It's time to sleep soundly. Follow these 15 expert tips and you'll wake up refreshed.
Sleep-deprived? You're not alone. With more than 35 percent of all adults in the U.S. reporting that they sleep, on average, less than seven hours per night and 70 percent of American adults reporting at least one night a month of insufficient sleep, an estimated 50 to 70 million Americans also face sleep-related problems. If you're tossing and turning, waking up in the middle of the night or you simply just want to get better sleep, we've got you covered.
Read on for the best tried and true sleep expert tips to help you get better sleep (starting tonight).
1. Remember the No. 1 goal is to wake up refreshed!
"All that really matters about sleep is that you feel refreshed when you get up in the morning," says Sam Nicolino, President and CEO of Adaptive Sound Technologies. "Sleep scores don't matter and focusing on them can be counterproductive. Only you know if you feel refreshed and ready to go when you start your day."
2. Move your TV out of your bedroom
"In today's busy world, we tend to be plugged in all day and our brains can get overstimulated, which can lead to poor sleep at night," says Shannon Glenn, owner and founder of Sleep Well Sleep Specialists. "So, one key ingredient to a good night's sleep is to be as unplugged as possible, think cave-like, dark and cool and no screens. No TV in the bedroom and no phone checking while in bed. It will be more relaxing and sleep-inducing to crawl into your comfortable bed in your cool and dark bedroom, which will signal to your brain it's time to unwind and drift off into a peaceful slumber."
3. Limit screen time
"One of the best sleep tips for adults and children is to limit the screen time before bed. Turn off the electronics (tablets, phones, televisions) at least one hour before starting your bedtime routine," says Kim Davis, a certified pediatric sleep consultant at Babes & Beyond. "The blue light that is being emitted from these devices actually affects our alertness, hormone production and our sleep cycles. Turning them off at least one hour before bed will allow your body to produce melatonin, which is needed for sleep."
4. Hide your alarm clock
"My top tip for getting a good night's sleep may surprise people: stop looking at your clock!" says adult sleep consultant Annika Brindley. "Turn it around or place it out of sight. Seeing the time throughout the night can make you anxious if you are awake when you don't want to be. The more you think about the time, the more you judge yourself for not sleeping and the more you judge yourself, the less able you will be to relax and sleep."
5. Don't wait until bedtime to get ready for bed
"Start getting ready for bed early, especially if you have kids!" says Emily Anderson, the founder of Mom Crew. "My alarm is set for 6 a.m. every day, including weekends, and you never know if you'll also get a surprise wake-up in the night or extra early in the morning. The only way to ensure you'll get a decent night's rest is to go to bed early yourself — I start getting ready around 9 p.m. Someday, I'll be fun again!"
6. Avoid blue lights
"Blue light suppresses the production of melatonin, the sleepy hormone, even with blue light filters on smart screens. If you can, it's best to avoid blue lights for at least an hour before bed for adults and two hours for little ones," says Iva Faulkner, founder and baby sleep expert at Sleepy Angels Consultancy.
7. Keep it cool
"Adults and children sleep better in a cooler environment (60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit for adults and 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit for young children)," says Lullaby Nest Sleep Consulting. "Daily exercise is great for sleep but you should avoid a strenuous workout an hour before bed as it will increase your body's temperature making it harder to fall asleep. Instead, turn down the thermostat or try taking a cool shower before you hit the sheets at night."
8. Invest in an eye mask
"I always recommend learning to sleep with an eye mask," says sleep coach Lana Walsh. "Since the advent of the electric light bulb, we are very rarely exposed to pure darkness which helps to regulate the sleep-cycle. Sometimes, even a sliver of light can disrupt your sleep and using a mask ensures that no matter where you are, you can keep the light from affecting you. It comes with the added bonus of being a 'do not disturb' sign that I have used while flying and when trying to get some peace during a hospital stay."
9. Become predictable
"Our bodies do better with predictability," says Joan Canning, a certified Gentle Sleep Coach at Sleepytime Support. "Whether we realize it or not, we have habits. Our bodies become accustomed to the patterns of eating and digestion, the ebb and flow of energy and our sleep and wake cycles. Going to bed and waking up at a similar time each day has great overall health benefits."
"Tweak your schedule so that when you wake, you get exposed to sunlight. Eat your heavier meals at the start of your day and lighter towards the end. We have more restful sleep when our bodies are not working hard on digesting food. An hour or two before bedtime, begin the wind-down process. Stop work- and school-related activities. Avoid using screens. Enjoy an easy stroll at dusk or a warm shower to promote melatonin production."
10. Get better sleep with the help of essential oils
"It's important to set the mood for sleep an hour before you go to bed," says Violet Giannone, owner of Sleep, Baby, Sleep®. "Dim the lights to help increase the production of melatonin, the hormone that helps you sleep. Turn off your electronics and step away from the screen so you don't disrupt your sleep-wake cycle. Lastly, try a calming activity like diffusing essential oils before you slip into bed. Research shows that certain smells can help with sleep. Incorporating essential oils, such as chamomile and lavender, into your bedtime routine may help you sleep better."
11. Wake up at the same time, every day
"One of the keys to getting better sleep at night is actually having the same wake-up time every day!" says Anna McMillian, owner of Little Winks Sleep. "How are waking up and falling to sleep connected? Having a consistent wake-up time kick starts the circadian rhythm (a.k.a. the body clock), which cues the body to release the chemicals necessary to aid in those sleep transitions. This is HUGE for children and makes a difference for adults too!"
12. Hang blackout shades in your bedroom
“At SleepShop, we always remind clients that every baby is so different, and the same goes for adults!" says Carly Kenihan from SleepShop. "We suggest blackout shades, plus curtains as the extra darkness helps reinforce melatonin production, which our body needs for a restful night's sleep. Try picking a wall paint color that feels relaxing to you, like light or even moody shade. You can accent your space with diffusers and décor of choice and I love a soft or even fancy sheet set! At the end of the day, this space is for you to feel calm and wind down when you walk into it."
13. Incorporate flashcards into your child's bedtime routine
“Parents, if you're looking for ways to get the best sleep for your baby or toddler remember that it all starts BEFORE your child even hits their bed!" says Becca Campbell, founder of Little Z's. "The 30 minutes before your child goes to sleep is an optimal time to help cue their brain and body that sleep is coming. Simple steps like bath, pajamas, book and songs — even bedtime flashcards — before going into the crib help your child understand that it's almost time to close our eyes and sleep for the night."
14. Avoid caffeine after 3 p.m.
"First of all, make sure there are no electronic devices in your bedroom: phones, tablets and TVs," says Ausra Cirkelyte, founder and pediatric sleep coach of King of Sleep. "Keep in mind, the darker the room, the better the sleep will be. Make sure your bedroom is completely dark for nighttime. Block the sunlight or use eyeshades. Additionally, if you're looking to get better sleep at night, take a warm bath or shower before going to bed. Try a relaxing meditation in a bathtub using candlelight. And lastly, whatever you do — avoid caffeine after 3 p.m. Avoid having black tea, green tea, coffee or any foods containing caffeine after 3 p.m."
15. Tune into some white noise
"Sleep matters to everyone, and having a proper bedroom set-up for each family member is critical to creating the optimal sleep environment," says sleep expert and author Joanna Clark of Blissful Baby Sleep Coaching. "I recommend each bedroom has darkening shades, as well as a powerful medical-grade HEPA technology air purifier. The air purifier also has the additional benefit of creating white noise all night to diminish ambient noise that can disrupt sleep. The ideal bedroom temperature is between 68-72 degrees for every age,"
Sheep, be gone!
Now that you're well versed in expert tips to get better sleep at night, there's one thing left to do — send those sheep that you've been counting late at night on their way!