11 Tricks to Try in 2020
Anyone else have a case of holiday fatigue? Between the traveling, shopping, and parties, we’re tired. Like really tired. And we need help. So, we polled all of our well-rested friends for the best tips and tricks. Here, we’re spilling the secrets to sleeping well so we can finally get some rest in 2020. Happy snooze year!
1. Follow the 6/30 Rule:
This rule dictates no caffeine six hours before bed, and no screen time 30 minutes before bed. That means if you go to bed at 10pm, your last cup of tea or coffee should be at 4pm. This is because caffeine can actually stimulate your brain long after you physically feel the effects.
Likewise, the blue screen of your phone or TV suppresses melatonin, which is the chemical that tells your brain to feel tired. So just be sure to go dark 30 minutes before you’d like to fall asleep.
2. Quit Snoozing:
We know, this might just be one of the hardest secrets to sleeping well—but it’s worth it. The problem with snoozing is the pattern of waking up and going back to sleep breaks up your REM cycle. This causes what’s known as “sleep inertia,” which is basically that lingering feeling of tiredness and brain fog. Turns out, when you snooze, you do lose—alertness, that is.
3. Sleep Coordination:
We actually found this tip quite intriguing. It’s based on the idea that sleep happens in 90-minutes cycles, and the goal is to wake up at the end of one. That means sleeping for six, seven-and-a-half, or nine-hour increments.
For example, if you need to wake up by 7:00 am, you should aim to go to bed by 1:00am, 11:30pm, or 10:00pm. This will make your brain will feel ready to wake up, and you’ll be less likely to hit that snooze button. People who practice sleep coordination also swear they feel more alert the entire day.
4. Take a Bath:
There’s a little science behind this one. The theory is that taking a bath raises your body temperature, which then drops when you get out. Research shows this can actually induce and improve sleep—not to mention it’s just plain relaxing! Showers can work too if that’s your preference.
5. Supportive Mattress:
This one probably comes as no surprise, but the right mattress goes a long way in sleeping well. Not sure if your mattress is the problem? If you sleep hot, wake up in the middle of the night, or experience back problems, you should think about replacing your mattress.
6. Keep your Sheets Fresh:
A National Sleep Foundation poll found that over 75% of people are excited to go to bed when their sheets are fresh. It also doesn’t hurt to have sheets that are soft and comfortable, so treat yourself to a couple good sets and wash routinely. It’s one of the easiest secrets to sleeping well!
7. Use a White Noise Machine:
You may not even realize it, but background noise is a leading cause of waking up in the middle of the night. This can be anything from a car driving by to your spouse sneezing in their sleep. A white noise machine will actually block those noises, promoting deep and undisturbed sleep.
Note: A white noise machine creates sound that doesn’t follow a pattern, so your brain won’t focus on it. This is better than a sound machine that mimics something like ocean or forest noises, which can actually make your subconscious more tuned in and alert.
8. Lower the Thermostat:
Our body temperature drops before we go to sleep, and then rises a few hours into the cycle. This is why we wake up hot, and why the National Sleep Foundation recommends lowering the thermostat before bed. The best temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees.
Tip: If you have the technology available, such as The Nest app, you can set the temperature to drop after bedtime if that is too cold to start.
9. Essential Oils:
Feeling relaxed and tranquil is a big part of getting good sleep. So if you’re open to the idea of essential oils, try dabbing a few drops on your wrists and forehead to get nice and calm. Scents like wild lavender, eucalyptus, and chamomile are favored by those who practice this method.
We know, New England can get humid, but hear us out. Studies show that adding moisture can help your sleep more soundly, especially if you’re prone to waking up with a cough or scratchy throat. Even better, it can actually help you look more refreshed, which is pretty much the only reason we need!
11. Blackout Curtains
Nothing promotes sleep better than a cave-like environment. You can achieve this with some blackout curtains, and try French curtain rods to go the extra mile. These are curtain rods that wrap completely around to meet the wall. This eliminates that gap that allows light to sneak into the room, and creating a truly dark and sleep-inducing space.