8 Ways to Get Better Sleep
I love hanging out in bed cuddling, and I require a blissful seven hours of sleep a night—minimum. Which is why I’ve been a little cranky about the less than satisfying slumber that’s plagued me over the last few weeks. I can never sleep on planes, and I rarely sleep well the first night in a new place, so when I bounce around a lot while traveling, I often end up feeling like I need a vacation at the end of it! All the excitement of traveling makes winding down for bed more difficult, not to mention the fact that I find myself waking up in the middle of the night.
In search of a solution, I discovered a few ways to create my own personal sanctuary. Whether I’m at home, or in a hotel, I look for ways to make the bedroom an ideal place for sleep. The result? A perfect night’s sleep. So if you’re in need of some much-needed zzz’s, here’s the scoop on what worked for me.
Monitors give off blue light that keeps your brain from producing melatonin — the potent antioxidant that helps you to sleep. Throughout the day, we’re constantly overstimulated by our computers, social networks, cell phones and TVs. That’s exactly why it’s important to clear out all electronics from your bedroom. At first, I thought having a TV in my bedroom would be relaxing (I love watching my shows with my hubby), but the opposite turned out to be true. Instead of being tired and ready for bed for bed, I ended up feeling more awake and stimulated.
Since bedrooms should really only be a place for sleeping, I decided to make it my own personal gadget-free oasis. I moved my TV, laptop and DVD player into the office, so I wouldn’t be tempted to watch TV or check my email before bed. I also decided to follow a tech curfew, giving myself 30 minutes before bed that I used to unwind without electronics. Instead, I used that time to relax and write in my gratitude journal, which helped start my bedtime routine on a more positive note.
Are You Afraid of the Dark?
Because you shouldn’t be. In fact, you should embrace it. My second step in creating a peaceful sanctuary was to ensure that my room was pitch black. According to sleep expert Dr. Lisa Shives, your bedroom should be completely dark. In fact, she explains that light actually tells your brain, “Hey, you should probably be awake!”
The darker your room, the better your sleep. Most hotel rooms have blackout curtains, but if your bedroom at home doesn’t it’s a good idea to invest in some heavy curtains to block out external street light. Even the glow of your iPad, smartphone and other electronics can keep you up, but that shouldn’t be a problem if you’ve already eliminated them from your room.
As a backup, I always keep an eye mask on-hand. They’re great at home, when traveling, on airplanes, etc.