Written by Celine Wallace
Photographed by Silas Fallstich
Sponsored by Lull
If you rely on coffee and adrenaline rather than prioritizing sleep in your daily routine, think again. It's proven that a good night's rest is just as important for your overall health as regular exercise and a healthy diet. Research shows that poor sleep has immediate adverse effects on your hormones, exercise performance, and brain function. In contrast, the pros of sound sleep can help you eat less, exercise better, and be healthier. Who doesn't want to feel healthier, happier, and slimmer? We partnered with Lull, our favorite Santa Barbara-based mattress company, to set you up with all the tools for a successful night's sleep.
Here are seven tested tips to sleep better:
1. Get to know your built-in alarm clock.
Our body’s natural clock, known as our circadian rhythm, affects our brain and hormones by helping us stay awake and telling our bodies when it's time to sleep. We're subject to so much artificial light that our circadian rhythm is out of sync. Being in more natural sunlight or bright light during the day helps keep our circadian rhythm healthy because it increases daytime energy, as well as nighttime sleep quality and duration.
2. Stick to a sleep schedule.
Sleep schedules function well within a daily routine because it offers our internal clock some predictability, which is soothing to our highly responsive nervous systems. Setting ourselves up with fixed bedtimes and wake-up times trains our body to know when it's safe to shut off and relax mentally. And who doesn't want to know when they can relax?
3. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
This, for me, was the biggest game-changer. For years I slept on an IKEA mattress and thought nothing of it, but when I climbed into bed at night, I could never get comfortable. I would toss and turn, struggling to fall asleep. It wasn't until I invested in a high-quality mattress from Santa Barbara based mattress company, Lull, that I noticed a positive change in my sleep patterns. The mattress is firm enough to support my back, yet soft enough that I melt into it. As soon as I lie down at night my body starts to soften and ease into sleep mode.
4. Use essential oils.
Certain scents can elicit a range of emotional and physical responses. Essential oils help promote relaxation, decrease stress, and even alleviate snoring. Adding essential oils like lavender, bergamot, or chamomile into our nighttime routine may allow us to have better quality sleep. Plus, it's super easy. You can incorporate them by using a diffuser, so the smell fills the room, or by putting a few drops on your pillow or pulse points.
5. Exercise daily.
If we sit at a desk, in front of the TV, or minimize the amount of exercise we do, our body has excess energy to use because we're not moving as nature intended. Just 30 minutes a day can get blood flowing, release stagnant energy, improve muscle strength, increase energy levels, and help us fall asleep a lot easier by entering REM sleep mode (deep sleep where our brain rejuvenates) more efficiently.
6. No blue ray light exposure before bed.
The shorter wavelengths in blue light (the light from your phone, iPad, or laptop) suppress melatonin production. To help your body produce adequate melatonin (the hormone that helps your body know when it's time to sleep and wake up), keep all electronics out of your bedroom and ban screens an hour before bed. I leave my phone in another room on airplane mode and leave my laptop at work, so I'm not tempted to check it.
7. Evaluate your room.
The more serene your environment, the better your sleep. Make your room an atmosphere of maximum comfort and relaxation. Clear out clutter, ban work, and keep it cool and quiet. Then add a relaxing scent and invest in some cozy sheets, a quality mattress, and luxurious pillows that make you excited to dive into bed at the end of a long day.
I found Lull through a friend's recommendation, after explaining to her how I couldn't shut off at night and she asked what my bed was like. I was perplexed at first and thought, “What do you mean? My bed is just my bed.” Then she asked if I had a comfortable, quality mattress and pillows, told me that I should buy a new mattress every five years, and recommended Lull. It had been seven years since I moved into my house, and I still had the same bed, so I took her advice and ordered a new mattress, frame, and protector, got them delivered, and assembled it in 15 minutes. A year later, I couldn't be happier. Even when I wake up in the morning, I roll around in my luxurious bed, already excited to get back in that night. Now, if that's not the feeling a good mattress creates, then I don't know what it is!