Are you getting enough sleep? Seeing as “more than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis,” I’m willing to bet that your answer is either “occasionally…” or “no, not at all.”
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and the Sleep Research Society, adults between 18-60 who sleep at least seven hours every night experience “optimal health and well-being.” What’s more, those who sleep less than seven hours per day have “an increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and frequent mental distress.”
So what can we do? How can we ensure that we get enough sleep each night? First of all, I recommend creating a regular nightly routine, which helps you unwind, relax, and clear your mind before bed. If you don’t have an established bedtime routine yet, or you’re looking for strategies to up your game, check out my post on creating the perfect nightly routine. In it, I walk you through strategies and offer several suggestions on how to make the most of your night. There’s even a free workbook to help you get there.
Once you’ve established your routine, it’s now time to assess your sleep environment. Is your room nice and dark? Do you use a white noise machine to block out excess noise? Is it a comfortably cool 62-67 degrees? In addition to a consistent bedtime routine, a healthy sleep environment is the key to a good night of sleep. (For more strategies to create this ideal atmosphere for sleep, check out my post here!)
The final piece of advice to getting a good night of sleep is admittedly straightforward, but it is also quite important. And that is having a bed that suits your needs.
This reality hit me a few years ago when I had an incredibly difficult time not only falling asleep but also staying asleep. I tried every sleep hack I could find: reading before bed, taking a hot shower, journaling, meditation, you name it. It didn’t matter what I did, I simply could not sleep.
Then one day it dawned on me that my bed was the culprit. Although I had an incredibly comfortable memory foam mattress, it was also unbearably hot. Because I’m a super hot sleeper, this combination was not a good mix for me.
What’s more, the bed simply wasn’t big enough. In addition to being a hot sleeper, I also sleep very lightly. This meant that every time my husband came to bed late, I would wake up – and remain awake – for the rest of the night. Since Ryan is a musician and has gigs every weekend, this happened about 2-3 times a week.
Obviously, this was not an ideal situation, and I needed a solution stat.
The first thing I researched was mattress options. I started by looking through a website called Best Mattress Reviews (www.bestmattress-reviews.org), which helped me compare the pros and cons of different mattress brands and models. (They also provide savings guides on big sale days, which is an added bonus.) Once I decided on a few different possibilities, I headed over to Jordan’s Furniture to try them out.
Side note – isn’t trying out mattresses awkward? There’s something about laying down on a bunch of beds in a giant showroom that just seems strange to me. But I digress…
After selecting the perfect mattress, I then turned to pillows and bedding. Because it’s me, I dove into research once again. I checked out the guides at www.bettersleep.org to ensure I found the perfect pillow, and scoured Amazon for the ideal blankets and sheets.
Spoiler alert, there are THOUSANDS of options from which to choose. From pillows made for side sleepers, back sleepers, or allergy sufferers, to sheets made of flannel, Egyptian cotton, or microfiber, there is truly something for everyone.
To help save you some research time on your own search for the perfect bedding, I’ve categorized my findings according to sleep needs below. So whether you’re always cold a night, you suffer from allergies, or you’re a hot sleeper like me, don’t worry. I have you covered.
The Ultimate Pillow
Side sleepers, back sleepers, and stomach sleepers rejoice! There’s finally the perfect pillow for all of us.
While doing my research, I found the two most important things to consider when choosing your pillow is its height and support. The goal is to find a pillow that provides right thickness to keep your spine straight and your neck in alignment. Because let’s face, it no one likes waking up with a cramp in their neck!
The pillow that I absolutely recommend (and no, this isn’t a sponsored ad) is the Snuggle-Pedic Ultra-Luxury Memory Foam pillow. Not only can you adjust the height of the pillow for perfect neck alignment, but it is also cooling and hypoallergenic. And if you’re looking for more fans of this pillow, you can check out the 7,014 5-star Amazon reviews.
You know how it feels so good to flip over your pillow and lay your head on the cool side? Yeah, this pillow always feels like that. It’s incredible.
(Is anyone else singing the Uncle Cracker song “Smile” right now? “Cooler than the flip side of my pillow, that’s right….”)
Side Sleeper Extra
If you’re a side sleeper like me, you might also prefer to sleep with a knee pillow.
I discovered this pillow after waking up for weeks with with hip and knee pain. Apparently, this is a pretty common complaint of side sleepers, which is easily remedied by this simple hack. In fact, after two nights of using the pillow myself, my pain completely disappeared. It’s amazing what a little change can make, isn’t it?
Of course, your bedding plays an equal partner in providing a great night of sleep. Depending on the season, how warm you keep your room at night, whether you suffer from allergies, and if you’re a hot or cold sleeper, your choice of bedding greatly impacts your quality of sleep.
As a hot sleeper, finding cooling, breathable sheets was very important for me. After going through several different brands, I finally found my favorite. They’re made by the company CKG Unlimited, and they’re called “Hotel Luxury Bed Sheets.” Let me tell you, they live up to their name. These sheets are incredibly soft, and they have deep pockets so the bottom sheet doesn’t slip up in the middle of the night. They’re wrinkle free, they come several different colors, and – best of all – they keep you cool! So if you get overheated at night, I’d highly recommend giving these sheets a try.
My other solution for keeping cool at night is switching to layered cotton blankets rather than using one giant comforter. This way I can easily add or subtract the bedding based on my comfort level.
My absolutely favorite blankets for layering are these simple, 100% cotton waffle blankets. They’re incredibly soft, breathable, and easy to throw in the laundry to wash up.
Obviously, from my comments above, I don’t deal with being a cold sleeper. So I asked my friend about her favorite winter sheets. She’s on the opposite side of the spectrum from me, and goes to bed with sweatpants, a hoodie, and socks every night (I’m overheated just thinking about that!).
When I asked her what bedding she prefers, she automatically recommended flannel sheets. And her favorite brand is by a company called Pinzon. She loves their heavy weight flannel sheets, and she won’t use anything else in the winter. So if you get chilly at night, you might consider trying some flannel sheets for a better night’s sleep.
Allergies are never fun. And when you’re dealing with allergies while trying to sleep, it’s downright miserable. Fortunately, there are so many options out there for those who suffer from allergens.
In addition to the pillow I mentioned above, it’s a good idea to use microfiber sheets. The reason microfiber is so great, is because they have incredibly small pore sizes, which leaves very little room for allergens to sneak in and make you stuffy.
As an allergy sufferer, you might consider using a down alternative comforter as well. The one that I use is an all-season lightweight comforter, and I simply layer up blankets underneath depending on the season.
Like the sheets, the comforter is microfiber, and it’s filled with a hypoallergenic down alternative to keep you warm and allergy free.
And that’s it, friends! Those are the secrets to get a restful rejuvenating night of sleep.
What are your strategies for a great night of sleep? Are you a hot or cold sleeper? What is your favorite kind of bedding? Let me know below!