By ISABELLA BIEDENHARN
We’ve all been there: You “went to bed” two hours ago, but you’ve been lying awake with your mind running laps, and all you can think about is how soon you have to wake up and start your day again. Fortunately, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel — and no, it’s not just that unwanted morning sun poking through your curtains.
By making just a few easy changes to your bedroom and sleep routine, like replacing your synthetic sheets with breathable cotton, wearing breathable PJs to help regulate your body temperature, and investing in blackout curtains, you can upgrade your sleep in no time.
We’re sure this isn’t the first time you’re hearing this, but it’s still true: You really shouldn’t use your phone before bed. Harvard researchers found that blue light (like the kind on your phone) suppressed the body’s melatonin for twice as long as green light, and shifted circadian rhythms by 3 hours (compared to green light’s 1.5 hours). So instead of scrolling through Instagram in bed, leave your phone plugged in in the living room at night and treat yourself to a chic alarm clock like this one from Capello.
The ideal bedroom temperature for adults is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Body temperature decreases during sleep, and it’s believed that a cooler room can help you get there quicker. An easy way to help regulate your temperature is to swap out your synthetic sheets for cotton, like these from Bed Bath & Beyond, since cotton is breathable and won’t trap heat under the covers. Research shows cotton is the ideal material to sleep in because it aids in deeper, more restful sleep. Ahhh... (that’s the sound of all that heat floating away).
It’s aggravating — and can feel downright impossible — to try to sleep when you’re overheated or sweating. Cotton PJs like these Madewell Bedtime Short Pajamas can help: cotton’s breathability helps keep you cool and dry. Best of all, they’re totally machine washable, and because cotton is durable, they can be washed and dried again and again (and again!).
Speaking of light, the less of it you have in your room at night, the better you’ll sleep. According to the Mayo Clinic, your brain releases melatonin when it’s dark, which makes you feel sleepy and calm. To ensure blissful darkness, invest in some blackout shades, like these 100 percent cotton curtains from West Elm.
We’ve all lost sleep to stress. One way to help control anxious thoughts before bed is to keep a mindfulness journal, and take time to write out the things that are bothering you. Even making a to-do list for the next day can help you clear your mind and feel more prepared for the day ahead. These journals from ban.do are tiny enough to tuck into a nightstand drawer — and pretty enough to store on top.
While going to bed (and waking up) at the same time each night is the most important part of a sleep ritual, helping your body wind down before bed is crucial, too. Try to repeat the same steps every night, like removing your makeup with cotton rounds, doing some easy stretching, brushing your teeth, then reading or journaling for 10 minutes before lights out.