You know the feeling. That recharged wholeness after waking from a deep, restful, restorative slumber.
While we're familiar with the feeling of a good night's sleep and the importance of it, achieving one can be challenging, especially for those suffering from sleep apnea or various sleep disorders.
Experts say there are specific ingredients and ideal conditions that are necessary for improved and more consistent sleep habits that you can accomplish without sleep medicine. These forms of sleep hygiene can lead to quality sleep, lower blood pressure, fewer depressive episodes, reduced chance of heart disease, and favorable sleep patterns.
As you'll see below, the use of resources like a yoga sleep sequence, seeking online treatment, incorporating bedtime relaxation techniques, and utilizing feedback questions can help you get to the correct level of sleep you've dreamed of for years.
A Snooze-Worthy Sanctuary
Dr. Sujay Kansagra, an associate professor at Duke University Medical Center and sleep expert, says the first step to resolving sleep issues is to think of your bedroom as a sleep sanctuary to increase your quality of sleep. Utilizing the room only during bedtime hours will help you to create a bedtime checklist for sleep scheduling that will help you to self-manage insomnia and reduce the chances of disturbed sleep.
“You want to condition your mind through behavioral therapy to think about sleep when you walk into your bedroom, not about the latest assignment from work,” he says. “This may sound obvious, but a comfortable, quiet sleep environment is something that is often taken for granted.”
Excessive noise, light, warmer room temperatures, and an uncomfortable bed or bedding can all inhibit a restful night's sleep, Kansagra says. Keep the temps at a cooler level, ideally at 60F-67F. Reach for a comfy blanket like this cozy throw or Sherpa Weighted Blanket in the minutes before bed to reduce the chances of poor sleep quality.
Earplugs, like those in the Deep Sleep Self-Care Kit, or white noise machines can help reduce unwanted noise, which creates a solid sleep foundation for getting extra hours of sleep and entering deeper sleep stages without sleep medicine.
To lower your exposure to light, try blackout curtains or a sleep mask, like this faux fur Lights Out Sleep Mask for women or the sleep mask for men in the Deep Sleep Self-Care Kit.
You may want to try the Sleep Tight Roll On, a pure essential oil you can apply to the temples, wrists, or behind the ears, or the Unwind Oil, which also calms and soothes just before bed to help provide a sense of relaxation that lulls you into a nature of sleep.
These behavioral therapy techniques can help extend your hours of sleep and reduce the chances of daytime drowsiness through a healthy sleep routine. Preparing your bedroom for sleep will help you to associate the connection between sleep and a bedtime ritual to get your sleep on track.
Dress for Success
Much like conditioning your mind to think of your bedroom as a sleep sanctuary primarily dedicated to rest, the same goes for what you wear. So, skip the tattered tee living a second life as your pajamas and instead reach for sleepwear dedicated to and solely designed for sleep, per a top sleep expert.
Therapy for insomnia guidelines calls for options like the Sweet Dreams Sleep Set, Flutter Sleeve Relaxed Sleep Tee, and short or Sleepy Time Tee.
For you guys, proper sleepwear matters as well. A Classic Cotton Pajama Pant and the Wicking V Neck Sleep Tee will help you stay cool, comfortable, and calm. And don't get cold feet! Keep your nighttime routine cozy with Fireside Slipper or Sherpa Bootie.
Opt for the traditional Campfire Solid Sock, Cable Knit Snuggle Sock that pulls up over the knee when you need it, or the Cozy Legwarmer that hugs your feet and legs with warmth while offering an open toe and heel for added flexibility and functionality. This addition can also aid in any symptoms consistent with restless legs syndrome.
Make a Routine
Sleep expert Kansagra says your bedtime routine - a series of quiet, calming activities performed in the same way and at the same time every night leading up to bedtime - is essential for improved, quality sleep without sleep medicine.
Avoid excessive physical activity before bed; instead, engage in something soothing like taking a warm shower or bath. Adding a yoga sleep sequence each night can aid in sleep scheduling and preparing your body to get your sleep on track.
For an added touch, add some bath oil, like the one for men in the Deep Sleep Self-Care Kit, drop in a Dream Weaver Bath Bomb, or sprinkle in a Bath Soak to begin the vital process of lulling yourself toward a good night's sleep.
As you step out of the bath, your body temperature drops, mimicking the natural temperature decreases that occur before falling asleep, promoting sleepiness.
You'll want to avoid bright lights during and after your routine, Kansagra says, including light from televisions, smartphones, and computers. Opt for candles, which pull double duty to illuminate your nightly routine and fill your sleep sanctuary with calming scents.
Staying in tune with a solid sleep foundation will help eliminate poor sleep quality and promote a strong sleep routine.
To help track your progress, keeping a sleep diary can be beneficial. Noting the inclusion of any sleep medication, hours of sleep per night, and deviations from your standard treatment. That approach will help you to see which activities in your routine serve a good night's rest.