How To Get The Best Sleep Of Your Life
daylight savings what?
Photo by Meredith Jenks
Regardless of how good your sleep hygiene is, daylight saving time is going to mess with your snooze schedule. It’s always so bittersweet: Sure, extra daylight is amazing, but you know what else is? Feeling well rested. So, to make sure that rogue hour doesn’t totally screw with our quality of life, we polled some sleep experts for tips—and not your average suggestions (no one needs to tell us that we’re not supposed to check Instagram in bed at midnight, thanks though). Instead, we asked for things we haven’t heard a million times. Ahead, the sleep-better secrets they revealed.
1. Drink a Lot of Water
Casper co-founder and CEO Philip Krim says that while alcohol—and the subsequent hangover—can make you feel more tired when you wake up, you don’t necessarily have to swear off drinking forever. He explains, “Before you make a mental promise to never drink again, just start chugging water. Drink water before you drink. Drink water after you drink. Drink water while you drink. The limit does not exist.” And, he adds, if you can’t remember to drink water, try to just order a glass with each cocktail.
2. Embrace Mornings Gradually
We know, we know: Mornings are kind of the worst. But waking up earlier does help go to sleep earlier, which is useful if you have, like, a day job. Rather than just trying to force yourself into becoming a morning person, Krim suggests easing into it it incrementally: “Set your alarm clock two minutes earlier every day. In a month's time, you'll be calling yourself an early bird,” he promises.
3. Nap Smarter
When you’re totally sleep deprived, it can be tempting to just nap whenever you can. But Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, the chief medical officer at Well & Being spa in Arizona, says that when you nap—and for how long—is key to actually feeling more awake. “A short nap is recommended to be about 20 to 30 minutes long. This provides significant benefits for improved performance and alertness, while avoiding a groggy period after the rest.” Dr. Low Dog emphasizes that the best time to nap is between 1pm and 3pm so as not to negatively affect you nighttime sleep.
5. Stop Sleeping In
We’re sorry to have to tell you this, but catching up on sleep on the weekends isn’t helping matters. Yeah, we love a good noon wakeup on Saturday too but Kuba Wieczorek, co-CEO of eve Mattress, a startup dedicated to mattresses that promote healthier sleep, says we have to cut it out. “Establishing a routine helps your internal clock get into a rhythm. Try and keep the same schedule on the weekends, as tempting as sleeping in is, keeping to schedule will benefit you long-term.”
6. Eat Earlier
Night eating—especially in private—is one of the true joys of adulthood, but might not be the best thing if you want to sleep better. Wieczorek says, “You want to give your body plenty of time to digest before you try and go to sleep.” Which means earlier, light dinners—and less midnight potato chip parties.
7. Cover Your Clock
When you can’t sleep, it can be tempting to keep track of the time, but watching those minutes tick by isn’t actually doing you any favors. “Anxiety over the little amount of sleep you are going to get will only keep you awake longer. Glancing at your clock, watching the potential amount of time you have to sleep decrease, will increase anxiety levels,” Wieczorek says. So, make sure you actually can’t see any clocks from your bed (but you know, still set an alarm and stuff).
8. Relax Strategically
If you can’t stop thinking about all the things you have to do in the morning, try this exercise that Wieczorek recommends: “Curl your toes tightly for a count of seven, and then relax. Repeat through each muscle group, working up from your toes to your neck, and before you’ll know it you are soundly asleep.”
9. Date Your Mattress Before You Commit to It
It can be tempting to flop down on a mattress in a store and fall in love with it, but Wieczorek warns that you need to actually sleep on it for at least a few days before deciding if it’s right for you. It’s an extra step, but will benefit you in the long-term: “Always look for a mattress that allows you to try at home before committing.”
10. Do It
There’s a scientific reason that some people fall asleep after sex, and if you need those zzz’s, might as well try to have an orgasm. Mache Seibel, M.D. says, “During sexual activity, the oxytocin released with hugging, stimulation, and orgasm can increase feelings of calm and safety, and cortisol levels drop; both are prerequisites for optimizing sleep. During orgasm, there is also an increased release of prolactin, which gives a heavy somnolence, helping you fall asleep faster and more efficiently.”