How to Sleep Better: The 4 Best Strategies, According to Experts

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There are not enough hours in the day. And whether social media has hypnotized your attention before bed, or whether you’re just having trouble falling asleep amidst the enormous stress and turmoil of the world right now, it’s sleep that inevitably takes one. blow.

This shut-eye deprivation, whether self-imposed or spurred by chronic illness, can have drastic short- and long-term effects on your emotional well-being and bodily health. In fact, an irregular sleep pattern has been linked to everything from poor job performance and relationship issues (it’s a real sex drive killer), to heart disease and weight gain. So on World Sleep Day, experts are looking at how to get better sleep, from finding the right balance between quantity and quality to tips for relaxing and de-stressing.

Make sleep a priority

The first tip for better sleep? Get enough. To make sure your brain can go through all the necessary stages of sleep, seven or eight hours is ideal for most people. “The brain needs active REM sleep for memory consolidation and mood regulation,” says behavioral sleep medicine specialist Dr. Shelby Harris. “It also needs non-REM sleep, the deeper stages helping to repair muscle damage and regrow cells. If you don’t sleep regularly enough, you deprive yourself of the variety and amount of stages of sleep your brain needs. Consistency is also key to helping your body fall asleep and fall asleep better, so you need to stick to a strict schedule seven days a week (in that you can’t repay your weekday sleep debt by sleeping on the weekends). just wasn’t awake enough that day to get enough sleep to go to bed at night.”

Relax the right way

In other words, not hustling on Netflix. A recent study found that watching a streaming service before bed often leads to less sleep and more difficulty falling asleep due to their addictive nature. But it’s not only Bridgerton it’s to blame. One to two hours before bed, you should switch to analog, avoiding any screen that emits blue light, which our brains “read” like the sun. As for alternatives, Harris recommends taking half an hour to an hour to relax or encourage mindfulness with activities such as reading (away from your bed, which is only for “sleep and sex”) , she says), meditate, listen to music, or light stretches. And to further stimulate the senses, you can use lavender, which has been shown to lower blood pressure and heart rate, to aromatically induce sleep. Try taking a warm bath with Lovewild’s muscle-soothing Lavender Bath Salts or mist L’Occitane’s lovely Aromachologie Pillow Mist on your pillowcase.

Stay comfortable and cool

Anyone who’s tucked into an all-white, cloud-like hotel bed knows there’s no greater pleasure than comfortable, luxurious bedding. “Buy the best quality mattresses and the highest thread count sheets you can afford, and make sure your pillows are comfortable,” says Harris. While still an investment, growing direct-to-consumer brands have not only revolutionized the way consumers shop for sleep accessories, but also made prices more affordable and offerings more sustainable. Take for example the green bed-in-box brand Avocado, which offers certified 100% organic natural mattresses and pillows made in California. There’s also Parachute, which offers the kind of crisp yet ultra-soft sheets you’d find in a posh boutique hotel, and just launched a new organic collection with a pledge to go carbon neutral by Day of Earth 2022. Another important part of the equation is staying cool, says Harris. Do this with the ambient temperature in mind, but also opt for linen layers in breathable fabrics, like cotton, that you can remove as needed.

Recalibrate your diet and exercise

“What you eat affects how you sleep, and how you sleep affects how you eat,” says Keri Glassman, MS, RD, registered dietitian and founder of Nutritious Life. To optimize your sleep, she recommends eating a well-balanced diet of whole foods, as well as incorporating ingredients that naturally promote sleep. Glassman’s top picks include melatonin-boosting bananas, which contain heart rate-normalizing potassium and cortisol-reducing magnesium, and cherries because they’re a good source of tryptophan, a precursor to sleep-regulating serotonin, and loaded of anthocyanins, an antioxidant that lowers inflammation. Glassman also encourages her sleep-deprived patients to incorporate a chamomile herbal tea, like Sakara’s Sleep Tea, into their nighttime routine because it aids digestion and calms the nervous system. Finally, exercise is a proven insomnia reducer, and aim for at least 20 minutes of cardio about four to six hours before bedtime, Harris says.

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