Dreamland is the one place you can go without having to worry about packing a bag. Or is it?
Sleep is about as simple as it gets: Hop in bed, close your eyes, and nod off. In theory, you’re not really supposed to need any extra stuff in order to snooze soundly. But in practice, there are some things in your bedroom that make the difference between ok rest and truly better sleep.
Don’t worry, we’re not talking about going out and buying a bunch of weird, useless gadgets. We’re talking about a few smart, thoughtful basics that can actually have a positive impact on how you snooze.
Here’s what they are—and why they’re so important for achieving quality sleep.
1. A comfortable mattress
It might be a no-brainer, but it’s also key for quality snooze time: A whopping 93% of Americans say that a comfortable mattress is important in getting a good night’s sleep, found a National Sleep Foundation poll.
93% of Americans say that a comfortable mattress is important in getting a good night’s sleep.
The general rule of thumb goes that you should replace your mattress every 8 to 10 years. But if you find yourself constantly shifting around at night or waking up in pain, forget that timeline. Both are signs that your mattress could be worn out or just isn’t right for you. Start shopping around for a new one, stat.
2. A perfect temperature
You might already know that in order to sleep well, your bedroom temperature needs to be cool.
But the humidity levels have to be right, too. Too much humidity makes it tougher for you to stay cool, while too little can lead to leave your skin, nasal passages, and throat feeling dry and uncomfortable. None of which are ideal for sound snoozing.
Most experts agree that the ideal indoor humidity level is around 50%. So if the air in your bedroom feels swampy or desert-like, it’s worth investing in a de-humidifier or a humidifier to strike a more comfortable balance.
3. Breathable blankets and sheets
Of course, the whole point of having blankets and bed sheets is to keep you warm while you sleep. But if you get too warm, chances are, you’ll wake halfway through the night in a pile of sweat.
In order to stay cozy without overheating, opt for blankets and sheets made from natural materials like cotton, linen, or even wool. Compared to synthetics like polyester, they’re more breathable—so they’re less likely to trap to excessive body heat.
Oh, and here’s a pro tip: Keep at least two sheet sets on hand. Since it’s a good idea to wash your sheets once a week (it keeps gross bacteria and dust mites at bay), you’ll always have a fresh set ready to go when the other is in the wash.
4. Environmental blockers
Whether it comes from the people you live with or stuff going on outside, noise and light can make it tougher to doze off.
Instead of spending half the night tossing and turning in frustration, be proactive about blocking sleep-disrupting distractions. Have an eye mask handy if light starts creeping in from the building next door. And wear earplugs or invest in a white noise machine to mask snoring or noise from your roommates.
Wanna go high-tech? Consider trying SleepPhones, a soft, wireless headband that streams white noise from your smartphone.
5. A carbon-based book
It’s no secret that after a crazy day, taking some dedicated time to unwind makes it easier to fall asleep. And according to one British study, a few minutes of reading was shown to slash stress rates by nearly 70%. (Which, FYI, was more than listening to music or sipping a cup of tea.)
Just make it a point to pick a physical book instead of reading one on your phone or tablet. The blue light from electronic devices can leave you feeling more alert by squashing your body’s production of the sleep hormone melatonin.
And according to one British study, a few minutes of reading was shown to slash stress rates by nearly 70%.
6. A glass of water
When you think about it, eight hours is a long time to go without drinking anything. And findings show that even mild dehydration can leave you crankier, less energized, and less able to focus during your waking hours.
But when you wake thirsty in the middle of the night, you’re probably less likely to drink up if you have to trek all the way to the kitchen or the bathroom for a glass of water. And even if you do get up, having to get of bed might make it harder to fall asleep when you climb back in.
The solution, of course, is insanely simple. Keep a big glass of water on your nightstand, where it’s always within reach. If you’re afraid of knocking it over, use a stainless steel water bottle or even a mason jar with a lid instead.