Some nights, no matter how comfortable your bed is, how busy your day was, or how much you know you need to be rested for tomorrow, a good night’s sleep still eludes you.
Maybe you’re staring at the ceiling, unable to turn your mind off. Maybe you’re tossing and turning all night or sweating while sleeping , never sinking into that deep REM sleep we all need. Or maybe you think you’re getting a good night of healthy sleep, but you wake up feeling so lethargic it’s like you never went to bed at all.
We’ve all been there—and fortunately, we can help. That’s why we’ve put together this guide of six tips for better sleep.
One solution for how to get better sleep is to maintain a consistent sleep schedule throughout the week. If you’re the kind of person who likes to stretch your sleep budget thin during the week, then catch up on the weekends, it’s probably bad news for your overall sleep quality.
However, your sleep quality can be greatly improved by keeping a consistent schedule.
Yes, this might mean going to bed a little earlier on weeknights and waking up a little earlier on weekends, but getting your body’s internal clock properly aligned in this way can have major long term benefits.
In fact, studies have shown that erratic sleep schedules can lead to a higher risk of:1
Whether you’re starting a new job, readjusting after traveling to a different time zone, or just trying to break an unhealthy pattern, it can be a challenge to adjust your sleep schedule.
Fortunately, we have some tips for that, too:
Are you in bed right now searching for tips on how to get a good night’s sleep? First of all, you’re busted! Second, you’re going to need to set aside your phone if you really want to sleep better.
Our sleep-wake cycle (also known as our circadian rhythm) is regulated by the production of the hormone melatonin. Studies have shown that the blue light emitted by cell phones restricts the production of melatonin.2 This means that staring at your phone in bed can literally convince your brain that it isn’t nighttime at all.
(And we’re not even going to get into the agitation or anxiety that can come from scrolling work emails or social media right before trying to sleep.)
To improve your sleep quality, try to stop using screens at least 30 minutes before bed. You might also try these sleep expert activities to help your brain relax:
REM sleep is the deepest part of our sleepy time cycle. This deeps sleep begins around 90 minutes after we’ve fallen asleep. Getting a healthy amount of uninterrupted REM sleep has been shown to be critically important for a number of reasons:3
However, if you’re a light sleeper, getting uninterrupted REM sleep can be easier said than done. To ensure nothing disturbs your slumber, you might try:
One activity that isn’t going to help you get better sleep is eating. Admittedly, we’ve all crept into the kitchen late at night to get something to munch on. But, if you’re having difficulty falling asleep, you may need to act like a gremlin, and stop eating after midnight (or well before).
Eating late and then lying down to go to sleep can cause heartburn or acid reflux, leaving you tossing and turning uncomfortably. Furthermore, if you’ve got a sweet tooth, your sugar high or caffeine intake might contribute to your insomnia.
Rather than having a late night snack, consider sipping on a cup of soothing, decaffeinated tea, such as chamomile or lavender tea. And if you do have to have a bedtime snack, consider these healthy late night snacks that will curve your cravings and mitigate your sleep disruption.
Studies have shown that staying active during the day and regularly exercising can lead to better sleep at night. But, there’s a cut-off point.
If you’re an evening exerciser, you’ll want to make sure that your workout is wrapped up at least an hour before you plan to sleep. Why?
Because exercising raises your heart rate and body temperature, it can be harder to get to quality sleep afterwards. You need a proper cool-down before getting into bed.
You’re sticking to a disciplined sleep schedule, cutting down on screen time, and are active everyday. And yet, when night comes, you’re still tossing and turning. Maybe the problem isn’t you at all.
Some signs you might need a new mattress include:
Your pillows and sheets can also have a significant impact on your sleep quality.
Now that you know our tips on how to sleep better, how much sleep do you really need? Experts break down the recommended hours of sleep like this:4
(We skipped over children and younger age groups because they probably aren’t reading this. And, honestly, we’re a little jealous that experts recommend they sleep for ten hours per day.)
While these are the recommended ranges for each age group, there are also what’s known as “acceptable” amounts of sleep that expand the spread for each cohort. For instance, until age 25, it’s normal to need up to 11 hours of sleep. Whereas by the time you’ve hit 65, you may feel fully rested on only five hours of sleep per night.
Essentially, everyone’s a little different. While consulting a chart can be helpful, your own sleep needs are going to be unique to you.
The hours of sleep you need depend a lot on how active you are and your overall health. To assess if you’re getting the optimal amount of sleep, consider the following questions:
If you answered yes to either of these questions, then you’re probably skipping out on restful sleep.
A good way to test this—especially for those of you with a strict wake-up time—is to see how long you sleep on a day off when there’s no alarm to rouse you. That’s not just your body recovering from a tough week; it’s your body telling you how much deep sleep you naturally require.
You might also consider keeping a sleep journal or using a fitness tracker to log how many hours of restful sleep you’re getting. If you’re still struggling to suss out your snoozing statistics, you can consider participating in a sleep study.
At Casper, we want everyone to get the rest they need and deserve. That’s why we’ve developed our innovative mattresses, which maximize comfort and support. Plus, our bedding is designed to optimize breathability without sacrificing coziness.
Take our Mattress Quiz today to find your perfect mattress, have it delivered for free (and with the security of a 100-night risk-free trial), and let Casper help you get a better night’s sleep.