Written by Amy Scalia
You know the feeling. That recharged wholeness after awaking 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. Experts say there are specific ingredients and ideal conditions that are necessary for improved and more consistent, quality sleep.
A Snooze-Worthy Sanctuary
Dr. Sujay Kansagra, an associate professor at Duke University Medical Center, says the first step is to think of your bedroom as a sleep sanctuary. “You want to condition your mind 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, uncomfortable bed or bedding can all inhibit a restful night’s sleep, Kansagra says. Keep the temps cooler, ideally at 65F-67F. Reach for a comfy blanket like this cozy throw or Sherpa Weighted Blanket. Earplugs, like those in the Deep Sleep Self-Care Kit, or white noise machines can help reduce unwanted noise. 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.
Aromatherapy, from diffusing essential oils or even a pillow spray, engage the powerful sense of smell to help you feel like you’re drifting off at a premium spa retreat. 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 sooths just before bed, to help provide a sense of relaxation.
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 that’s living a second life as your pajamas and instead reach for sleepwear that’s dedicated to and solely designed for sleep, 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.
Make a Routine
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. Avoid excessive physical activity before bed, and instead, engage in something soothing like taking a warm shower or bath. 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 important process of lulling yourself toward a good night's sleep. As you step out, 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.