The Best Sleep-Optimizing Advice We Got This Year That’ll Make 2021 a Dream
According to a 2020 survey conducted by Sleep Standards, 67 percent of Americans believe their sleep schedules were healthier before the pandemic. A year like this one makes a stat like that one pretty unsurprising—but our battle with insomnia also sparked us to seek out top-notch advice from our directory of wellness experts on how to set the scene for eight hours of shut-eye. And we’re not planning on putting the best sleep advice of 2020 to bed come New Year’s.
Below, you’ll find the seven best ways to hack your sleep schedule tonight. From ergonomic advice straight from a chiropractor to the snacks a dietitian relies on for a healthy bite before bed, here’s how to crush your sleep goal in 2020.
The 7 best sleep advice tips of 2020 we are snuggling with in 2021
1. Tap into the power of your sleep arc
Casper co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer Neil Parikh introduced us to the idea of the sleep arc: the pre-bedtime rituals where you read, journal, meditate, or otherwise lull your mind. The learning lesson here is to fine-tune your sleep arc so that it shepherds you gently to bed. You don’t want to be in the position of being on the precipice of sleep and remembering that you need to lock your front door or floss your teeth, after all.
2. Optimize your bedroom office
Many folks learned to #workfrombed this year—and in a world that’s increasingly turning towards digital work, that may be the case for years to come. If you’re working at a desk three feet from your bed (or in your bed for that matter), you’re going to need to set some healthy boundaries. “Most of us are feeling more anxious than normal given the current COVID-19 situation, so it’s key you strengthen the mental association between the bed and sleeping. That means avoiding taking work to bed and any worries,” UK-based sleep advisor Lisa Artis, deputy CEO of the Sleep Charity, previously told Well+Good.
To accomplish that separation of work and bed, she recommends keeping your “office” as spiffy as possible, putting your devices (all of them) to bed after work, and being declarative about when you’re working and when you’re decompressing.
3. Make your bed feel fresh without buying a new mattress
In times of strife, we seek double the amount of comfort—and that means you may have longed for a new mattress more than once in the past nine months. Luckily, Kevin Lees, DC, manager of auditing and quality for The Joint Chiropractic, says you don’t need to shell out a thousand bucks to feel like you’re sleeping on a cloud tonight. Simple upgrades like purchasing blackout curtains, swapping your pillow to match your sleeping position, and washing your sheets can make you feel like you’re in the lap of luxury.
4. Read a bedtime story
One of the biggest bummers about being an adult, IMO, is that no one reads to you live anymore. Queuing up a bedtime sleep story podcast is a not-so-close second that will still help you drift off toward Mr. Sandman. Get Sleepy, Boring Books for Bedtime, and Calm’s sleep stories are among the many out there.
5. Sleep naked
I don’t know about you but I have not been highly motivated to wash my favorite pajamas during the pandemic. Now, there’s an easy fix: Just sleep in the buff! “Being naked keeps one cooler and avoids skin rubbing [and the] bunching up of sleeping garments,” Felice Gersh, MD, an OB/GYN and founder of the Integrative Medical Group of Irvine, previously told Well+Good. Plus, it lets everything down there breathe.
6. Get smart about your bedtime snacks
“If you’re someone who struggles with glucose control, are often awoken by hunger pains, or are trying to increase your muscle mass, sometimes a late-night snack can be a good thing,” said Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, RD, on one of this year’s killer episodes of You Versus Food. [Watch it below!] Her go-tos to beat the bedtime munchies are peanut butter and a banana, greek yogurt, or chia pudding.
7. Use scent to help you sleep
Smell is an integral part in creating a somnolent atmosphere—and aromatherapist Amy Galper gave us the 411 on the absolute best scents for sweet dreams. Apart from lavender (a classic), she recommends rose, chamomile, clary sage, and a host of other essential oils that will bring you quality rest.
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