Since becoming an adult, I've had trouble sleeping. Between having difficulty falling asleep to waking up in the middle-of-the-night, it's been some time since I've had a full seven to eight hours of sleep. And while it's no secret that a good night's sleep will have you feeling and looking your best; getting those full hours can be a challenge. I've tried everything from breathing exercises to counting sheep, and a glass of wine or tea—and yet, nothing has helped. As creatives, we're overthinkers; our mind is always going; I'm not a night owl, but I find that when it's time to go to bed, my mind is going a mile-a-minute thinking about everything I need and want to do. Since moving back in June, I've switched up my routine, purchased a few new items, and found that I'm able to sleep much better; here's how you can sleep better at night and five products that will help you.
How to get better sleep
Getting ready for bed should be time for you to power your body and mind down. Avoid your phone, social media included, at least one hour before bed. Also, create a clear association between your bed and sleep; avoid lying in bed to watch TV or reading as these activities will stimulate your brain instead of relaxing it.
Your bedroom should feel warm and intimate; create an environment that is right for sleeping; keep it quiet, dark, and at a comfortable temperature.
I hardly have time to read in the morning or throughout the day, so I give myself time before bed (at least 30 mins) to read a few pages. Reading before bed relaxes your mind and allows you to be detached from your worries and thoughts; it also creates a wind-down ritual that can help you get to sleep faster. Again, try to avoid reading while in bed.
Meditation is a practice of quieting the mind and doing so before bed will help your mind from going into overdrive. Meditating and praying is not an exercise to force you to sleep, but done to increase your awareness and understanding so that you sleep better throughout the night.
Another practice you can also try is journaling, but do this a few hours before bedtime; for 10-to-15 minutes, write down what's on your mind and what you can do about it. The goal of this is to prep your mind to shut off when you lay down and avoid pending worries and things to do.
Products to help
Pink Himalayan Salt Lamp
I'm sure you've seen these around salons and spas, but I'll be honest, I never knew what they were or what they did until recently. For the holidays, my mother gifted me a Pink Himalayan Salt Lamp, and if you don't have one, you need to pick one up. Himalayan salt lamps are large pieces of pure salt that have a small bulb inside; they can be solid pieces of salt or decorative baskets filled with large crystals of salt. When the lamp is turned on, the bulb heats up the crystals and releases negative ions that counter-balance the positive ions that can affect the quality of your sleep. The positive ions that are in the air are positively charged particles that reduce the blood and oxygen supply to the brain, resulting in irregular sleep patterns. Salt lamps are natural negative ion generators; while they can enhance your sleep patterns, they can also help you realize stress, headaches, migraines, and your mood.
Have a good mattress sounds self-explanatory, but I didn't know how important a good mattress was until I purchased one. When we moved, we decided we wanted a new bed and mattress, and after searching and researching we found a brand called Zinus. Very similar to other memory foam brands on the market, they promise comfort, quality, and support; this being our first memory foam mattress, we decided to give it a try. It's been the best sleep I've gotten! The mattress feels like I'm in a hotel bed; your body conforms to the cushion and is supported by a stable foundation of foam—it's luxurious and comfortable, and has made it much harder to get out the bed in the morning.
Sheets go hand-in-hand with a good mattress. I can't count how many times I've purchased sheets only to throw them out because they were too hard or too heavy. Thread count and fabric are personal choices, but one item everyone should have is a good duvet. I love a body temperature duvet; it keeps your body temperature leveled throughout the night so you're not excessively hot or cold.
I've always loved the sound of rain or water falling, but never knew it could help me rest until I found this app. Natural sounds—rain, rustling leaves or a rushing water stream—are sounds that create a calm, peaceful atmosphere that can help you sleep better. Natural noises are less likely to annoy you, and will also block out noises the brain would interpret as a threat. Because of this, the sound of nature will help you sleep better; think how you feel when it rains or when you're on a beach, you can create the same calming feeling with the 'Rain-Rain' app. I've had this app for years and recently started using it again; the app allows you to use one sound or create a combination of custom sounds of rain, birds, or crackling fire. The sounds are very natural and will lure you into focusing on the sounds rather than your thoughts or surroundings; this is a must-have app for anyone who has trouble sleeping.
Bath and Body Works, Lavender Chamomile Aromatherapy Collection
One of my favorite scents to use in the evening is lavender; it's a calming aroma that helps promote sleep. Lavender is a flowering plant that's in the mint family; studies have shown that it can slow down blood pressure and your heart rate, as well as, put you in a parasympathetic, relaxed state. This combination combined with Chamomile (a herb that soothes and relaxes the body) is in Bath and Body's sleep aromatherapy collection. During their sale, I like to pick up a few bottles of lotion and body scrub to use nightly; to my surprise, the products are helping me get to sleep faster and keep me relaxed through the night. The key is to use the products right before bed and once applied, inhale deeply to ingest the full aroma.