Most people know sleep is important, but few realize exactly how crucial a good night’s sleep really is to optimal health. Without adequate (regular) sleep, your body is at higher risk for heart disease, elevated blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes, according to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
Willing yourself to sleep can be frustrating, though, especially when your environment is working against you. The trick? Combine old-fashioned sleeping tips (no coffee after 4 p.m.!) with today’s technology to nix the restless tossing and turning.
Here are the best tips to sleep better tonight, for a ridiculously productive tomorrow:
“Pad” Yourself on the Back
First, look to the obvious. If you’re not sleeping well on an old hand-me-down mattress, start there. Discomfort—especially back pain—can interrupt sleep cycles, but proper posture at night helps protect your back, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center. Invest in a mattress that simultaneously gives and supports, like the 10-Inch Memory Foam Mattress by Orthosleep Products.
Cut Screen Time
Today’s technology might keep you connected to the world, but screen time before bed inhibits natural melatonin production. The result is a wide-eyed wakefulness when your circadian clock says you should be fast asleep.
You know what you need to do, but sometimes, you just can’t put your phone down. Don’t worry—there’s an app for that. F.lux software gives your screen a warm, soft glow at night, instead of the bright blue screens are known for.
Alternately, you could install a blue-light blocking filter like the Transformer Book Screen Protector by Asus that lets your melatonin kick in the way it would sans screen time. See? The best sleeping tips don’t even require you to sacrifice your favorite evening rituals.
Provide Yourself an Outlet
If stress is keeping you up, of course your mornings will suffer. Get it all out of your head by keeping a notepad at your bedside and jotting thoughts down as they come to you. Think business connections, appointments, to-do’s, and other reminders that keep you awake.
Use something like the flexible Clip-On LED Book Light, that features a small, soft light bulb, which you can attach to your notepad for late-night or early-morning thoughts. Once your ideas are safely recorded, your mind can wind down the way it should, and you’ll know exactly what tomorrow holds.
Mind the Ears
Believe it or not, your efforts to quiet the room might be sabotaging your good night’s sleep. Over the years, studies have shown how white noise helps babies and adults sleep better throughout the night—and a sound machine can help you find the exact right tone for you.
Not sure which one to get? Shhhhhhhhh… Relax. Try the Deep Sleep II Sleep Therapy Machine by HoMedics, which has a variety of sounds, plus a remote, so you can try out each one without even getting up.
Have a Backup Plan
All the sleeping tips in the world can’t help you if your partner is rearranging furniture at 2 a.m. That’s why you need a backup plan for getting your much-needed shut-eye.
Complete your sleeping gear with the REM Sleep Mask by Earth Therapeutics to ensure you’re completing every crucial phase in the sleep cycle—no matter what the spouse, kids, or roommates are up to each night.
Oftentimes, ambitious personalities try to rationalize sleeping less for the purpose of getting more done, but that can backfire. Experts at the Military Health System report that after just 18 to 20 hours of wake time, workers function as if under the influence of four stiff drinks: something the boss would likely frown upon.
These tips to sleep better can boost your productivity and your ability to enjoy your achievements by putting sleep back on top of the priority list—where it belongs.