So many things affect our physical and emotional health, but sleep is one of the biggest - you’ll immediately feel the difference after a poor night. We know the pain just as well as you; busy lives, stress, never-ending to do lists…it can all add up. That’s why so many people are asking how to get better sleep, so they’re ready to tackle whatever the day throws their way. We’ve come across a lot of tips for better sleep, but we also wanted to know what keeps you up at night. So, we decided to reach out and ask!
After speaking to 450 adults about their sleep and habits, some interesting trends popped up:
- 57% get less than 8 hours of sleep most nights
- 47% have trouble sleeping on a weekly basis
- 35% worry about their sleep quality all the time
Look at that last number again. Over one third of people surveyed worry about their sleep quality on a regular basis. If you ask us, that’s way too many!
So, how can you sleep better? What distractions and disruptions have you come across? We asked. You answered.
Time to look at how to sleep better.
Sleep Better By Improving Sleep Hygiene
Sleep hygiene is the combination of environment and daily habits that contribute to healthy sleep. A majority of the sleep disturbances you told us about can be addressed and resolved when done right, which will lead to better sleep. To improve your sleep hygiene, we suggest you work on:
- Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day
- Getting enough nighttime sleep
- Avoiding long or frequent naps
- Cutting out use of electronics an hour before bedtime
- Setting up an optimal sleep environment that’s cool, quiet, and dark
- Implementing a regular bedtime routine
- Being physically active during the day
A good sleeping environment, especially, can work wonders with the quality of your sleep. Noise, temperature, and light are some of the most common disruptions, you told us. An optimal sleep environment should be cool, quiet, and dark.
Humans are biologically programmed to sleep best under specific conditions (remember, our earliest ancestors slept in caves). You can solve this part of the equation by finding the best layout for your bedroom. Try starting with these essential steps:
- Keep your room cool. Our body temperatures decrease while sleeping. That means a room temperature between 15-19 degrees celsius can help you unwind faster and stay asleep for longer.
- Get the right bedding and mattress. First, you’ll want to have bedding appropriate for your climate and a comfortable mattress suited for your sleep position, but think about using your bed as an extra tool against hot sleep. A cooling mattress or topper can really help here.
- Block excess light. Light directly affects your body’s production of the sleep chemical serotonin, which means you’ll find it harder to fall and stay asleep in a bright room. Don’t forget to address the less obvious sources, like light from electronics or connecting rooms.
- Eliminate noise. Whether you actually wake you up or not, noises can have a huge impact on your sleep. From street traffic, appliances, creaky floors, or any number of other sounds, you’ll find it hard to wake up feeling refreshed. If you can’t remove the source of the noise, try blocking it with white noise or relaxing music.
There’s no better way to fix your sleep environment than by just trying different things until you find what works. So many different factors tie into this that there’s no silver bullet - you have to find the combination yourself to unlock better sleep.
Environmental Sleeping Aids Can Help You Sleep Better
We also asked you to share what helps you fall asleep each night - and, as you might guess, a lot of the common answers are scientifically proven to help you sleep better.
We found that most of these help create the ideal sleep environment talked about earlier - one that’s cool, quiet, and dark.
Humidifiers and air filters, specifically, come with benefits that help you sleep better at night, especially for people who suffer from allergies or asthma (15% and 8% of our survey group, respectively). Dampening and purifying the air in the bedroom helps with clearer breathing, and these kinds of devices can also help with eye irritations or improve your skin’s condition. This makes you more comfortable in general, helping you get better sleep.
A lot of you said that music and a regular routine before bed are helpful ways to improve sleep quality. We think you should put the two together, using gentle and soothing music as part of your unwinding process before going to bed to help you fall asleep quickly.
If you want to know how to make a good bedtime routine, you can use these ideas to find what works for you:
- Go to bed at a regular time
- Reduce blue light exposure by putting electronics away
- Choose a light snack or warm drink instead of a heavy meal
- Play calming music or white noise
- Relax with stretches or meditation (but nothing intense)
- Make sure your room and bed are cool, quiet, dark, and comfortable.
A consistent routine before bed helps signal your body for sleep, but it also reduces stress and anxiety from the day when you clear your mind - and yes, this works for adults! For anxiety sufferers, this is our number one recommendation for better sleep. It’s no surprise that 97% of you who follow a bedtime routine feel it has a positive impact on their sleep quality, after all.
How To Sleep Better With Other Household Members
Most of you told us that other people, or pets, disrupt your sleep on a regular basis. You might even forget about it after a while when it’s been happening for so long, but this is an important part of how to get better sleep.
Nearly all of you reported that you don’t sleep alone. Whether it’s your partner, kids, pets - or all of the above - there are a couple things you can do to sleep better no matter what your sleeping arrangement is:
- Go for a bigger bed. A king or super king bed is usually more than enough room for co-sleeping families to stretch out and stay comfortable without getting in each other’s way.
- Try a mattress with motion isolation technology. A mattress with pocket springs that move independently of one helps make sure that when someone moves, the other person (or people) won’t be disturbed by the change.
- Make a space for sleeping pets. If your furry friend is taking up room - and we know they can take up A LOT - or wiggling around, you can think about making a space just for them. Dogs, in particular, will instinctively sleep in an area that’s enclosed and cave-like.
- Try using separate duvets. In nearly every relationship, there’s always a blanket hog - even if they won’t admit it. One of you might be warmer than the other, or want a thinner cover. Having your own set of sheets or duvets can make a huge difference here.
- Remember sleep hygiene. We’ll say it over and over again. If everyone keeps a good routine and stays active during the day, you’ll all sleep better at night.
- If you sleep with an infant, follow safe cosleeping guidelines.
How Does Caffeine Affect Your Sleep?
A lot of people consume caffeine every day - they even live on it, it seems! However, as much as it helps, when it comes to late afternoon and the evening, it can disrupt sleep. About 9% of you told this was a factor stopping from finding better sleep. Recommendations are for no more than 400mg of caffeine a day, but some people are affected by it more than others. This means you need to understand yourself and your tolerance level as you look for how to sleep better. Our survey found that people who consume caffeine before bed, even as much as 6-hours hours prior, saw a reduction in overall nighttime sleep and quality.
In short, make sure your tea, coffee, drinks or food add up to less than 400mg of caffeine a day, and watch when you consume them. It might take a bit of trial and error, and if you find it tough, try a power nap instead.
It’s Always A Good Time To Start A Healthy Sleep Habit
In the end, we learn to sleep better over time, but that doesn’t mean we should stop looking for tips for better sleep. From the moment we’re born, we naturally begin to adapt habits and associations that help us sleep better, and we can always improve them.
Adults who sleep well on a consistent basis have likely mastered some or many of the tips and tricks we’ve shared here. If you identify with the 47% of people in our study that have trouble sleeping, try some of the habits and tips we’ve shared to sleep better. You can start today to experience better rest and all the benefits that come with a sound night’s sleep.