Did you know we spend up to 40% of our lives sleeping? With that much time spent snoozing away, shouldn't we want to ensure that we get the best type of sleep possible?
Most of us know that getting a good night's sleep is vital for our overall health and help us stay alert the following day, but too few of us actually make those eight hours with our heads on the pillow a priority. To help you remember how being really, really rested feels like, here are 6 tips to help you sleep better.
1. Know how much sleep you should get for your age
The National Sleep Foundation released the results of a global study that took more than two years to complete. The results provided a guideline on how much sleep we really need at various stages of our lives.
Which means if you're in tertiary studies (between the age of 18-25), you will require 7-9 hours of sleep every night to function optimally. Whereas if you are between the age of 14-17 years, studying in secondary school, you will need slightly more sleep of at least 8-10 hours every night.
Keeping to your optimal sleep range will ensure that you constantly feel rested and performing at your peak.
2. Have a nighttime routine that will ease you easily into bedtime
Lying in bed face-up on your pillow watching YouTube videos is the perfect kind of sleep sabotage. Not to mention it also increases your chances of dropping your phone on your face. Blue light from your phone screen tricks your body into thinking it's still daytime and keeps your brain stimulated.
Help ease yourself into a restful state by cutting out all vigorous activities like exercise, as well as caffeine and alcohol 3 hours before you go to bed. You can make it even easier to fall asleep by taking a hot bath or reading a book an hour before you say goodnight.
3. Get the right type of pillow
If you have been sleeping on the same yellowing pillow since primary school, perhaps it's time to replace it with one that will actually support and cradle your head. Better yet, get a pillow that is best suited for your sleeping style.
If you like to sleep facing up, a memory foam pillow will be most ideal as the dense foam will mold to your neck and head and cradle it properly as you sleep. If you are a stomach sleeper, there is nothing better than the delicate fluff of down pillows; which are also cushiony and reduces perspiration during sleep. Side sleepers will benefit from polyester pillows which comes in a variety of thickness, depending on whether you sleep in air-con or with fan breeze.
Now that you know the type of pillow you should get, a good place to go to is Ikea, where you can find a proper one for as low as $12.90.
4. Make your bed smell wonderful
According to The National Sleep Foundation, any smell that helps you relax can help you get to sleep faster. I personally love lavender, and crawling into bed with the scent all around me is very soothing by itself. There are a couple of ways to make your bed and space around it smell great.
Singaporeans seem to be obsessed with scented candles down, so make a trip to the nearest Yankee Candle to sniff around for a scent that is calming to you (just be careful to blow them out before you fall asleep). Room sprays and reed diffusers are a good alternative if you are worried you'd wake up to burning curtains. A simple hack is to add a few drops of essential oil to a spray bottle, add some water, shake well and spritz on your bedsheets and blanket. By the time you finish brushing your teeth, the dampness will have dried and you can crawl into a tiny slice of heaven.
5. Listen to soothing podcasts
If you find it hard to put aside your phones when you're in bed, you might as well make them work for you. Listen to some soothing podcasts that tell non-stressful stories. Some great ones are Sleep With Me or Welcome to Night Vale.
I can also personally recommend this. On nights when I can’t seem to calm down because I have too much going on in my brain, I listen to either of these podcasts to help distract myself and to unwind (disclaimer: although Night Vale can be a little too exciting some episodes)
6. Start tracking your sleep
We can all do without hitting snooze ten times every morning until our mums barge into the room yelling that we're going to be late for school. Make use of technology to help you track your sleep so you can monitor your sleep patterns, as well as wake up calmly.
You can download tons of apps like Calm to help you relax, track, and monitor your sleep habits. But I personally like the Bedtime feature that now comes in almost every iPhone's clock app that can help you achieve more consistent sleep. See how it works here.