Finding ways to get better sleep is the holy grail of life. The difference between getting a great night’s sleep and a poor night’s sleep can mean the difference between a bad day and a great day, with the exception being during days off when your body clock seems to force you to wake up as soon as the sunlight hits your bedroom window. On your standard working days, however, it seems to be all hands-on deck to find a way to improve the way you sleep through the night. It’s like a never-ending cycle that you just want to turn off and put to sleep. Literally!
Sleep can often prove one of the hardest parts of the day to handle, especially if you have things on your mind and you can’t quite figure out how to shift them. Everyone needs a little helping hand and that’s why we’re here – to try and provide a few hints and tips. We’ve all been there and it well and truly grinds you down. But if you can figure a way to get yourself into good habits instead of bad at night time, you will find yourself with great quality sleep and better days to boot.
For me, when I’ve had poor sleeping habits, I’ve found the worst thing for it is sleeping pills. You become drowsy, dopey and the unnatural element of forcing yourself to sleep doesn’t really sit well with me, but there are indeed a few other things you can do to help enthuse a natural deep sleep. There are some gadgets, gizmos and little tricks that you can employ to make yourself fall to sleep and get you back in good habits when darkness comes.
Before You Consider Tech
Firstly – what are you sleeping on? What’s the quality of your mattress and how long have you had it? It might seem like a little bit of a crazy thought, but the older a mattress becomes, the more ragged, creaky and down-right uncomfortable it can become. The lifespan of your mattress is often pretty large, but the turn from comfortable to completely useless can happen at the flick of a switch – or the snap of a spring. Make sure the first thing you do is make sure you’re comfortable during the night. There’s a large range of mattresses on the market now and you should contrast and compare to see which mattress is best for you.
One of the most exciting and best little gadgets on the sleeping market is a noise conditioner. What this does is actually outputs a dull, white noise sound that blocks out other, smaller, more irritating sounds that may either keep you awake or wake you up when you eventually doze off. The cost on these are fairly high, but they are a neat piece of kit. The white noise, as well as drowning out other sounds, is sleep-inducing and tricks the brain into becoming tired with low hums, similar to sleeping in a moving car or with the TV on. The only exception being that you’re not going to be woken by honking horns or loud sounds on the TV. Which can only be good news.
A new take on an old technology is a gradually dulling light. As opposed to going from bright light to no light when you come to go to sleep, this type of light will gradually get dimmer and dimmer until it switches off, by which point you will have naturally become accustomed to your environment by good old fashioned mood-lighting. The effect this has is two-fold – you don’t need to move out of bed to turn off your light and waking yourself up. Similarly, you will also find your eyes tiring easier in the duller light. Then all you need to do is get comfortable, close your eyes and sink into Slumberland.
Something I had never come across before a few weeks ago, is a neat, exciting product that mixes a traditional lamp with aromatherapy to provide an inoffensive environment to wake up in, therefore promoting a calmer feeling when you eventually have to get up. Setting the alarm to wake you up, when the alarm goes off, there is a spray of smell blasted into the air, infusing your bedroom with a nice sleep at a great time, and setting you off about your day on a more positive note.
It’s no longer a secret but still an important part of a lot of sleep diaries – the sleep monitor in the form of a watch. Lots of fitness bands have this within their products, a function that allows you to track your sleeping during the day so you can see how you have slept during the night before. The benefit of this is the foresight of knowing when your worst period of sleep is and how many times you wake during the night. With this information, you can then go out seeking further help or consciously trying to keep your eyes closed and falling back to sleep whenever you wake during the night.
We couldn’t close the piece without suggesting an app to use. A great smartphone app to use for engaging in better sleeping techniques is Sleepfulness – an app which promotes mindfulness techniques in order to help you get to sleep. With an array of audio content from meditation to music, Sleepfulness suggests what it thinks will help improve your sleeping based on information you input. It’s a really nifty personalized way to help you fall asleep.
These are just a couple of the ways in which you can try and find a more routine, better quality sleep. More often than not its noises around you or patterns you’ve gotten in over months and years, and breaking these habits is always going to be tough. Yet, if you can find a way of doing this – through one of the suggestions above – you will begin to notice a marked improvement in your days and your nights. And that’s what we all want.
Frank Apodaca is the lead editor at The Sleep Judge. A blog dedicated to helping individuals make informed decisions when it comes to purchasing a mattress or anything sleep related product. As well as providing tips and tricks to better your sleep quality.