It’s 2022 and after almost 2 years of a pandemic, it feels like sleep has only gotten worse for so many of us. However, getting enough (good) sleep is crucial not only for our mental, but also our physical health. Time to put the spotlight on this important topic! We have put together 22 relatively easy tips and tricks that can help you get more and better sleep.
1. Pay attention to the quality of your bedding
How good you’re sleeping is hugely dependent on the quality of your bedding, e.g. your mattress, pillow and bed sheets. Make sure to choose bedding that supports your needs and sleep preferences, as there can be big differences in the support needed depending on whether you sleep on your side, back or belly. Your spine needs to be properly supported in order to avoid aches and pains, not only while sleeping but also throughout the day.
Choosing good quality bed sheets is just as important: they should not only make your bed feel inviting, but also help you to keep the right temperature for sleep. For this, breathability should be your top priority, best choices for this are generally natural fabrics such as linen, cotton or tencel.
2. Wind down with room fragrances or sleep sprays
Our sense of smell, often the most overlooked and under-appreciated of the five senses, actually holds big power over us. It can trigger memories and emotions, boost productivity, influence mood and behaviour and also help you get a good night’s rest.
Light, calming scents from essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, rose or ylang-ylang can promote relaxation and thus help you ease into sleep. Certain studies even show that the inhalation of fragrances from essential oils may trigger the production of serotonin, which aids with the release of melotonin, the hormone best known to prepare your body for sleep.
3. Lower the lights before going to bed
Avoiding bright lights can help you transition to bedtime and contribute to the body’s production of melatonin. A study completed in 2010 has shown that 99% of all participants that were exposed to regular room lighting before bedtime had a later melatonin onset (compared to people exposed to dimmed lights) and a shortened melatonin duration by about 90min.
So if you have dimmable lights, choose a lower setting for the evening or switch off that additional lamp to help your body wind down.
4. Keep your bedroom cool
Modern homes are up to 5°C warmer than 50 years ago, due to central heating and better home insulation. This can be comfortable during the day but can lower your sleep quality during the night. Breathing in cold air helps to reduce the core temperature, which in turn helps you to fall asleep and stay asleep. For optimal sleep, the room temperature should be around 18°C.
5. Wear the right sleepwear
Since pajamas are the closest to your body when sleeping, they also have the most direct influence on your quality of sleep. As with bedding, breathability should be at the top of the list for sleepwear. If the material is not breathable enough, excess body heat cannot be dissipated and the body overheats. Research shows continuously how body temperature and quality of sleep are inseparably linked.
A nationwide poll in Germany found that 38% of women and 44% of men named being too hot or too cold as the most common disturbing factor for good sleep.
"Sleep is vital. By understanding the factors that affect our sleep and by changing a few habits we can have a big impact on our sleep quality and wellbeing. Sleepwear and bedding that help to manage temperature and sweat during the night can support the body's natural thermo-regulation."
— Professor Torbjörn Åkersted, Director of Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University
Discomer more insights from our sleep experts.
Dagsmejan sleepwear for your best sleep
By combining natural fibers with the latest textile technology, Dagsmejan has developed functional sleepwear to optimally support your physiological needs when sleeping. It is up to 8x more breathable than cotton, helps to draw moisture away from your skin quickly and feels like a second skin. Discover our pajamas now:
6. Calm & clean sleep environment
How you use (and look after) your bedroom can have a big influence on the quality of sleep. A study carried out by the National Sleep Foundation found that people who make their beds every morning are 19% more likely to get a good night’s sleep, while 75% said they sleep better when their sheets are freshly laundered. Another study, conducted by the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, has shown that having a lot of visual simuli present within will result in the brain getting more distracted. Having a clean bedroom with no unnecessary stimuli (TV, childrens toys, unfinished housework like laundry) can therefore be a big contributing factor to your quality of sleep.
Also invest in some good curtains to block out light and don’t forget less obvious sources of light such as electronic devices on stand-by. If noise is an issue, ear plugs or a white noise machine might help block it out.
7. No electronics in the bedroom
Its something most of us know, but hardly anyone managest o really stick to: leave your laptop, mobile phone and tablet at the bedroom door. The blue light of the screen will not only reduce the production of melatonin (see sleep tip Nr. 10 below), but recent studies have also shown that the electro-magnetic fields created by smart phones can reduce our sleep quality, in particular the slow waves of deep sleep.
8. Get enough movement
Exercising for at least 150 minutes a week can improve sleep quality by up to 65%. 150 minutes might seem like a lot, but try to get some low-intensity exercise on a daily basis, as little as 10 minutes of walking can make a big difference to the quality of our sleep. Science shows that after having been physically active, we fall asleep faster and sleep a little longer. These beneficial effects are most pronounced when the workout takes place 4–8 hours before sleep.
Find out more about sport & sleep.
9. Take a bath before going to bed
Warm water stimulates the release of the hormone oxytocin, which makes you feel calmer and more relaxed. It also helps with sleep as the body temperature first rises and then falls, which is a natural cue for the body to start winding down and feeling sleepy.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to take a full bath at night or don’t have a bath tub available, a foot bath can also help you relax and improve sleep.
10. Deconnect from technology
For optimal sleep, electronic gadgets (TV, laptop, smartphone) should be switched off at least 1hr before bed. A mere 2 hours of daily exposure to the blue light from electronic displays reduces the production of melatonin with about 22%. But not only can it negatively influence your sleep by disturbing your natural sleep/wake rhythm, the flurry of information you take in (TV shows, Social Media, messages etc.) will keep the mind in overdrive, keeping you from being able to wind down.
If deconnecting seems impossible for you, you can also ease the impact of blue light by wearing glasses that specifically block blue wavelengths or downloading an app that blocks blue light on your device.
11. Try progressive muscle relaxation
If your mind and body has a hard time winding down from the stresses of the day, you can try progressive muscle relaxation: work through your body from your toes to the tip of your head, tensing each muscle group as tightly as you can before fully relaxing them.
Another option to help you get back into your body is meditation: you can try to meditate by yourself or follow a guided meditation if you're completely new to it.
12. Know your (circadian) rhythm
Most adults need between 6 and 9 hours of sleep every night. In order to make the most of this time asleep (and get the best possible sleep), it is important to know your personal rhythm, also called chronotype. It defines when you will feel tired or most alert, «Early Birds» find it easy to wake up in the morning but get tired earlier at night, whereas «Night owls» find it hard to wake up and will have most of their energy towards the evening.
Our circadian rhythm is not set in stone but changes with age; the older we get, the earlier we feel ready to fall asleep and wake up. For best sleep, follow the natural rhythm of your body’s clock and go to bed when tired.
13. Get daylight exposure
One of the biggest cues for the circadian rhythm is light. Getting sufficient exposure to bright, natural daylight helps to keep the natural sleep-wake cycle on track, rendering you more tired in the evening and even increasing sleep quality.
Researchers in a recent study found that people who were exposed to greater amounts of light during the morning hours (8am-12pm), fell asleep more quickly at night and had fewer sleep disturbances during the night compared to those exposed to low light in the morning. People getting more morning light were also less likely to report feelings of depression and stress.
14. Create a ritual before going to bed
By creating a bedtime ritual that is repeated every night, you are signalling to your body that it is time to relax. This can include listening to relaxing music, reading a book, taking a bath or meditating.
15. Keep regular sleeping hours
As difficult as it sounds, try to stick to the same sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, also during weekends and on holidays. This way, you train your body and mind when to relax. It is one of the key elements in being able to fall asleep easily at night.
16. Don’t try too hard to fall asleep
You want to avoid a connection between your bed and the frustration of not being able to sleep. If you cannot fall asleep within 20 minutes of going to bed, get up and do a quiet activity, but keep the light exposure to a minimum. Its important to not get on electronics, as this will make falling asleep even harder. Try to get your mind off of sleep and return to bed when you’re feeling tired or ready to try again.
17. Budget in time for sleep
If you want to make sure that you’re getting enough sleep every night, you need to budget that time in. Think about what time you want to wake up and work backwords to a target bedtime. Also, don’t forget to schedule in some extra time to get ready for bed and falling asleep.
When identifying your ideal bed- /wake-up time, its best to think in sleep cycles; one sleep cycle is usually around 90 minutes, so the targeted sleeping time should be 6hrs, or 7.30 hrs, or 9 hrs etc. That way you avoid waking up in the middle of a deep sleep phase.
18. Adjust your sleep routine gradually
If you need to adjust your sleep schedule, its best to make small adjustments over time. You should have a maximum difference of 1-2 hours per night. This allows your body to get used to the changes so that following the new schedule is more sustainable.
19. Keep daytime naps short
While short power naps during the day can be beneficial, long napping can negatively impact your sleep. They can confuse your internal clock and leave you struggling to sleep at night. A study has even shown that participants taking irregular daytime naps ended up being sleepier during the day than people with no naps at all.
20. Don’t drink too much before going to bed
Good hydration is vital for your health. However, it is recommended to reduce your fluid intake in the late evening. Try not to drink anything 1-2 hours before going to bed and use the bathroom right before going to bed. This decreases your chances of waking up in the night with a full bladder.
21. Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeine
Some food and drinks can make it difficult to sleep, and caffeine and alcohol are part of that list. If you still want to enjoy a glass of wine or coffee, its best to do it a few hours before going to bed. Alcohol is known to cause or increase disrupted sleep and even alters nighttime melatonin production, which plays a key role in your body’s circadian rhythm.
A 2018 study shows how already small amounts of alcohol can influence your sleep by comparing the sleep quality of subjects with and without the intake of alcohol. The findings were as follows:
- Low amounts of alcohol (fewer than two servings per day for men or one serving per day for women) decreased sleep quality by 9.3%.
- Moderate amounts of alcohol (two servings per day for men or one serving per day for women) decreased sleep quality by 24%.
- High amounts of alcohol (more than two servings per day for men or one serving per day for women) decreased sleep quality by 39.2%.
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22. Keep a sleep diary
Keeping a sleep diary recording your daily activities, sleep- and wake-up times and quality of sleep can help you keep track of how well you’re sleeping and identify factors that might help or hurt your quality of sleep.
Download the Dagsmejan sleep diary here.
Sleep better with pajamas by Dagsmejan
With four different collections, all developed with the different physiological needs in mind, discover the perfect fit for your best sleep:
Stay warm collection
If you tend to get cool at night, this pajamas set is for you: the fabric is made from a blend of merino wool (100% mulesing-free) and eucalyptus, providing featherlight warmth without you ever overheating. Also ideal as thermal pajamas for the colder nights of the year.
The ultimate pajamas to keep you at the right sleeping temperature, all night long. More than 40% of people struggle with either being too hot or too cold at night, with night sweats also being an issue for many of them. Our patented fabric not only supports your body's own thermoregulation, but has also been called the most comfortable pajamas in the world.
Stay cool collection
Whether you're generally a hot sleeper or hot summer nights keep you up, our smooth, cooling pajamas can help you get some sleep. By using the evaporative cooling effect, the innovative fabric based on Eucalyptus fibers will make you feel noticeably cooler.
You want to get the most out of your nights? The revolutionary fabric combines cooling Eucalyptus fibers with heat activated minerals, recycling excess body head and redirecting it as far infrared energy towards your muscles, enhancing muscle regeneration.