Last updated 9th October, 2020
Are you finding it difficult to fall asleep at night? Insomnia is not an uncommon issue. If you suffer with this problem, you can be left with hours of worry and boredom while trying to nod off.
This can leave you feeling more tired and stressed during the day, while also having a negative impact on both your physical and mental health in general. With sleep being so essential, it’s important that you figure out how to sleep better if you’re having problems.
In the following guide, we’ll break down ways that you can achieve this such as with having the right mattress and pillows, choosing the right lighting and introducing the correct scents/aromas to your room. Thankfully, there are plenty of things to help you sleep, including smart technology and other high-quality products.
We’ll also delve into different tips to fall asleep more quickly. Regardless of what the main cause is, this article will prove very useful if you’re looking for ways to improve your sleep!
First, let’s consider what bed furniture can enable falling asleep more easily. In the case of a mattress, a sufficient product will allow for a healthy sleep posture while ensuring support to your body. If for instance, a high-quality mattress provides great cradling, the mattress can distribute a person’s weight in an even manner while removing unnecessary stress of any one body part. Over time, a quality mattress should also significantly minimise chronic aches and pains.
As for high-quality pillows, they can provide support for your upper back and neck and increase comfort, making it easier to fall asleep. Considering that we will spend around three decades of our life sleeping, these properties of a good mattress and pillow can prove very important. By making the right choices, you’ll increase your chances of winning the fight against insomnia.
Of course, finding the right products is essential - and with many options to choose from, it can be a bit overwhelming. So let’s break down what you should consider. Memory foam mattresses are among the best options for sleeping since they provide support, relieve pressure and also offer body contouring. Latex foam is another popular option. Comfort, bounce, cooling and responsiveness are some of the most prominent qualities of a latex foam mattress. They’re ideal if you’d prefer a foam-based mattress that does not come with the sort of body contouring that memory foam mattresses feature.
Pillow-top mattresses are perfect if you want a softer feel and a mattress with better cushion support. Ultimately, the best mattress for you will depend on your preferences and needs. You may also be interested in a coil or adjustable mattress to name a few additional examples. On average, a memory foam mattress will set you back between £270 and £580, a latex foam mattress will cost about £200 to £400, and a pillow top mattress will probably come with a price tag between £400 and £700.
So what about the best types of pillows for sleeping? Once again, memory foam is a great choice. These pillows will offer even support while also being easily maintained and long-lasting. The only notable downside is that they can get a bit too hot during the summer months. Microfibre pillows are a less costly option and they’re available in hypoallergenic versions too although they do not tend to last as long as other types.
Feather and down pillows can stay supportive and comfortable for a longer period than pillows with synthetic fillings. In addition, these pillows can be moulded for your neck. However, they may become flattened over time and can also be a bit noisier than other pillow types. Also, you might find that a feather and down pillow will require a professional clean. If you can’t afford a new mattress right now, you could purchase a mattress topper or cooling mattress protector. With these sorts of products, you can make a mattress more comfortable rather than buying an entirely new one.
Choosing the right lighting conditions is also vital if you want to make it easier to sleep well. Harsh light exposure can interrupt your sleeping pattern and prevent healthy sleeping. Artificial light can make it difficult to get to sleep. This includes fluorescent bulbs, incandescent bulbs and LEDs. Since blue light can keep you awake for longer, it is worth thinking about keeping devices such as your mobile phone out of your bedroom. The fewer electronics in your room, the better your chances of getting to sleep should be. Unlike blue light, red light is known to make it easier to fall asleep.
There are also many light bulbs designed to aid with sleep, such as night lights. Going to bed in the dark is ultimately the best approach to take, but if there is still some light making its way into your room, there are ways you can block it out. This could apply at nighttime such as if light seeps through from the outside or other rooms or if there is daylight outside if, for instance, you are working the night shift. Some of the best ways to keep light out of your bedroom are with blackout curtains, black privacy window film or thermally insulated curtain liners. You could also use a sleep mask to block out light.
There is plenty of smart technology out there that can also help. For example, there are sunrise alarm wake up clocks. These ‘alarms’ are lights which gradually become brighter during the morning. This will gently and more comfortably wake you up as a less abrupt alternative to an auditory alarm. Other smart devices that could prove useful include light therapy glasses and smart night lights.
Smart night lights tend to cost around £20 to £30, but some are available for as little as £6 while others can cost up to or more than £100. Some smart technology can slowly learn your sleeping habits and adjust the room accordingly. You should take on board the option of connecting a wide range of smart devices to aid your sleep efforts, not just smart light. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a common issue that most often occurs during the winter months, although it can happen at other times of the year too.
A lightbox whether it is in the form of a wall-mounted light or a desk lamp can be a productive way of dealing with SAD. It is generally recommended to sit next to a SAD lamp for 30-60 minutes every morning in order for such a fixture to have positive effects on your mental wellbeing.
Once you’ve found some lighting solutions that can make it easier for you to nod off, you should then consider the importance of noise. Some of the most common ways of drowning out sound are with headphones, fans and earplugs. Towels or/and blankets could also be placed against a window to block sound. As for smart technology, many find that soothing sound machines and white noise machines are very effective as a way to deal with insomnia.
White noise machines can help you get good sleep since, if loud enough, they can create a consistent and relaxing noise environment as well as having the potential to block out other sounds. In terms of the science, white noise provides sound at a variety of frequencies but with the same intensity. This, in turn, creates consistency. Soothing noise machines, often known as sleep machines, come with a wider plethora of sounds to choose from albeit there is generally still a theme of consistency. Sleep machines may come with the sounds of falling rain, waves crashing on a beach, other sounds from nature or that of being on a plane or train.
There are plenty of sleep machines to choose from, each with different sound options. Many also feature richness settings so that you can increase or reduce the complexity of the sounds. Arguably, using this sort of device is the best way to sleep when it comes to sound. A sleep noise machine will probably cost you between £20 and £30.
While a good mattress and pillow are a prime factor in creating the best sleep conditions, choosing good bedding (i.e. bed sheets, duvet, etc.) is also instrumental. When it comes to bedsheets, the fibre content is important. Sheets that are 100% cotton are popular due to their natural and soft feel. You may also be interested in polyester/cotton blends or 100% polyester sheets due to their durability. With that being, they are usually not as comfortable. You’ll also want to pay attention to the thread count and construction of the bedding.
As for duvets, during the winter especially, a warmer duvet will help with getting better sleep. For this, you should focus on the tog rating. This is a measure of how well a duvet can trap air which will, as a result, keep you warmer during the night. Other factors worth considering for a duvet are its fillings, fill power & weight, construction and size. The level of comfort and warmth retention offered by bedding are the most important factors overall. Of course, while you’ll want to keep warm during cooler times of the year, you should be conscious of how light your bedding should be during the summer so that you are not too warm.
There are various summer bedding ideas worth taking into account. For example, cotton and linen bedding is perfect for achieving restful sleep during warm evenings. Percale weaves sheets are another popular choice for summer bedding. You may find that right now you have the wrong bedding. If this is the case, you should throw it out or sell it and replace it with more update and helpful bedding. You may simply need to remove certain types of bedding temporarily and have different bedding for different times of the year.
As mentioned in the previous section, you’ll want to find the right levels of warmth so that you feel as cosy as possible at night. This is because temperature is an important part of how to get better sleep. Since the temperature of your body reduces when you sleep, a room that is cool albeit not cold will help you relax and stay asleep during the night. Around 18°C, plus or minus a couple of degrees, is about right.
Finding a more precise temperature will of course depend on what you find the most enjoyable. If you want to achieve a temperature in the ideal range, you should first fit a thermometer in your room so that any adjustments made to the room can be measured, in terms of whether they are producing the correct level of warmth.
Here are several ways to fall asleep more easily by adjusting room temperature:
Once this is achieved, it should make it easier to rest at night.
Lastly, let’s take a look at how scents can help treat insomnia. Certain aromas can have a variety of positive effects on mental health such as by reducing anxiety and stress or even having antidepressant effects, as in the case of Geranium. By making you more relaxed, the right scents can make it easier to sleep.
Among the scents that are most calming and which can help people sleep are lavender, coffee, geranium, sweet marjoram, rose, clary sage and jasmine. There are many methods of adding sleep-inducing aromas to your room.
For one, you could add lavender oil to your pillow. You might also wish to include jasmine or lavender plants in your bedroom, purchase an air or fabric freshener (particularly if it features rose) or place a bowl of coffee or one with water and an appropriate quantity of essential oils. Dabbing these oils on to your skin, while following the safety guidelines of the product can also work as can using a sleep diffuser. In regards to the latter, these aromatherapy devices emit vapours designed to help you get to sleep. Some of the most popular and effective oils that you can use with a sleep diffuser are chamomile, lavender, bergamot, sweet marjoram, valerian and sandalwood oil.
It might also interest you to take a bath with essential oils before heading to bed. That way, you’ll feel more relaxed before hitting the hay. This could be a good alternative for you, if you find the smells of such oils in your bedroom to be too overpowering. On a similar subject to aromas, if you have allergies, you may find that it’s best to keep pets out of your bedroom while you sleep. Of course, it’s also possible to train your pets to simply give you more space, such as by sleeping at the end of the bed. This would make sense if, for instance, your pets cuddling right next to you throughout the night is having an effect on your allergies.
As this article has shown, being as relaxed and comfortable as possible are what can make getting to sleep less of a chore and more of an enjoyment. In this guide, we’ve explored many different ways that you can improve your chances of getting to sleep more easily. Not only should you make the bed and bedding more comfortable but improving the temperature, aromas, lighting and sounds of the room can all play a part.
There are plenty of products to choose from that can help in the many areas we’ve explored in this article whether it is a smart night lamp, sleep machine or sleep diffuser. Make sure to do your research and check out product reviews before finding the right ones for you.
We’ve also alluded to the fact that what you do before going to sleep can also help. So make sure you keep this in mind such as by cutting off from technology sooner rather than later during the evening time (you may wish to read a book to help relax your mind). One of the most pervasive modern issues that can hinder sleep is the use of mobile phones before going to bed or while trying to fall asleep.
Establishing a good night routine is a tactic that you should definitely consider. There are other questions you might have, such as how to get more deep sleep? Should this be the case, approaches you can take include having a more sleep-friendly diet, exercising the right amount, trying pink noise and listening to ASMR videos.
By minimising your exposure to blue light and technology in general before going to bed and by considering all of the points raised in this article, you can take big steps in the right direction to improve your sleep. If you find that after plenty of effort, you are still having no success or you appear to have more serious issues related to sleep (e.g. falling asleep abruptly during the day), you should seek the help of a professional. Sleep help of this kind may be necessary in more extreme cases. Most of the time, however, it’ll just be a matter of taking the right steps until you have a breakthrough.