How to Create the Perfect Sleep Experience

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There are several, layered components to making sure you sleep well and long. A great night’s sleep starts with you and what you surround yourself with. This article will walk you through each element of how to get restful slumber, from the inside out. 

Your Mind

A quiet, relaxed mind is the very best way to position yourself for a good night’s sleep. Put away games and other distractions that are designed to hold your attention. The more intense the game, the more likely it is to cause your body to release the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Those neurochemicals are detrimental to sleep. 

The same rule applies to movies, TV shows, podcasts, and books. If it gets your blood pumping, if you find yourself getting physically tense because the scene on the screen is building to a crescendo, then it’s no good for getting you ready for bed. 

Getting ready for bed should be a peaceful, relaxing experience. Reading, music, and conversation are fine if it’s calming. Although experts advise steering clear of all screens before trying to sleep, if you do choose to watch TV in your pajamas, choose something pleasant, with little drama and tension. Think Great British Baking Show or a nature documentary over Stranger Things or the latest serial killer documentary. Avoid TV shows with action scenes or loud noises that might jar you. Commercials are almost always louder than regular shows, so TV shows are a more disruptive choice for winding down.

Your Muscles

Exercise will help your sleep if you get the timing right. If you want to sleep soundly, do get a good workout in. Just make sure to hit the gym during daylight hours. Exercise pumps your body and mind full of all sorts of hormones that are good for your body, but bad for sleep. Enjoy the sleep benefits of helping your body feel physically tired by giving your muscles time to cool down before you slip between the sheets.

Your Skin

Going to bed should be a cozy, comfortable experience. Since your body temperature will change throughout the night and you will change position many times, your nighttime clothes need to keep up.

When selecting women’s or men’s pajamas, look for material that is soft to the touch. The design should allow flexibility and ease of movement, so as you reposition yourself, your pajamas don’t bunch or bind. The waistband and any closures should not pinch. They should barely feel like they are there.

Your Stomach

Think of sleep and your stomach like the story Goldilocks and the Three Bears. You don’t want your stomach to be empty. You don’t want it to be full, either. You want it to be just right. Eat well, but not right before bed. Give your stomach at least an hour or two to digest your evening meal before heading to bed. 

Using food as a sedative will have a lot of health consequences down the road. In the short term, it can also cause indigestion, which disrupts sleep painfully. 

Stay away from alcohol and caffeine before bed too. Since caffeine is a natural stimulant, it’s the natural enemy of rest. Although alcohol is a natural sedative, it creates an artificial tiredness that will actually harm the natural sleep rhythms you need to feel rested when you wake up.

Your Bedding

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to bedding, but there are some rules of thumb. You don’t want to be too hot or too cold. Layered bedding allows you to make adjustments easily. However, if you tend to get tangled up in your bedding, try using fewer bedding layers. Instead, use a bottom sheet and only one or two layers on top, similar to the European duvet style of making a bed. Also, natural fabrics are going to feel better against your skin. 

Your Bed

If you get every single thing right in preparing for sleep, but your mattress is terrible, your sleep will not only be poor, but it will also be painful. Select a mattress that suits your body. Rotate it as often as the manufacturer recommends to avoid divots and sagging. 

Consider your mattress as another opportunity to set the right temperature for your bed. Some mattresses are designed to retain heat while others are useful in keeping you cool. Invest in the style that gives you the best, most consistent rest.