24 Little Tricks to Get Your Best Night’s Sleep Ever

Hizkiail - June 4, 2021

Between caring for the kids, cleaning the house, and maintaining professional responsibilities, sleep can start to seem like a luxury. That’s why learning how to get your best night’s sleep when, let’s be honest, you have such little time for it, is important. A loss of sleep can have detrimental effects on your day to day. It can impede your ability to think, reason, and problem solve. It has also been known to age your skin, cause weight gain, and kill your sex drive — issues that no one wants to deal with.

Whether you’ve been having trouble falling and staying asleep, or simply want to get the best sleep you’ve ever had, here are a few simple sleep tips and tricks you can follow to easily improve your nightly sleep quality. You’ll be sure to get a revitalizing sleep every single night thanks to these expert-approved tips.

Consider your environment.

According to Dr. Amiinah Kung, an allergist and immunologist at Northwestern Medicine Central Du Page, poor sleep can be explained by allergies, especially to things like dust mites, pets, and mold. “Itchy eyes, congestion, runny nose, and postnasal drip can prevent you from falling asleep or wake you up during the night,” Kung says. Try taking an over the counter antihistamine or use a nasal spray to ease symptoms. Keeping your pets out of the bedroom and washing your sheets regularly can also help.

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Get to the root of the problem with a professional.

Sleep medicine specialist Dr. Rafael Pelayo says if you’ve already tried a number of these suggestions and still aren’t seeing improvements, you’re going to want to consult a medical professional to get to the root of your sleep problems. “At that point, it can be helpful to see a sleep specialist, who might recommend cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or another treatment to get you back on track,” Pelayo said. “In most cases, sleep will improve if you find and address what’s actually hindering it — whether that’s anxiety or something else.”

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Cut down on caffeine.

If you’re having trouble falling asleep, having too much caffeine throughout the day may be the issue, according to Harvard Health Publishing. “For some people, a single cup of coffee in the morning means a sleepless night. Caffeine can also increase the need to urinate during the night.” Try reducing your caffeine intake or getting rid of it altogether to if it’s affecting your sleep.

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Try aromatherapy.

It’s easier to feel peaceful when you feel like you’re lying in a bed of lavender flowers in a beautiful meadow. According to recent research published in Nursing in Critical Care, lavender essential oils can reduce anxiety and increase quality of sleep. Sounds good to us!

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Keep a sleep diary.

When menopausal women kept a nightly sleep diary and spoke to a sleep coach on the phone for six sessions, they experienced fewer insomnia symptoms, according to research published by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. A sleep coach might not be available in your area, so consider using the SleepBot app instead, which functions as a virtual guide. It will help track your sleep patterns so you can better understand what’s disrupting your rest, such as noisy neighbors or a 4 PM coffee. It also offers tips to follow for a better night ahead.

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Wind down from the day.

Your body needs some time to wind down after a hectic day, so stop reading emails or scrolling through Instagram once you get into bed. “This period is crucial in separating the chaos of the day from the quiet of bedtime,” Dr. Makekau says. Try turning on a podcast or drawing in an adult coloring book before you crawl in the sheets.

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Consider having a later bedtime.

Just because you crawl into bed at a decent hour doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get more sleep. “Plan to be in bed only for the time you’re truly sleeping,” says Dr. Khan. First, figure out how many hours of sleep you want to get. Say that’s seven hours. So if you have to be up at 6 a.m., go to bed at 11 p.m., not 9 p.m., and don’t hang out there watching TV or noodling around on your phone.

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Stop and think.

At some point in the evening, take a few minutes to pause and notice smells, sights, and sounds. Simply being mindful may improve sleep quality and daytime functioning better than a formal program that includes stress reduction tactics, suggests research published in JAMA Internal Medicine. “A minute or two can make a big difference in your stress levels,” says Shelby Harris, Psy.D., director of behavioral sleep medicine at the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at the Montefiore Health System.

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Keep ice nearby.

Stash a bucket of ice with a towel on top next to your bed in the case of unexpected hot flashes. “If a hot flash wakes you up in the middle of the night, you can easily grab the towel and put it on your neck to cool down,” Dr. Harris says.

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Devise a backup plan.

“One of the most common mistakes women make is spending too much time in bed hoping to doze off, but this can actually perpetuate insomnia,” says Meena Khan, M.D., assistant program director of the Sleep Medicine Fellowship Program at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. If you can’t fall asleep or you find yourself awake at 2 a.m., Dr. Khan suggests getting out of bed. “Go relax in another room for 15 to 30 minutes until you feel drowsy,” she says. It’s a good idea to prep by having a book or knitting project at the ready.

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Buy cooling sheets.

Another option for hot flashes is cooling sheets, which have breathable fabric to keep you sweat-free and comfortable all night long.

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Eat well to sleep well.

According to Kristin Kirkpatrick, R.D., manager of wellness nutrition services at the Cleveland Clinic, the perfect sleep-inducing meal contains lean protein (tofu, roasted turkey, salmon) and complex carbohydrates (lentils, sweet potato, quinoa). The combo has been shown to stimulate calming neurotransmitters that help you doze off. Simultaneously, you’ll want to avoid anything high in saturated fat, because your digestive system will work overtime to break down these foods, keeping you up later. So yes, you’ll want to steer clear of having fries as your late night snack.

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Try a bedtime bulb.

“The light in traditional bulbs reacts with the cells in your eyes and tells your brain to stop producing melatonin, a hormone that your body makes to help regulate your sleep cycle,” says Michael Breus, Ph.D., a sleep specialist in Scottsdale, AZ. That’s why you should consider a filtered lightbulb without blue light, which has been linked to poor sleep quality, Harvard reports.

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Drown out the noise.

The noise from distant cars or overhead planes disrupts your rest, and that comes with a surprising consequence. A recent study published in the Antioxidants & Redox Signaling found that outdoor nighttime noise is linked to a greater risk oxidative stress, a risk factor for heart disease. A simple solution for environmental annoyances is to turn on a fan or get a white noise machine to drown out sounds.

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Put on socks.

You’re probably wondering how this can possibly be related to sleep. Well, socks warm up your extremities, dilating blood vessels and increasing blood flow, to help you fall and stay asleep, says Cathy Goldstein, M.D., a sleep specialist and assistant professor of neurology at the University of Michigan Sleep Disorders Center. Choose ones that are made of a breathable fabric, like a cotton-synthetic blend, and make sure they aren’t too tight. (It’s totally fine if you kick them off at night anyway.)

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Write it out.

Many people lie in bed worrying, but that’s the single worst time to ruminate because it’s keeping you from the sleep you’ll need to handle those problems. Instead, practice scheduled worry. “Plan a time away from bed to write down anything you’re stressing about, like items you have to buy or errands you need to run,” Dr. Goldstein says. Writing it down at the end of the day helps get the stressful thoughts out of your brain to make room for relaxation and rest.

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Take a natural sleep aid.

Melatonin, a natural supplement, can be especially helpful for those who have trouble falling asleep and for when you’re trying to sleep at a time other than your “normal” bedtime, Dr. Breus says. However, you should always clear any new vitamins or supplements with your doctor first.

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Buy a sleep mask.

Any light sneaking through the curtains will make it more difficult to get to sleep, but the right mask can help you drift off. Try a light blocker with cooling beads to block the rays and potentially even de-puff your eye area.

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Drink herbal tea.

Just imagine settling down with a hot cup of tea at night. Not only is the act of itself relaxing, but there’s also research to show that herbal teas like chamomile naturally calm the body to induce sleep.

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Sleep in, but still set an alarm.

You may have heard that you should wake up at the same time every day, but you actually have about 30 to 60 minutes of wiggle room that allows you to flex your schedule and still get the same sleep benefits, according to Shanon Makekau, M.D., medical director, Kaiser Permanente sleep lab in Hawaii. So if you typically get up at 6 a.m. during the week, feel free to add an extra hour of snooze time on Saturday.

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Let the sun shine in.

Bundle up and take a brisk walk around the block soon after you wake up. Immediate exposure to morning light resets and fine-tunes your sleep-wake rhythm, says Namni Goel, Ph.D., associate professor in the Division of Sleep and Chronobiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. It can also help you burn fat by tapping into your triglycerides!

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Make over your curtains

Even the teensiest sliver of light can mess with your sleep—which can increase inflammation in the body, messing with everything from your weight to your heart over time—so a pitch black room is ideal for slumber. If you don’t like snoozing in sleep mask, consider installing blackout curtains, which block out more light than traditional ones.

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Set a bedtime

Your body has an internal body clock that dictates when you wake and sleep—it’s called your circadian rhythm. Erratic sleep messes with this biological timepiece. Set a bedtime and try to stick to it as often as possible.

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Turn off your devices

Switch off all electronic devices, including your phone! The light emitted from tablets, laptops, and smartphones can keep you up at night, mess with levels of sleepytime hormone melatonin, and wake you up if they buzz in the middle of the night.

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