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When was the last time you got a truly good night's sleep? Yeah, we can't remember either.
In fact, the National Institute of Health estimates that one in three American adults in the U.S. suffers from occasional bouts of insomnia, while one in 10 suffer from chronic insomnia. Lack of sleep means a poor immune system and other consequences for our well-being. Sleep can balance our appetites by helping to regulate hormone levels that play a role in our feelings of hunger and fullness. Reduced creativity, moodiness, and a lack of motivation are just some effects of sleep deprivation. Quality sleep plays a direct role in how full, energetic, and successful our lives can be.
While you may be a pro at catching up on missed sleep, you may need some help in getting the best sleep possible. In the spirit of National Sleep Awareness Week, we want you to have access to high-quality sleep every night. Our bedding experts share their tips on how to get your best night’s rest!
01. Evaluate what you're sleeping on.
Are you a back or stomach sleeper? Then you'll want a mattress on the firmer side and a pillow that is thin and flat. This rule also applies to anyone suffering from back pain. If you're a side sleeper, you may find that a firm mattress provides discomfort to the hips and shoulders. Try sleeping on a softer surface with a firm pillow that props your head and aligns the spine.
02. Invest in quality sheets and bedding.
In a 2012 National Sleep Foundation poll, nine out of 10 Americans rated the comfortable feel of the mattress, luxury sheets, and bedding as crucial to getting a good night’s sleep. We spend a third of our lives in bed, so it's worth investing in the best you can afford. In the linen world, cotton is king. Our bedding experts recommend sheet sets and duvet covers made from 100 percent extra-long or long staple cotton. A thread count ranging between 300 and 400 is softer and will last longer than other thread counts.
Dr. Ning Pan, a textiles and clothing professor at the University of California at Davis, describes thread count as “a convenient way to describe yarn thickness.” Dr. Pan confirms, that the most thread that can realistically be woven into one square inch is 400. Customers should be wary of products boasting a higher number. Other manufactures can place multiple threads into the fabric that are not actually woven in. This process increases the thread count but does not increase the overall hand feel or fineness. In order for a manufacturer to add more threads per square inch, the threads themselves need to be thinner, which decreases the quality and longevity of your linen.
03. Maintain order in your sleeping environment.
It’s true: A clean, clutter-free room actually helps you sleep better at night. In fact, those who make their beds every day reported getting a better night’s sleep than those who do not. The process of turning down a bed and sliding into fresh sheets is a bedtime routine that readies the mind for sleep.
04. Exercise regularly.
The National Sleep Foundation found that regular vigorous exercisers reported getting better sleep. In fact, vigorous, moderate and light exercisers were 20 percent more likely to report getting a good night’s sleep than non-exercisers. Exercising just three to four times a week for 30 minutes makes a big difference in enhancing sleep quality. Avoid exercising too close to bedtime as it can make it harder for you to fall asleep due to those post-workout endorphins that leave you feeling awake and alert.
05. Keep it cool.
An environment that is too hot or too cold is disruptive to sleep. Body temperatures are linked to the amount of deep sleep we receive in a night. Cooler body temperatures lead to more deep sleep. Experts recommend keeping your environment between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. In other words, not too hot and not too cold, but just right.
06. Power off all screens.
Many of us are in front of our screens from sunup to sundown. All lights, whether natural or not, stimulate the brain, making us feel awake. Begin dimming lights and powering off all your screens 60 minutes before bed. It’s a simple habit to form but can save you lots of tossing and turning come bedtime.
07. Read a real book.
Reading a book under soft lighting is a great way to prepare your mind for sleep. Avoid reading on back-lit devices and try reading something light-hearted. A book with a gripping story line might keep you up, not put you to sleep.
08. Take a warm shower or bath.
A warm shower or bath not only calms the mind and relaxes the body, but it also helps with sleep. A change in the body’s temperature from a warm bath to a cool room signals the body to produce the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.
09. Cut the caffeine six hours before bed.
A cup of joe may be all you need to make it through the afternoon lull, but be warned! Researchers have found that consuming caffeine six hours before bed resulted in significantly diminished sleep quality and quantity. Skip the PM caffeine, and you'll notice yourself falling asleep faster.
10. Resist the urge to hit snooze.
One survey found that more than one-third of us are guilty of hitting snooze at least three times every morning. More than half of people ages 25 to 34 press snooze every day. Sleep caught between alarms is not high-quality sleep. Because that extra sleep happens at the end of your sleep cycle, they are less restful. Snoozers report feeling more groggy or tired than when the initial alarm sounded. Instead, set your alarm a bit a later in the mornings and do your best to rise soon after it rings.
Sleep plays a critical role in our health and well-being. While experts recommend that we get between seven and a half to nine hours of sleep per night, getting more than six hours is difficult for many of us. With these tips you can ensure that you get the best-quality sleep, even if you can't get the full quantity.