Sight, smell, sound, touch, taste — the senses are instrumental in improving your sleep quality.
It’s recommended that everyone get seven to nine hours of sleep every night, but it’s hard to achieve those hours with busy schedules that juggle work, family life, and “me time.”
Creating a nightly ritual can help you balance, unwind, and embrace healthy practices to get the best sleep ever.
Here are some tips for using your five senses to help get a better night’s sleep:
1 | SIGHT
The quality, color, and intensity of light can alter your mood, ease strain on your eyes, and help you rest at the end of the day.
Throughout the day, we are bombarded by harsh white- and blue-hued lights from everything from computer screens to our phones. This can cause stress and strain that sometimes makes it harder to sleep when our head hits the pillow.
The diffused glow of traditional incandescent lightbulbs is less harsh than halogens or fluorescent lighting commonly found in your home or office, but they’re not as energy efficient.
A better lighting solution is to find a warm, golden (almost orange) light. This lighting tends to soothe you. Its glow is said to increase your melatonin, a sleep-regulating hormone that helps you relax and sleep. Many desk lamps, reading lights, and nightstand lamps now have Relax and Sleep settings that feature these golden-hued light ranges, allowing you to customize your environments for comfort.
There is evidence that suggests that red light before bed can have the best effect on sleep. The National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep.org suggests trying a red Christmas tree bulb in your nightlight to light any space at night while lessening the impact light has on your sleep quality.
At the end of the day, a completely dark room is the best way to get a great night’s rest, so trying eliminating all light sources from your sleep space.
WALL COLOR & DECOR
• Blue tends to have a soothing and calming effect.
- Pink and yellow are happy hues that make great bedroom-wall colors. Pleasant hues make you feel upbeat and content, and this will help you embrace sleep. Warm, cheerful orange tones have been said to relax muscles.
- Silver is said to resemble moonlight and is a cue for the body to prepare for night and sleep, but one shouldn’t go too dark with the shade of gray.
Colors to avoid: Unlike red lightbulbs, walls painted red tend to stimulate the brain and interfere with sleep. Purple encourages creativity and will not quiet your mind to promote restful slumber. Dark shades of earth tones and gray can be too somber and gloomy.
2 | SMELL
Essential oils and scent diffusers can help you get a more restful night’s sleep.
We like lavender, vanilla, and jasmine. They’re said to have soothing, calming effects, which helps promote relaxation. A couple of drops of essential oil in a mineral bath before bed can do wonders.
Warm apple pie, sandalwood, freshly cut peonies… Any smell that you enjoy will comfort you and may do the trick.
What are some of your favorite scents? Do you connect certain smells to pleasant memories?
3 | SOUND
Do you sometimes find it too quiet to sleep? Do common noises outside your window keep you up? If so, you’re not alone. Total silence or everyday background sounds can be just as much of a distraction as loud noises.
If earplugs and total silence are not an effective solution for you, consider masking distracting noises with more desirable sounds. Waves gently breaking on the shore, chirping crickets, the call of loons on a tranquil lake, the pitter-patter of raindrops, wind blowing through the trees… As with smell, favorite sounds will encourage relaxation and lull you to sleep.
It’s easy to find a sound app on your phone — or, if you find the phone too distracting, invest in a small sound machine that sits on a bedside table. Even adding a simple white noise sound into your bedtime regimen can enhance sleep quality and make it easier to fall asleep.
What sounds put you at ease? Are there some that help you relax or do you like total silence?
4 | TOUCH
Do you sleep warm or cold? What fabrics make you comfortable? Given that one third of your life will be spent sleeping, why not surround yourself with superior fibers? Silk, organic cotton, linen made from French flax — these all-natural fabrics feel wonderfully soft against skin.
IF YOU GET HOT AT NIGHT…
We recommend percale or relaxed linen sheets. Cool, breathable — they’re ideal any time of year. A quilt, a cotton blanket, a throw at the foot of the bed… Keep your bedding light, within grasp, and ready to layer as needed.
IF YOU GET COLD AT NIGHT…
We recommend flannel bedding. Its soft brushed cotton is ideal to keep you cozy. Stay toasty by layering on a cotton fleece blanket, a down comforter, and/or a cashmere throw.
If flannel gets a bit too toasty in warm-weather months, try sateen sheets. Though both are cotton like traditional percale, sateen bedding has a tighter weave and a higher thread count. This makes it just a touch warmer.
TO INSTANTLY ENHANCE YOUR BED’S COMFORT…
For the right support and luxurious plushness, consider lofty bedding basics. The right pillow, comforter, a mattress topper or fiberbed will instantly transform your bed and mattress, elevating them to cloud-like-comfort status.
5 | TASTE
Diet can also be a component to promoting restful, healthy sleep. Some experts advise you not to eat right before bed, but your goal should be to drift off to sleep satisfied — not hungry, but also not too full. Here are foods and drinks that help promote sleep:
- Nuts — Almonds and walnuts contain melatonin, that sleep-regulating hormone known to help some people sleep soundly.
- Warm milk — Milk contains tryptophan, an amino acid that can help induce sleep. The warmth gives it an added soothing effect. For a little sweetness, try a drizzle of honey and sprinkle of cinnamon.
- Hot cup of tea — Try chamomile, peppermint, ginger — any tea without caffeine. A warm, soothing cup of tea helps you relax and is a nice addition to your nightly ritual, and the herbal blends are aromatic as well as delicious.
- Turkey — This lean protein also contains tryptophan, which increases the production of melatonin and is said to help you fall asleep.
- Cottage cheese — Another excellent source of protein, cottage cheese is said to promote muscle growth and repair as you sleep.
- Fresh fruit — Tart cherries, bananas, raspberries, kiwis… These are just some of the top nutrient-rich fruits that have properties that encourage sleep.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends various bedtime snacks at Sleep.org, including turkey roll-ups, fruit smoothies, nut-buttered toast, oatmeal with blueberries, and more.
What are your tricks for getting a good night’s sleep? For more ways to get comfy, explore our latest collection of bedding and bedding essentials.