How to Sleep Better: Your Guide for Good ZZZs
November 3, 2020 | Casper Editorial Team

Is something keeping you up at night? 

Maybe you find yourself tossing and turning as you try to drift off. Or maybe you wake up before dawn feeling hot, congested, and distracted. When this issue persists, it can be frustrating. From fatigued mornings to long, sleepless nights, it feels like there’s no remedy in sight. The good news? There are many simple tricks you can use to facilitate a healthier sleep cycle, from your nighttime routine to comparing mattresses to find your perfect fit. 

So, if you find yourself wondering How can I sleep better, the tips below are for you.

#1 Reset Your Sleep Schedule

The best way to sleep is consistently. Have you ever heard of “sleep hygiene?” We brush and floss every morning and evening (well, some of us do). Why? Because good oral hygiene decreases the likelihood of dental issues.

Likewise, good habits can help limit issues when it comes to sleep.

When we sleep on a consistent schedule, we develop healthy circadian rhythms. Essentially, our bodies know when it’s time to go to sleep and when it’s time to wake up. We have an internal alarm clock that we calibrate through our sleep hygiene. This is the reason why parents set a bedtime for their children and why you should consider one, too! Healthy sleep habits lead to a more stable circadian rhythm, which sleep experts believe is key in getting restful sleep. 

To maintain good sleep hygiene: 

  • Go to sleep at the same time every night
  • Get up at the same time every morning
  • Avoid sleeping in on weekends and holidays
  • Don’t catnap throughout the day 

We know. Your weekends are your reward for a long workweek! Why shouldn’t you be able to sleep in? The reality is that the more consistent you are in your sleeping routines, the more consistent your quality of sleep will be.

It’s a lot like dental health; not flossing one morning won’t devastate your teeth. Neither will a few extra hours dozing off on Sunday destroy your sleep cycle. However, if you’re trying to overcome a problem, you’ll need to take more serious measures.

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#2 Make Sure You’re Tired

It’s hard to get to bed at 10pm if you’re wide awake.

When you’re establishing your new sleep pattern, roll back your bedtime just 10-15 minutes per night. This way, your body will have time to adjust.

In addition, make sure you’re actually starting to get sleepy by bedtime. How?

  • Limit caffeine – Is your afternoon latte the only thing that gets you all the way to 5pm? Unfortunately, the effects of caffeine can linger in your system for hours. According to a study in The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, drinking coffee six hours before bed can disrupt your sleep for a full hour! For better sleep, make sure your last cup of coffee or tea is at noon. 
  • Exercise – Getting sufficient exercise can quiet your body and mind. Follow healthy guidelines for your workout routine, aiming for at least 20 minutes of moderate exercise per day. Be sure to stand and move around every few hours.
  • Limit blue light – Studies indicate that the wavelengths present in blue light can lead to poor sleep. What glows blue? Unfortunately, your laptop and smartphone. Consider turning off your screens before bed, or installing applications that create warmer light as sunset approaches.

In addition to these lifestyle changes, a healthy bedtime routine can help you wind down for a good night’s sleep.

#3 Create a Bedtime Routine 

What do you usually do before bed? Watch Netflix until you’re half-asleep? Scroll through social media? That’s certainly one kind of bedtime routine, but it may not be the most soothing for your body and mind.

If you have trouble actually falling asleep, a consistent routine and ritual can help you relax and signal your brain that you’re preparing for bed. Consider including the following activities in your routine:

  • Turning off overhead lights an hour before bed
  • Taking a hot shower
  • Self-massage with lavender aromatherapy oil
  • Lighting a candle on your bed stand
  • Drinking a cup of caffeine-free tea
  • Reading
  • Journaling or making a to-do list for the next day
  • Meditation

Try limiting your screen time as much as possible. You want to send healthy signals to your brain that it’s time to “power down.” It’s not time for stimulation, it’s time for relaxation. You can’t just tuck your body beneath that comfy duvet, you need to tuck your mind away too if you want a better night’s sleep. 

#4 Block Out Light and Noise

Now you’re ready to fall asleep. What’s the next step? Ensuring that nothing wakes you up in the middle of the night or the wee hours of the morning. Unfortunately, light and sound are both common culprits of poor sleep. 

Consider the following solutions:

  • Blackout curtains are ideal for blocking out ambient light from streetlights and the sunrise.
  • A sleep mask is ideal if other people in your household go to bed late or wake up earlier than you do. It’s also great for travel.
  • Earplugs filter out noise (background noise, especially) that might be preventing you from getting restful sleep.
  • If a little ambient noise helps you go to sleep, consider a noise machine. This is also a great option if you find earplugs uncomfortable for any reason.

With a few of these tools (or all of them), you might just find that sleep comes easier. 

#5 Choose the Right Mattress

Another key to better sleep? Finding a comfortable sleep position. If you find yourself tossing and turning all night, your mattress could be at fault.

Do you have any of the following problems?

  • You can feel the springs through your mattress
  • You feel your partner’s every movement
  • The mattress sags in the middle
  • You wake up with back pain and neck pain
  • You have allergies that act up at night

Any of the above could be solved by a new mattress. For saggy mattresses with little support, you could consider buying a mattress pad as a temporary fix. However, if your mattress has trapped allergens that are affecting your sleep, or it’s so saggy you feel like you’re sleeping on a sand dune, it’s time for an upgrade. 

After all, if you’ve had your mattress for 7 (or more!) years, you may have missed out on some of the best technological innovations in the sleep industry.

These include:

  • Memory foam – Memory foam mattresses provide more support than their spring counterparts. Because foam conforms to your body, it’s comfortable for just about every sleep position. When you share a mattress, your partner’s movements will be less perceptible. In addition, memory foam traps fewer allergens and dust particles.
  • Hybrid mattresses – Hybrid mattresses provide the best of memory foam and spring technology. They’re ideal for people who need more airflow or maximum support during sleep.

Both kinds of mattresses may feature zoned support to help you align your spine whether you sleep on your side, stomach, or back. Depending on your needs, look for additional features like gel cooling and ergonomic zones. 

Of all the items on this list, a new mattress has the biggest monetary cost. Remember that it’s a long-term investment in your health and wellness, too. Learn about the best time to buy a mattress and consider buying a mattress online, where you can avoid markups and delivery costs.

#6 Troubleshoot Common Sleep Issues with Pillows and Sheets

Once you’ve tackled your sleep routine, you might still wake up throughout the night. Luckily, a small upgrade to your sleep situation can help improve the issue that’s bothering you. 

Here are some common sleep issues and their solutions:

  • You wake up hot – If you wake up sweating, your sheets may be to blame. Natural fibers are more breathable than their polyester counterparts. Sateen, linen, and cotton are all great, airy choices for hot sleepers. If you need further measures, make sure you’re using a cooling mattress cover. A breathable mattress protector can help keep you cool and protect your mattress if you do have an off, sweaty night.
  • Your neck hurts – Finding the right pillow for your sleeping style can take a little research. Let’s make it simple: side sleepers often do well with memory foam pillows that keep their heads aligned with their spines. Don’t forget to grab a second pillow to hug or put between your legs! Conversely, stomach and back sleepers don’t need much elevation off the mattress itself, so pliable down and down alternative pillows are ideal. 
  • You wake up with racing thoughts – Modern life is stressful. Many of us find our minds rather than our bodies pose the biggest threat to quality sleep. However, a weighted blanket can help us feel calm from the outside in. It’s just like your dog’s thunder jacket! 

Springing Back From Setbacks

We all have off nights of sleep from time to time. If you have a single sleepless night (or a few), don’t despair. You can always check with your doctor to see if underlying health issues are behind your bad sleep. However, in most cases, going back to a regular sleep schedule will eventually yield results. 

Avoid the temptation to catch up with naps, and take extra care to avoid caffeine, get sleepy, and perform your nighttime rituals. With a bit of effort, you’ll be dreaming in no time!

Get Comfortable with Casper

Are you looking for the right mattress to carry you off to dreamland? Our line of mattresses uses state-of-the-art sleep technology to provide you with the comfort, support, and airflow needed for a good night’s sleep. Upgrade your bedding with natural fiber sheets and the pillows best suited to your sleeping style. 

With free shipping within the contiguous U.S., sweet dreams are a few clicks away. Reach out today to get started on your new sleep journey! 

Sources

Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Caffeine effects on sleep taken 0, 3, or 6 hours before going to bed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24235903/

Harvard Health Publishing. Blue Light Has a Dark Side. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side

American Heart Association. How to Sleep Better with a Bedtime Routine. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/sleep/how-to-sleep-better-with-a-bedtime-routine