TIPS FOR SLEEPING BETTER FROM A "SLEEP EXPERT."
Requested by @kate81 ! My qualifications? 15 years in the sleep industry, working with every brand of mattress you've ever heard of. Sleep is the third leg of "diet, exercise, and sleep," for total health. Many of these tips are easy. Some are harsh. But *everyone* who reads this CAN sleep better than they do currently.
- •If your bed Is more than 5 years old it's not as good as you think it is.Sorry. Hopefully this get extended, but we've learned so much about sleep science the past 10 years that beds made today are 1,000,000 times better for you than ones you've ever slept on. You probably need to look into a new one.
- •If you can afford it, STAY AWAY FROM A FIRM COILED BED.Coils are the bane of the industry. They were the standard bearer for SO long, but they are counter intuitive. We now know that your body needs to be relaxed and pressure free to sleep deeply. Do hundreds of metal springs pushing against your body sound relaxing? Better alternative: sleep number or tempurpedic. Do they cost more? Yep. Is it worth it? ABSOLUTELY.
- •Get a sleep timer for your tvIf you watch tv or a laptop or your iPad you are inundating yourself with blue light. Which is disastrous to your sleep cycle. Blue light waves disrupt your sleep faster than a change in temperature or noise. Make sure not only to set timers on your electronics but always face your phones and tablets screen-down while you're asleep.
- •Speaking of your phonePut it farther away from you If you find yourself checking emails in the middle of the night. You should have to stand up to get it. Standing up tells your body you're ready to be awake. Looking at emails while still laying down disrupts your sleep pattern AND you have less comprehension of what the text or email said! A big benefit to this is plugging your phone in and then walking to your bed and lying down signifies to your mind that your phone isn't an option and you'll fall asleep faster.
- •Sleep with a fan, or white noise machine.If you sleep silently, you've created a baseline of -0- which means if a dog barks three doors over, or a car alarm sounds off in the middle of the night on the next street, your ears will pick that up and alert your mind. However if you have a fan on, you increase your baseline for noises above the level of environmental sounds. You'll still be woken by abrupt noises (babies crying, burglars, etc) but you'll sleep much sounder through the inconsequential stuff.
- •The perfect room temperature is 68°You may not be comfortable, but your body will be the most relaxed.
- •Your pillow is grossYou sweat, drool, sneeze... Your hair secretions, skin cells... Gross. Get a new one. Oh and
- •Stop using more than one pillow.If it's too flat to use one pillow that's a big red flag that your pillow is too old to use. Go to a specialty store and buy one that fits you. You can use the "pillow finder" tool on sleepnumber.com
- •Do you or your partner snore? Have acid reflux?We all would benefit from sleeping elevated. Again, if you can afford it, invest in an adjustable base. There are some inexpensive ones, but better brands offer more features. Find one that fits you. Or if you can't afford one, you can get a wedge pillow. They're relatively cheap and do a decent job of keeping you aligned.
- •Get blackout curtainsEspecially if you go to bed before sunset or wake up after sunrise. Light totally screws your circadian rhythm.
- •Pick a bed that works (for both of you)Never buy a new mattress without your partner. Never say "I can sleep anywhere." The best and worst thing about the human body is we can get used to anything. So make sure you're not just "used to" what you have and find out what actually would work best for you.
- •Hey Ben, what about those internet beds?I don't know enough about them. Casper. Ghost bed. Purple mattress, lilly bed. From what I can tell they're basic mattresses that have done an excellent job marketing themselves. They're gimmicky and haven't been tested.
- •But Ben, didn't Sleep Number and Tempur start as Internet (or mail order) beds?Yep. And the early adopters hated them. Both companies did poorly until they were sold in brick and mortar stores where people could try them out. And when they were established long enough to do the R&D.
- •Sleep DON'TS:Don't put plywood between your mattress and box spring. Don't put blocks under one end of your frame to elevate it. Don't give your kids your old bed. Don't buy a bed based on price alone. Don't go shopping without your significant other if the bed is for both of you.