Raise your hand if you feel sleep deprived. Yikes, that's a lot of you.
According to a 2016 CDC study 1 in 3 adults do not get enough sleep on a regular basis. I used to be one of those 1 in 3. I had a hard time falling asleep at night, I could never stay asleep, and I never woke up feeling well rested. I considered myself a "light sleeper" and I would almost never dream.
That is no longer me. Now I fall asleep easily, dream every single night, stay asleep all night long, and wake easily in the morning feeling well rested. I'm not telling you this to try and make you jealous, I'm telling you this because if what I share with you below helped me, it might help you too......
1. Keep the room clean and simple.
If you are tripping over things on the floor or having to clear off the bed every night before you go to sleep, you may want to make your bedroom a no-clutter zone. It's easier to relax and wind down in a clutter free room. This goes for the walls and the bed as well. I found that excess throw pillows and blankets irritated me at night when it was time to "un-make" the bed. Now I only keep the pillows we actually use on the bed and not only is climbing right into bed easier, it's also easier to make the bed each morning. As for the walls, I found that not having a ton of decor on the walls is actually very calming. Having a minimalist bedroom allows me to relax when I'm in the room and as much as I love decorating my home, the bedroom is one room where just having an accent wall is enough for me.
2. Use a non-illuminated clock.
How many times do you look at your illuminated alarm clock every night? If you ever say "I stared at my alarm clock last night from 1:35 am - 2:15 am", I would try an alternative way to wake up in the morning (more on that below) because that illuminated alarm clock is most likely contributing to your lack of sleep. Now when I wake up in the middle of the night I don't have an alarm clock to look at and I don't think about what time it is. My body just knows it's time to still sleep and I'm easily able to fall back asleep. The clock that I use is this one from IKEA.
3. Use an unconventional alarm clock.
One of my favorite things about my Fitbit Charge HR is the ability to set silent alarms. Instead of waking up to music or your traditional alarm clock beeping sound (which will most likely be accompanied by an illuminated clock face), I now wake up to the vibrations on my wrist from my Fitbit Charge HR. Worried about not being able to hit snooze? Simply set multiple silent alarms.
4. Set a bedtime alarm.
If you find yourself losing track of time at night because you've become engrossed in that book you are reading, watching TV, or catching up on social networking, set an alarm to go to bed. I use the Bedtime Reminder on my Fitbit app so every night at 9:30 pm (during the week), my phone will buzz (since I turn it to vibrate at night) and remind me that it's time to go to sleep. I hear the new iOS 10 update works very similar to the Fitbit app.
5. Keep the light out, but not completely.
Because we live in the country and the brightness of the stars floods our room with light more so than street lights, I do have curtains on our windows. However, they are not room darkening because I want the light to come in in the morning. During the week, and especially during the fall and winter months, I'm always up before the sun rises, but on the weekends and during the summer, I do want the light of day to wake me up. I strongly believe in keeping the same sleep schedule for weekdays and weekends. We rarely stay up late on weekends because I always feel like I have a sleep hangover when I stay up late and it takes days to get back to normal again.
6. Use a white noise app.
Every once in awhile I have a hard time falling asleep because there is some sort of noise keeping me awake. For instance, a few times over the summer a neighbor was having a bonfire late at night and because our windows were open, the talking kept me awake. If my son has his friend sleep over and they are up a little later than normal talking, that will also keep me up. The one thing that will help me fall asleep during those times is using a white noise app on my phone. There are tons of white noises to choose from and you can set a timer so it's not on all night long. The one that I prefer to use (it's free) is this one.
7. Take Natural Calm magnesium supplement.
This was a game changer for me. I've had nighttime leg muscle cramps since I was a kid and have lived it with since then. Since I discovered Natural Calm by listening to the Paleo Women Podcast, I no longer wake up in the middle of the night from leg muscle cramps and spasms. Not only are my leg muscle cramps a thing of the past, I now dream every single night so I know I'm getting that important REM sleep. I ran out of Natural Calm a few weeks ago and was waiting for my shipment from Amazon so I went a few nights not taking it. By the second night I was having muscle leg cramps at night and during the day and I stopped dreaming. Although I eat a 90% whole food non-processed diet, I know my body needs a magnesium supplement. If you like sweet, go for the raspberry lemonade, if not, try the orange. Also, don't expect this to work the first night, be sure to give it a week - that's how long it took for me. Here is a huge selection of Natural Calm.
How do you know if you are magnesium deficient? Check this out below (source: Natural Vitality):
What are the symptoms of magnesium deficiency?
Millions suffer daily from symptoms that can result from a lack of magnesium at a cellular level (not blood levels which are constant in most people). Due to the fact that magnesium is so vital to so many bodily processes, deficiency can contribute to a wide variety of conditions, such as
- Fatigue & Low Energy
- Inability to Sleep
- Muscle Tension, Spasms &?Cramps
- Anxiousness and Nervousness
- PMS and Hormonal Imbalances
- Weakening Bones
- Abnormal Heart Rhythm
- Calcification of Organs *
8. Take care of stress triggers before bed.
Dishes in the sink, stuff on the island, a living room that is not picked up, those are stress triggers for me. It's hard for me to fall asleep at night if I suddenly realize that the dishwasher was not emptied and there are dishes in the sink. Bothers the heck out of me. I can not and will not be able to fall asleep at night if our kitchen and living room is not picked up, organized, and clean. It's one of my pet peeves and my mornings are so much easier and stress-free when I wake up to an empty sink and a clean kitchen and living room.
9. Invest in good quality sheets.
I am 40 years old and for the first time in my life I own a set of sheets that cost more than $40. I've been so cheap when it comes to bed linens and now that I do have a quality set, I'll never go back to the cheap sets again. I can not believe how much of a difference it makes. Why I never believed that it would make a difference is beyond me.
Just a few days before I received my Perfect Linens Second Skin sheet set, I purchased a microfiber sheet set from Costco simply because they were $17.97 (I know, I'm so cheap sometimes). The day the Perfect Linens Second Skin set came, I was busy and did not pay any attention to the laundering directions. I tossed them in the washer and dried them as usual. When I took them out of the dryer I was a little disappointed with how wrinkly the sheets were. I still put them on the bed and tried my best to ignore the wrinkles. So yeah, I'll admit, they felt good as soon as I get into bed that night. I knew there was a difference, I just couldn't pinpoint what it was. Days later the wrinkles were still there and it was driving me nuts. I decided to take them off the bed and try the microfiber sheets from Costco. After washing and drying the Costco sheets I was ecstatic when I pulled them out of the dryer and there were no wrinkles. Ha! Take that expensive sheets!
I was sooooooo wrong.
The sheets may have been wrinkle free, but that's all they were. Any time you moved, rolled over, or adjusted your position, the sheets would move with you. It was awful. They wouldn't stay on the bed and they were so rough that I got road rash on my elbow! Plus, they were so hot! Those few nights were such uncomfortable nights of sleep because I could just feel that the sheets were trapping in all of our body heat. By the third morning my husband was begging me to put the Perfect Linens Second Skin sheets back on the bed.
This time I followed the drying instructions. Instead of letting them dry all of the way, you're supposed to take them out of the dryer when they are still damp. Using the Damp Dry setting on my dryer was a big help. I was a little hesitant to put them on the bed when they were still damp but I did it anyways. Within a half hour and after hand-pressing them (smoothing them out), the sheets were completely dry and there were considerably fewer wrinkles than the first time. The wrinkles were so subtle that they didn't bother me one bit.
When I climbed into bed that night I realized the difference between these sheets and others is how incredibly soft and smooth they are. I no longer have the "sheets are sheets" attitude and realize that good sheets really DO make a difference. My husband doesn't feel like a furnace anymore, even when I wear fleece pajama pants they don't get caught up on the sheets like Velcro, and I know for certain my quality of sleep has improved. These sheets are definitely not scratchy and clingy like those other sheets.
What makes Perfect Linen Second Skin sheets different? “Second Skin's" outstanding softness is the result of a natural enzyme process which removes molecules from the cell walls of the cotton, making the fibers easier to bend. The enzyme process is permanent so the exceptional softness cannot wash out. Sateen-weave, with fewer yarn-locking intersections per square inch, reduces stiffness further. The softest pure-cotton sheet we have tested. Most cotton sheets are stiff but “Second Skin” tested soft like microfiber sheets, which are known for snugness. But unlike microfiber, cotton sheets are airy and don’t cling like nylon stockings. You experience a “tucked-in” feeling but won't feel hot or muggy in warmer sleeping conditions.
Second Skin sheets come with a 45 night love it guarantee and once you visit their website, watch for a pop-up to enter your email for 10% off your order. I promise you, they are SO worth it.
I seriously feel like I'm sleeping in a fancy hotel every single night!
Perfect Linens wants to give a What Rose Knows reader a set of their own Second Skin Blue Stripe Sheets (up to $229 value)! You will be able to choose the size (queen or king, 4-pc set).
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* I received this product for free in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own.
Do you have any tips for a good night's sleep? Please share with me!