Written by Nectarsleep editorial team
Last Updated on Aug 25, 2022
Some nights, getting a good, deep night’s sleep, can feel like an impossible feat. Maybe you are about to start a new job and are already feeling those first day jitters. If you’re a new parent, you may be wondering why you ever took your blissful nights of uninterrupted sleep for granted. Or maybe you’re the one lying awake wondering why you thought it would be a good idea for that third cup of coffee at 4 in the afternoon.
However you struggle with sleep, the benefits of catching those quality zzz’s are undeniable. When we get a full 7 or 8 hours our days seem easier, stress levels lowered, and our energy levels increased so we are able to summon the strength and motivation to accomplish whatever challenges our day may bring.
But what about those nights when we are on our mattresses for those 7, 8, or 9 hours and still feel like we are about to fall asleep as our boss drones and we can’t peel our eyes off of the clock? At Nectar, we’ve done our homework and found that not all sleep is created equally. In fact, more important than the quantity of sleep you are getting each night is the quality of those hours, with deep sleep being one of the most important phases to consider in terms of overall health and energy.
An article from Harvard Health explains that “according to sleep experts, a regular schedule not only tends to increase the amount of sleep people get each night, it can also improve the quality of sleep.” Sticking to a regular schedule of sleeping, even on the weekends, can be one of the biggest factors in determining a person’s overall sleep health.
Getting to bed a bit earlier can make all of the difference when it comes to getting quality sleep during the night. Fitness and nutrition expert and host of one of the leading health podcasts on iTunes, Shawn Stevenson, writes about the importance of going to bed at the correct time. On his website, Shawn writes that you can get “amplified benefits of sleep by sleeping at the right hours.” He explains that sleeping during the hours of 10pm and 2am is when we get “the most rejuvenating effects” of sleep because of the significant amount of hormone secretion and recovery happening within our bodies during this point in our circadian rhythms.
Of course it is important to eat well and exercise regularly, but exercising too close to bedtime can raise your internal temperature, release endorphines, and make sleeping difficult. To ensure maximum sleep quality try to have your work out end at least 4 hours before bedtime.
Try starting with a caffeine curfew of 2pm and if you’re still having trouble getting that restful sleep, make the curfew earlier or even cutting out your cup of joe all together. Drinking a glass of water or tea in the morning can sustain energy much longer because of the hydration, won’t make you crash in a few hours, and won’t keep you up at night. It’s a win-win.
Eating a healthy snack, such as a banana, is a great choice an hour or half an hour before you hit the hay. A Forbes article explains that “potassium and magnesium are natural muscle relaxants, and bananas are a good source of both. They also contain the amino acid L-tryptophan, which gets converted to 5-HTP in the brain. The 5-HTP in turn is converted to serotonin (a relaxing neurotransmitter) and melatonin.”
Microbiome has become a bit of a buzz word in the health and wellness fields as of late because it describes the vastly important environment of our guts. Proper gut health is absolutely vital to the overall health of our bodies, and this is especially true when it comes to getting a good night of rest and helping beat your insomnia.
Fixing your metabolism is a way to get your body back into a rhythm. Ensure that you are eating well, exercising often, and overall making good choices towards wellness, and sleep should come much more easily.
Smoking negatively affects your sleep for a variety of reasons, but mainly because nicotine is a potent stimulant that may keep you wide awake into the wee hours.
Medication can be a sneaky thing that negatively impacts our sleep. If you are aware of a medication you take that may act as a stimulant, fixing your insomnia may be as simple as a conversation with you doctor.
Similar to bananas, milk contains the amino acid that makes you sleepy: tryptophan. Even better? Warm it up a little and add some honey as a night time treat.
If you are going through menopause it is likely that the change of hormones in your body could be negatively impacting your sleeping habits. In a 30-year study conducted by the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s School of Public Health and Health Sciences and Harvard University, results show that drinking milk has the potential to decrease the risk of early menopause.
Health guru Shawn Stevenson talks about the importance of keeping your room completely dark at night, even buying blackout curtains. He explains that it’s not just our eyes that have light receptors, but our skin as well. He says that “if there’s light in your bedroom, your body is picking it up and sending messages to your brain and organs that can interfere with your sleep.”
Correctly using your pillow to match up with your preferred sleep position can be a huge factor that increases your quality of sleep. If you are a stomach sleeper, choose a very flat pillow, or no pillow at all. If you sleep on your side, place a pillow between your knees to relieve pressure and have a fluffier pillow for under your head to help support the natural curvature of your spine. For back sleepers, choose a pillow that lays a little flatter, because less fluff is needed to support your natural curvature. A memory foam pillow can provide the perfect amount of contouring support.
There is a reason that in yoga class your instructor has you focus on your breath. Breathing deeply helps to calm our nervous system by allowing more oxygen into our bloodstream.
Sleeping on a comfortable mattress may be all it takes to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Out with the old and in with the new.
If you’re still sleeping on a lumpy pillow from your college days it may be time to upgrade. Choose a pillow that is supportive yet comfortable and use it in a position that cradles your head and neck.
It’s next to impossible to fall asleep when you’re too hot. Sleep experts agree that the ideal bedroom temperature for optimal sleep is 60-67 degrees for most people. While it might seem a little on the cool side, having this cooler temperature can help you sleep by lowering the body temperature which happens at the onset of sleep. Not to mention for those of you that sleep hot, you will rest easier.
Turn your cell phone on airplane mode, put your laptop and television in another room. Do whatever you can to ensure that your brain associates the bedroom with sleep.
The blue light that your phone emits – which is as bright as daylight – discourages sleep. But if you can filter out that blue light, you can eliminate one roadblock to sound sleep. Try a blue-blocking app, like Twilight (for Android) or Unblue (for Apple). Apple phones also have a Night Shift setting to make nighttime viewing more bedroom-friendly. And make sure you turn your phone off at least 30 minutes before you go to sleep and charge it in another room so you aren’t disturbed.
Another way to maximize relaxation is to give yourself a massage. A good way to self massage is by taking a tennis ball and rolling it around on the bottoms of your feet or by putting the tennis ball between your back and a wall and moving around in a massaging pattern.
Air conditioning is a huge plus for hot nights but if you aren’t lucky enough to have central air or you just like having a natural breeze with the windows open, ensuring that you have a mattress that maintains a neutral temperature is key. The Nectar mattress has a tencel cooling cover that helps to circulate air and wick away moisture as you sleep.
When we are waking up because of our furry friends it can be difficult to fall back to sleep. Though it’s nice to have a furry cuddle buddy while you sleep, your pet may be the reason that you’re feeling grumpy or groggy the next day.
Kava is a natural beverage made from a plant native to the western Pacific islands. It’s known to calm anxiety, stress, and even help insomnia.
Having a big O releases natural hormones that help induce a better night of sleep. When you have an orgasm, the after effect is like a full-on sedative for many people. Your body produces relaxing hormones and endorphins which can help set you up for a great night’s sleep.
Consult with your doctor if you suspect that you are struggling with sleep apnea. If you are just snoring throughout the night, Men’s Health writes that snoreplasty is an option. It is a short procedure where “a doctor will stiffen your soft palate.” This procedure only costs about $35 and results last for a year.
Easier said than done, right? But if you can control your stress through diet, exercise, and maybe even mental exercise such as meditation, it will do wonders for your sleep.
Staying cool at night is the easiest way to fall asleep faster and get quality sleep. There are many ways to cool down the room naturally and stay cool at night. Hopefully, following our 25 tips will help you stay cool at night and get quality sleep.