2020 feels like it should be your biggest year ever, right? Something about a fresh decade feels more significant. So why not commit to 5 simple habits for better sleep to kick 2020 off with a snooze?
1. Set a bedtime.
We know, it sounds juvenile, but your mom knew best after all. Studies show that creating regular sleep patterns not only help you get better sleep, but can also lower your risk for obesity, heart disease, and all sorts of other health issues. A bedtime routine is key to great sleep, and going to bed at relatively the same time every night is the ideal way to let your brain and body know that it’s time to get some deep, quality shuteye.
2. Read a book.
Like, a real one with pages and ink and no screens to interfere with your melatonin production. Reading a physical book offers all kinds of benefits, but helping you wind down in the evening before bed is a huge one. Focusing your mind on a simple task that doesn’t split your attention helps quiet the other parts of your brain and calm your body down. Making it a part of your evening routine can help create a recognizable pattern for your brain before bed, and you get to be the person at the dinner party with the best book recommendations. Not sure where to start? Check out The New Yorker’s best reads of 2019.
Racing thoughts, stressful to-do lists, and replaying that awkward interaction with your boss for the hundredth time are all great ways to totally derail your sleep. Meditation serves a lot of purposes, but the biggest benefit right before bed is to quiet your mind and prepare yourself for a deep, restful sleep. A study in 2015 invited 49 adults who had sleep issues to participate in a sleep education program. The group that practiced meditation reported less insomnia, fatigue, and depression after six months.
- Some beginner’s tips for meditation:
- Meditation doesn’t necessarily have to be about clearing your mind like you may think—pick a word or a phrase you want to focus on and repeat it to yourself to prevent distraction.
- Mindfulness meditation is the practice of being present and aware of your inner thoughts. While meditating, don’t fight your mind as it wanders, but try not to engage with the thoughts either. Instead, observe them, and refrain from passing judgement as you let them move on. Pay attention to where your mind goes, but don’t dive too deep into a rabbit hole. Focus on your breathing, and return back to neutral.
- Find a spot in your home that doesn’t pull your attention away. If there are dishes in the sink that need doing, for example, you may not be able to fully disengage from your environment. Pick a place that’s comfortable and quiet, away from the rest of your to-do list.
4. Put down the phone.
Everyone knows at this point that too much screen time before bed can disrupt your sleep, but are we really ready to put it down and focus on sleep? Make 2020 the year you detach from the electronics and found a less stimulating way to spend the final moments of each day. Even if you aren’t ready to cut off your phone usage a full hour before bed, simply giving yourself 30 minutes to unwind without it can help. Instead, read a book or meditate. Look at you, already knocking out #2 and #3 from this list.
5. Upgrade your bed.
Ah, yes, the inevitable sales pitch. But we’re not just selling you on our sheets and pillows—there’s actual proof that shows a correlation between better beds and less stress. Adults who slept for 28 nights on a new, medium-firm mattress, reported a significant decrease in stress, likely because they were getting much better sleep at night. Creating the right environment to settle into at the end of a the night is a huge way to improve your quality of sleep, and therefore your daytime activities. Not sure where to start? Compare our mattresses here.
For more tips on creating the ideal sleep environment, check out our guide here.