We've gathered our top bedtime tips into one place: getting asleep, staying asleep, reducing snoring, and combating fatigue will be issues no more!
End the Insomnia
Hit the Juice Aisle
Tart cherry juice is packed with melatonin! Try drinking 8 ounces an hour before bed to set yourself up for a good night’s sleep.
Nod Off with Nuts
If you have a hard time winding down at the end of the day, try eating more nuts! Rich in sleep-promoting nutrients such as magnesium and selenium, nuts are a healthy, drug-free way to help you get that much-needed shut-eye. In research, peanuts and pistachios have been the biggest standouts for bringing on deeper sleep.
Snooze with Seafood
Serve up more dinners from the sea! Cod, tuna, snapper, halibut, and shrimp contain levels of sleep-promoting tryptophan comparable to those found in turkey.
Blue Lights Out
Melatonin is a hormone the body produces to help you sleep. Research has shown that staring at a screen that gives off blue light (such as a TV, computer, or smartphone) will decrease the amount of melatonin your body is producing. If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, be sure to set aside the TV, laptop, and video game after dinnertime. Or spend as little as $8 for a pair of blue light–blocking glasses.
Make Pink Your Favorite Color
You’ve probably heard of white noise—like the constant hum of a fan to cover up harsher background sounds that could stir you in your sleep. So what’s pink noise? It has more variation, coming out louder and more powerful at the lower frequencies. Think of rain falling on pavement or waves crashing on the beach. And it’s been shown to lead your brain waves into deep sleep. Try a color test to see whether white or pink works better for you—free apps such as Simply Noise offer both.
Skip the Nightcap
Alcohol can make you feel really sleepy...at first. But you’ll pay for it at 3 a.m. when the alcohol is metabolized and that effect wears off and wakes you up. It’s smart to limit alcohol within 3 hours of bedtime.
The Scents of Sleep
Mix a few drops of lavender, chamomile, and ylang-ylang essential oils and water in a spray bottle and give your pillowcase a spritz. These scents activate the alpha wave activity in the back of your brain, which leads to relaxation. You’ll be ahh-sleep before you know it!
Invite Fido In
But not on your bed! Surprisingly, a recent study out of the Mayo Clinic found that people sleep better when their dogs are in the bedroom. So take advantage of the comfort and security but not your dog’s rustling. Help him settle in a sweet spot on the floor or set up a dog bed nearby.
Use a Pillow Prop
Back pain keeping you up? Sleep on your back with a pillow under your knees. Or if you can only sleep on your side, slip a pillow between your knees. It helps support your lower spine and a good’s night slumber.
Keep Your Socks On
You may think you want to go sockless to keep cool. But keeping your socks on will actually accomplish that for your whole body! Warming your feet widens the blood vessels there and helps regulate temperature more evenly across your body. The result: overall cooling, which is a ticket to better sleep.
Make Your Bed
I now have a science-backed reason to nag the boys to make their beds: It helps you sleep better! The simple way it works, according to the study’s researchers: It creates positive vibes around bedtime.
No More Snoring
Give a Snoring Partner the Brick
Slip a couple of bricks under the legs at the head of your bed. This little adjustment will elevate your snoring culprit’s upper torso to prop open airways and stop the snoring. An extra pillow can give you some elevation as well, although it’s not as effective as the brick trick.
Sing in the Shower
Go ahead, belt out those tunes! Amazing but true: In a research study, regular snorers who sang for 20 minutes a day snored significantly less once they started singing. It may work by firming up flabby muscle in the upper airways. However it works, it’s worth a try to snag better sleep!
Accessorize with a Tennis Ball
Take a basic T-shirt and sew a pocket on its back. Place a tennis ball inside the pocket. Or you can try duct tape to attach the ball to the shirt. Wear the shirt to bed and the hard ball will keep you off your back—the prime sleep position for snoring. Over time, you probably won’t need the shirt anymore—you’ll train yourself to sleep in a better position.
Help from a Humidifier
Many bedrooms are warm and dry, which can cause airways to dry out and bring on a rattle. Keeping your nasal passages moisturized may be a super-simple way to stop the snoring. Set up a humidifier in your bedroom. You can run it as you sleep to give yourself and any bed partner relief. Live, leafy plants also help raise humidity levels.
DIY Snore Relief Gel
You can add sleep-smart scents to a DIY gel air freshener. Boil 1 cup water, then mix in 1 packet unflavored gelatin, 1 tablespoon salt, 10 drops eucalyptus essential oil (to relieve nasal congestion), 10 drops lavender essential oil (to induce relaxation and sleep), and several drops food coloring (to look nice on your nightstand). Once the gelatin dissolves, pour it into a glass cup or jar to set. Cover with a lid once set and not in use. Uncover each night to release the scent (for a month or more!) and lull you into sleep. Keep away from kids and pets.
Solutions for Restless Sleepers
Try a Tonic
Get a creepy-crawly feeling in your legs at night that keeps you or your bed partner awake? Drink a 6-ounce glass of tonic water before bed until symptoms go away. Tonic water contains quinine, which stops repeated muscle contractions.
Experts can’t say why it works, but taking two aspirins before bedtime can reduce symptoms of restless legs syndrome (RLS) in some people.
What You Knead
There’s good evidence that massage eases the tingling, restlessness, and sleep interruption that come with RLS. Don’t want to go to a pro? That’s fine—just try a gentle rub yourself. Or treat your legs to a foam roller, a fitness tool that places gentle pressure wherever you need it just by rolling over it.
The Stocking Solution
Wearing compression stockings (you can find at any drugstore) for just an hour before bed can soothe those restless legs. In one study, a third of the people who tried it got complete (drug-free!) relief from their RLS symptoms, and the rest reported big-time improvement.
Keep Restless Sleepers in Place
Whether you have a child who falls out of bed or a spouse who likes to kick, you can limit their nighttime moves with a clever trick. Place a pool noodle under your fitted sheet just where you need it. It will stay tightly tucked as a barrier to limit the places they go.
Feeling Fatigued? 4 Easy Ways to Rev Your Energy
Chewing gum increases heart rate, which increases blood flow to the brain. Peppermint and cinnamon rise to the top when you’re looking for flavors to boost energy. In research, just their scents can energize! But you get a double benefit when you sniff and chew.
Press Your Body’s Energy Buttons
Putting pressure on certain points on your body has been proven to increase energy. A few spots to apply very firm pressure with your thumb or index and middle fingers:
- The base of the skull, one finger-width to the side of the spine
- The rim of the ear
- The pad between the joint of the thumb and index finger
- The outside of the leg bone, 3 inches down from the kneecap
Hold each press for 3 minutes, massaging in both directions.
Get Herbal Help
Check health food stores for rhodiola. One study found that people who took rhodiola reported less mental fatigue and more physical energy and coordination. A typical dose is 100 mg twice a day, but check with your doctor first.
Step into the Light
Exposure to sunlight is a wakeup call to your brain. Feeling sluggish? Try to sneak outside for even a few minutes to capture a little natural light.