying them today.
Resolution #1: Cut out all liquids two hours before bed
Having a restless sleep could be caused by something as simple as having a full bladder. Waking up throughout the night for a bathroom break not only interrupts your sleep, but it can also keep you from going into the deep and restorative levels of sleep that you need to be truly rested and refreshed.
Simply cut out all liquids two hours before bed and you’ll go to bed with an empty bladder and enjoy a full night of uninterrupted sleep.
Resolution #2: Get outside every day
Getting a healthy dose of natural light is hugely important to a good night’s sleep because it helps to regulate your circadian rhythm and signal to your body when it’s time to be awake and when it’s time to sleep. When you expose yourself to natural light in the early morning and midday, it signals to your brain that it’s time to be awake and helps to support your sleep-wake cycle, so you’ll feel energized during the day and sleepy in the evening.
The more time you spend outside, the better, but any little bit is still helpful. Walking to work, going outside for your morning coffee break, or eating your lunch outdoors are all simple ways to fit some outdoor time into your day.
Resolution #3: Put away your phone 1-2 hours before bed
Just like light will help you to feel awake during the day, it can work against you if you use it in the evening. The blue light emitted from our devices’ screens, like our smartphones and tablets, mimics the light from the sun and tricks our brains into thinking it’s daytime. Not only that, but our devices give us an overload of information and can stimulate us when we should instead be winding down.
Scrolling around on our phones before bed can leave us wired and awake, even if we feel tired at the same time. Putting your device away, ideally two hours before bed, is a great step in helping us to ease into a good night’s sleep. If you’re used to using your device before bed, try slowly increasing the time between when you use it and when you go to bed, rather than giving it up two hours before all at once.
Resolution #4: Get a sleep mask or black out curtains
For the vast majority of human history, we had no light at night except for the light of the moon. This meant, except during a full moon, we sleep in almost complete darkness, and this is still what we require for a restful sleep. With the invention of electricity, it’s very rare that we don’t have some kind of light coming into our bedrooms at night, whether it’s from an alarm clock, streetlamps, night lights, etc. To give yourself the opportunity to sleep in total darkness, you can begin using either blackout blinds or an eye mask.
Resolution #5: Get the temperature right
While it might be tempting to bundle up under blankets and keep the temperature in your room toasty while you sleep, it can actually affect the quality of your sleep. Experts say the optimal sleep temperature is between 60- and 67-degrees Fahrenheit, so aim to set your thermostat accordingly for a more comfortable sleep.
You can also regulate your temperature by choosing bedding that’s suited for the current season. Our down comforters are available in both summer and all-season fills, so you can choose the fill that’s right for you or rotate depending on the season.
Resolution #6: Invest in comfortable bedding
Slipping into a comfortable set of sheets not only helps you to improve the quality of your sleep but it also might just help you want to go to bed earlier. We carry three types of bedsheets: sateen cotton, percale, cotton, and European flax linen. All of our sheet are designed for maximum softness and comfort, but their qualities differ slightly, so you can choose a set that’s best for your sleeping requirements.
Our percale cotton is crisp, light, and breathable, making it great for warmer seasons and climates or anyone who tends to sleep warm. Our sateen cotton has a slightly smoother feel, and a tighter weave, making it better suited for cooler climates and seasons. Our European linen sheets are moisture wicking and temperature regulating, so they’re perfect for year-round use.
Resolution #7: Put on a pair of socks
This one can be particularly helpful for women, who tend to have colder feet than men. If your feet are freezing when you go to bed, you’ll have a harder time falling asleep. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it’s also more difficult for your body to regulate its temperature if your feet are really cold.
Simply putting on a pair of socks or sticking a hot water bottle by your feet can keep you feeling warm, cozy, and ready for sleep.
Resolution #8: Adjust your sleep schedule to an optimal time
This resolution may involve a little more commitment than the others, depending on your current sleep schedule, but it can make a world of difference to both the quality and quantity of your sleep. If you’re currently on a sleep schedule that doesn’t let you get the recommended 7-8 hours per night, you can readjust to a better sleep schedule in small increments until you get to where you want to be.
Every night, go to bed 10-15 minutes earlier than the night before until you’re getting your optimal amount of sleep.
Resolution #9: Practice relaxation techniques before bed
It can be hard to fall asleep when you’re feeling tense or stressed from the day’s events, and even if you do fall asleep, you may remain tense and anxious while you sleep (ever wake up with a tense jaw? Stress and tension were likely the cause!). Taking even a few moments to practice a relaxation technique before bed can help you to have a much more peaceful sleep. A guided meditation, deep breathing, or chi gong are just a simple relaxation techniques you can practice.