A Sleep Expert Shares Her Tips on How to Get the Best Night’s Sleep
This year is National Sleep Awareness Week, March 12-18, and if you’re struggling to feel rested due to stress, insomnia, or even Daylight Saving Time, you’re not alone. According to the CDC, one in three adults regularly struggles to get a good night’s sleep, and yes, losing an hour this past weekend can actually make things worse by disrupting your circadian rhythm. So what can you do to improve your sleep and get the best rest possible?
To answer that question, T&C spoke to Magdalena Rahman, Global Training Lead at Hästens, and asked her to share her top tips for a good nap.
What are your top tips for a restful sleep?
There are many tips we can consider when trying to improve our sleep. The most powerful of them are: stick to your schedule and go to bed and get up at about the same time every night; Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and cool; avoid large and heavy meals; stop drinking caffeine in the early afternoon; and don’t drink alcohol too close to bedtime. Also, get some exercise during the day—it’s amazing how physical activity improves our sleep.
What is the best position to sleep in?
During sleep, your body works to restore and repair itself. Your sleeping position can either help or hinder this process, depending on how effectively it supports the natural curvature of your spine. The best sleeping position is one that promotes healthy spinal alignment from the hips to the head. What that looks like for you depends on your personal health situation and what you find comfortable.
However, there are some positions that are considered healthier than others. In particular, sleeping on your side or back is considered more beneficial than sleeping on your stomach. In each of these sleeping positions, it is easier to support and balance your spine, which relieves pressure on spinal tissues and allows your muscles to relax and recover.
However, if sleeping on your stomach feels good, don’t feel compelled to change. With the right bed and pillow, you can minimize your risk of pain and improve spinal alignment.
Do you have any bedtime habits that you can recommend?
I think one of the best habits before bed is to really focus on self-care. Take time to relax away from phone/iPad screens and even TV if possible. Read a book! Take a warm bath and write a gratitude list — it’s been proven to have a positive effect on our brains. Brief meditation and/or breathing exercises are also amazing habits to incorporate as we prepare for bed.
How many hours of sleep should we get per night?
Sleep times can be very individual for each person and many of us are still debating the “9 hour sleep myth”. What we can say with certainty is that we need adequate sleep and it should be between 7 and 8 hours.
When is it time to invest in a new mattress?
You should consider buying a new bed if you experience frequent pain or pressure points in your neck, shoulders, lower back and/or hips, or if you wake up tired and exhausted.
What should people look for in a new mattress?
Many people when buying a bed only focus on strength and price. Because we spend almost a third of our lives sleeping, and we know that our bodies and minds repair and heal themselves while we sleep, buying a bed should be one of the most important purchases we make. Thinking about what your bed should be made of? Is it a healthy sleeping environment for you? Focus on materials in bed that allow your body to breathe without overheating, which disrupts sleep.
Your comfort is always first on the list. Think about how your current bed is treating you and what you’re missing. Your sleeping position, height, and weight play a big part in your decision-making, so look for a comfort level that makes you feel weightless in bed, eliminates pressure points, while keeping your spine aligned and muscles relaxed.
Ana Osorno is Town & Country’s social media editor.