Want to get a deep and restful night’s sleep? Give these sleep tips a try.
Getting a deep and restful night’s sleep is one of the great joys of life.
Sleeping deeply is also vital to your physical and mental health. According to Dr. Matthew Walker in Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams, “Sleep is the single most effective thing we can do to reset our brain and body health each day.”
Here are my 7 best strategies – holistic, magical, and mundane – for getting to sleep, sleeping deeply, and staying asleep throughout the night.
1. Have Good Bed Feng Shui
To make sure your bed is feng shui-ed for sleep, start by removing anything you’re storing under it. Or, if you’ve cleared all your clutter and you still need to utilize the area under the bed as storage space, store things neatly, ideally in elegant storage boxes or drawers that allow plenty of air to flow above and around them. When there’s too much stuff shoved under the bed, it can create a stagnant energy flow, which can interfere with your sleep.
Next, do everything in your power to make sure your bed is comfortable. If you don’t feel great about your mattress, consider getting a new one if you can afford it right now. Otherwise, perhaps invest in a mattress topper, a new pillow, or whatever will best support your comfort. This also goes for your bedding: make sure it feels good against your skin and helps you stay at a temperature that feels good to you.
When it comes to sheets, feng shui wisdom tells us that a warm or neutral, solid color is the most conducive to sleep. This includes pink, ivory, beige, warm purple, red, and any shade of brown. Cool colors can be less comforting, and patterns can be less restful.
Last but not least, in order to feel safe and supported, it’s ideal if the head of your bed is against a solid wall, and that you can see the main door to the room while you are lying in bed. If you must place the head of your bed against a window, get heavy curtains for the window and close them while you sleep. A substantial headboard (with or without a solid wall behind it) can also facilitate a sense that you are protected and secure.
Because they are an energizing presence, mirrors in the bedroom are often considered a feng shui no-no. I, personally, have had times in my life when they definitely seemed to keep me up at night, and other times (like now) when they don’t seem to make much of a difference in my sleep quality. The only way to know if you’re a mirror-sensitive sleeper is to try covering your mirrors at night for a week or two. If you notice a difference in your sleep, keep covering them and consider removing them from your bedroom completely. Or, if you have a mirrored closet or a mirror built into your wall, you could consider curtaining the whole thing. That way, you can open the curtain during the day and still have the best of both worlds.
3. Minimize Sensory Input on Many Levels
We all know that a dark, quiet room is the best kind of room to sleep in. And not just darkish and quiet-ish: the darkest possible dark and the quietest possible quiet. But let’s be honest: that level of darkness and quiet is not always attainable. You may live in an apartment where the outside lights stay on at all hours and your neighbors may play music until late into the night. Dogs may bark, partners may snore, digital alarm clocks may glow, headlights may roll by. But you can make a dark room darker with heavy curtains and take the darkness even further with a sleep mask. As for sound, some people like to sleep with earplugs. I prefer white noise: sometimes I use a box fan and other times I use this white noise app.
It’s also a good idea to be aware of the lighting you expose yourself to before bed. While you’re winding down for an hour or two before you call it a day, it’s best if you’re not under bright fluorescent or LED lights, and not gazing at any sort of digital screen (especially one that isn’t in night mode). If you can’t help wanting to look at a screen in the hours before bed, wearing blue light blocking glasses may help.
4. Sleep with a Black Tourmaline
While there are a number of crystals that can help you sleep, black tourmaline is by far my favorite. It soothes and neutralizes frenetic energy, shields you from negativity, and promotes a feeling of safety and calm. I like to sleep with one in my hand, though my podcast cohost, Natasha, recently teased me about this. She thinks grasping something during sleep doesn’t seem restful. To me, it’s like a handheld teddy bear. But if, like Natasha, you prefer to not to hold onto something while you sleep, you can always wear a tourmaline bracelet or pendant.
Herbal tea containing chamomile, kava, and/or valerian can be an effective before-bed sleep potion. I used to drink Sleepytime by Celestial Seasonings until I read this article and discovered that most commercial tea bags don’t just infuse our water with herbs, but also with plastic. (Yuck!) So now I make a simpler, loose-leaf version with dried chamomile flowers and spearmint.
Probably my least favorite sleep tip, but at the same time probably the most effective one, is to cut back on caffeine. I find that if I’ve been drinking coffee, and I switch to tea, I immediately sleep much, much better. But any way you can limit your caffeine intake – especially after 2PM – is going to have a positive effect not only on the length of your sleep, but also on its quality.
Finally, let’s talk about food. We’ve all had the experience of being too hungry to sleep well, as well as the opposite experience of being too full to sleep well. Clearly (and Dr. Matthew Walker confirms this in his book, Why We Sleep), we sleep best when we’re satiated, but not overly full.
Incidentally, I’ve found that snacking on almonds before bed seems to help knock me out. I initially thought this was because the combination of protein, carbs, and fat in almonds helped me feel satisfied without feeling stuffed. But then I Googled it (it was really noticeable!) and discovered that almonds are a source of melatonin (a hormone that tells our body to sleep) as well as sleep-supporting magnesium.
(But most importantly: follow your intuition about what to eat. Ever since I read The F*ck It Diet by Caroline Dooner, I’ve been a firm believer that no one knows what will nourish you best like you do.)
I know I keep referencing Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, but that’s because it’s packed with so much solid sleep science. One of the practical gems I discovered in this book: 65 degrees appears to be the sweet spot for sleep, but keeping your feet warm also seems to help. So keep it cool and get yourself some comfy sleep socks.
7. Anoint Your Pillow with Lavender
Essential oil of lavender is a favorite among aromatherapists, and with good reason. It’s employed to soothe stress, relieve anxiety, heal headaches, and balance out PMS and menopausal symptoms. As if all that weren’t enough, it’s also famously used as a straight up sleep aid. You may like to diffuse lavender essential oil before bed or create a small herb pillow filled with dried lavender blossoms and anoint it regularly with essential oil of lavender to keep the scent strong. Or, if you like to keep it simple like I do, you might prefer to put a drop or two directly onto your pillow case before you hit the hay. In my experience, the oil evaporates and doesn’t leave a mark. (But use your discretion.)
…In conclusion: Love yourself. Take care of yourself. Get a good night’s sleep!
Did you try any of these sleep secrets? Or did I leave out a tip that always helps you sleep? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.