Getting a Good Night’s Sleep Has Never Been Easier

By Alyse Borkan  |  Feb 25, 2016
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We’ve all fallen asleep thousands of times, yet some nights we still get in bed only to stare at the ceiling as though we’ve forgotten how to do it. According to a new report from the CDC, more than one third of Americans aren’t getting enough sleep. Clocking less than seven hours a night puts adults at risk for a slew of negative side effects, such as depression, heart disease, forgetfulness, delayed reaction time, and high blood pressure.

While there are a countless amount of reasons for why you might not be getting the shuteye you should (email overload, crying babies, Netflix episodes…), we want to help you maximize the time you spend in bed. Follow our tips below to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Stay on track:

Contrary to popular belief, you can’t catch up on sleep over the weekend. Cue the confetti — you don’t have to miss brunch for a few extra hours in bed. But you do have to go to bed and wake up at around the same time each night. Consistency is key. You probably already set an alarm for the morning, but setting one at night to remind you to go sleep can be equally helpful.

Turn your bedroom into a zen den:

Blackout curtains? Check. Humidifier? Check. Noise machine? Check. Optimizing your sleep environment is a quick way to surround yourself with zzz’s. Make sure your room is dark, cool, and free of stressful sounds. Also, your mattress. If you’re still sleeping in the same bed you kept stuffed animals on, it might be time for an upgrade. We have just the one for you.

Don’t get cold feet:

Heating cold feet causes vasodilation (dilation of the blood vessels), which cues bedtime to your brain. Throw on fuzzy socks right before you crawl under the covers. Can’t find two of the same? Don’t sweat it — life is too short to worry about matching socks anyway.

Just breathe:

Have you heard of the “4-7-8” method? It’s a trick sleepers swear by. Start by exhaling completely through your mouth. Then close your mouth and inhale through your nose for four seconds. Hold there for seven seconds, and then exhale for eight. Repeat, repeat, asleep.

Leave the sheep at the farm where they belong:

Counting sheep is a myth adults tell kids, similar to tooth fairy or the Easter bunny. The truth is keeping track of all those sheep is too much work. The last thing you want to do is activate the parts of the brain that are associated with processing information. Instead, dream about something relaxing — like where you want to go on your next vacation. We hear Hawaii is nice this time of year.

Better to be safe than hungry:

If you’re in bed already hungry for breakfast tomorrow, don’t go to sleep dreaming of a bacon, egg, and cheese. Instead, treat yourself to a late-night snack. A small, carbohydrate-heavy mini meal with a bit of protein an hour or two before bed triggers the brain to start producing serotonin, a calming neurotransmitter.

Make the snooze button your frenemy:

We know it can feel like the snooze button is calling out to you from the glow of your phone in the morning, but resist the urge. Sleep caught between the sounds of your alarm is barely sleep. The snooze button just disturbs REM sleep, which can make you feel groggier when you finally get up. Bonus: you can use the extra time you’re not spending in bed to pick up a hot cup of coffee.

Don’t lose sleep over it:

Did you remember to lock the door? Send that email to your boss? Order more toilet paper? If you’re in bed thinking about everything that keeps you up at night, try thinking in images, not words. It’s nearly impossible to clear your mind of all thoughts, but switching the language from sentences to shapes may help you doze off sooner.

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