Updated: Aug 13, 2018
Having trouble sleeping? You're not alone. In this rat race world, sleep issues are the new norm. In Canada alone, about one-third of us are not getting adequate sleep—and it's affecting our health. Poor sleep has been attributed to several serious health consequences like "obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, injuries, all-cause mortality, depression, irritability, and reduced well-being."
And yet, we don't really seem committed to improving our sleep, but then again, maybe we're just too tired to care.
So here are five simple things you can do to improve your sleep without putting in a lot of effort or money—two things we're all a little strapped for these days, anyway.
1. A sleep mask
Simply put, any exposure to light can mess up your sleep cycle. Think cell phones, alarm clocks, street lights, smoke detectors, chargers, etc. A sleep mask works wonders at blocking out all kinds of light—meaning you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
I bought my sleep mask from Saje. It's filled with lavender and chamomile. Did I feel a little silly? Absolutely. But has it helped me get a better night's sleep? Definitely.
2. A proper pillow
I had no idea that the position you sleep in and how much you weigh actually dictates what kind of pillow you should use. Okay, fine, aside from “fluffy” and “floppy,” I didn’t know there were different types of pillows.
I bought a pillow suited to my sleeping style and body composition and have never looked back.
3. Fuzzy, fluffy socks
Anyone who has freezing cold feet (like me) needs fuzzy, fluffy socks to sleep in. Seriously. Cold feet work against your body's ability to relax and get cozy in bed. Slipping some on, even in the middle of summer, can be just what you need to finally rest.
4. Lavender anything (tea, body cream, linen spray)
Lavender has been scientifically shown to help induce and promote restful sleep. Full truth: Some nights I’ll have some tea, use some Sleepy body cream from Lush, and spray the whole room down with lavender essential oil before even attempting to sleep. The ritual is form of self-care that signals to my senses that it’s time to rest.
5. Staying off social media
Most of us have a habit of checking our phones right before bed. Some of us even take a final scroll through while in bed. It seems harmless, but it’s not. First, there’s that light issue again: Your phone's screen is preventing you from beginning to rest. Second, there’s the social media factor: You’re being bombarded with a whole host of other people’s stuff to compare to, feel envious over, and even worry about RIGHT BEFORE BED.
Do your health a favour and declare the last 30 minutes of the day a social media-free zone.