Health

22 Helpful Tips For Anyone Who Wants To Sleep Better

Catch more zzz’s in 2017 than ever before.

Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

Over the past year, we’ve asked the members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us their best sleep tips, plus done some research and testing on our own.

Note: This means that not all answers are from Community users.

1. Start by knowing how much sleep you should actually get, depending on your age.

You can read more about the research behind these times at The National Sleep Foundation.

2. Stop napping during the day, especially later in the afternoon.

Getty Images / Nora Whelan / Via buzzfeed.com

Submitted by kimberly2622, for this roundup of reader tips on sleeping better.

3. Think through a bedtime and sleep routine that would work for you.

Infographic by Jan Diehm for The Huffington Post / Via huffingtonpost.com

This routine from The Huffington Post is a good place to start. You could also use this format and these guidelines to map out a more specific routine that works for your life.

4. For example, you could end your day with a simple yoga routine, if that’s up your alley.

Read more about how to do these poses and why they can help at Livestrong.

5. Replace your yellowing pillow you’ve had since college with a pillow that will actually support and cradle your head.

Rachel Miller

Read our editor’s recommendations for memory foam pillows here, and an in-depth analysis and review of bed pillows here.

6. Cover your bed with a weighted blanket to help calm your nighttime anxiety.

This one, $179.95, is well-reviewed on Amazon.

7. Write down a to-do list for the next day to help reassure yourself that you won’t forget anything you need to do.

Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed / Via buzzfeed.com

This can be helpful if you’re laying in bed thinking about everything you need to get done over and over. This layout is in a bullet journal (learn more about what that is and how to use one here), but you can use whatever list format you like.

8. Or if to-do lists stress you out (you’re not alone), try making a “done” list or a “daily gratitude” list.

Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed / Via buzzfeed.com

For more tips on how bullet journaling or list making can help improve your mental health, read this post.

9. Join Team PJs and find affordable sleeping clothes that you actually love.

Rachel Miller

As Rachel explains in her post about bedroom upgrades, your favorite pajamas don’t have to be pricey, they just have to make you happy. And eventually, Pavlovian conditioning may help you relax every time you put them on.

10. Seriously, don’t use your phone or iPad or computer or anything with blue light just before bed.

It simulates sunlight and can make your brain produce the stress hormone cortisol. Watch this video for more useful sleep tips.

11. But if you don’t want to give up your screens, at least enable Nightshift or install an app like f.lux.

Basically, you want to shift your screen from emitting blue light to emitting the warmer, more calming orange and red tones. Read more about Night Shift and f.lux at Business Insider.

12. You can also use your technology to help you track your sleep and wake up calmly.

Natalie Brown / BuzzFeed, Sleepasaurus

Of course, if you can make it work so you don’t have your devices in your bedroom, that’s all for the better. But if you’re going to have them by your bed anyway, you might as well make them work for you. iPhones come with the Bedtime feature in the clock, and you can also download tons of apps like Sleepasaurus ($2 here) to help you relax, track, and monitor your sleep habits — get some recommendations here.

13. Play a word game that will distract your brain from stressful thoughts.

Getty Images / Nora Whelan

Submitted by Magdalena Pietrzak on Facebook, for this roundup of reader tips on sleeping better.

14. Get a sound machine that will make relaxing white noise or nature noises, especially if you have loud neighbors.

This one, $19.49, is the bestselling sound machine on Amazon, and also recommended by a reader in this post.

15. Or listen to soothing podcasts that tell generally non-stressful stories, like Sleep With Me or Welcome to Night Vale.

Submitted by Amelia Cox and Grace Lyon on Facebook, for this roundup of reader tips on sleeping better. I also can personally recommend this — on nights when I can’t calm down because I have too much going on, I listen to either of these podcasts to help distract my brain and relax (although Night Vale can be a little too exciting some episodes).

16. You can also play audiobook versions of your favorite books from childhood.

You already know the stories, so you can just relax and enjoy them. You can buy the Harry Potter audiobooks on Pottermore, or download tons of different audiobooks on Audible.

Submitted by Jenny Sue on Facebook and milliegalloway, for this roundup of reader tips on sleeping better.

17. Scent your space and bed with a smell that relaxes you.

According to The National Sleep Foundation, any smell that helps you relax can help you get to sleep faster. Lots of people love lavender, whether it’s an essential oil you dab on your wrists or a small scented pillow like this one this pillow from Coco-Mat, $9.

Candles are okay, but you have to be careful to blow them out before you fall asleep. Room sprays and reed diffusers are a good alternative — I personally like the Amber & Moss spray from P.F. Candle Co., $10, because it reminds me of the lake by the house where I grew up.

18. If your partner snores, talk to them about strategies that might help them stop (and you will both sleep better).

These strategies from The Sleep Matters Club can help, but chronic snorers should definitely talk to their doctors. And if you’re the one who snores, do this for the sake of your partner!

19. Masturbate, because, duh.

Or, if you do have a partner who’s into bedtime romps, have sex. Submitted by zlfg13, for this roundup of reader tips on sleeping better.

20. Start making your bed every day.

Rachel Miller

A poll from the National Sleep Foundation found that people who reported making their beds also reported better sleep overall — get more reasons you should be making your bed every day here.

To simplify the process, you can try this duvet cover, which has a flat sheet on the bottom and the decorative duvet on top, so you only have one cover to pull up in the mornings. Personally, I got in the habit last fall by literally putting a gold star sticker in my daily planner for every day I actually did it, which was unexpectedly motivating.

21. If you sleep with a partner, try replacing your single set of bed covers with two twin sheets and two duvets.

This idea makes so much sense: you can still cuddle, but then when it’s time to actually sleep, you’re less likely to be woken up when your sleeping partner pulls the sheets off of you.

It’s suggested by National Sleep Foundation, but also a common way to make your bed in Switzerland (and other European countries) and recommended by Kate at Wit and Delight, Amanda at Wit and Whistle, and Rebecca at Scandinavia Standard (h/t to Cup of Jo to bringing this to my attention).

22. And if your sleep problems persist, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor or potentially a sleep specialist.

Don’t blame yourself if you keep trying to get better sleep but just can’t. Get tips for talking to your doctor about sleep at The National Sleep Foundation. And if your primary care doctor can’t help, they’ll probably recommend you to a specialist who can.

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