A big thank you to Emma Mattress and Honeydew Sleep for providing products to be reviewed for this story.

It’s hard to believe it’s already March. The year is really flying by because it feels like just yesterday I was making my New Year’s resolutions. Not that I’m big on New Year’s resolutions but as I get older, I’m starting to prioritize different things in my life, mostly my health and wellbeing. With this in mind, I did make one resolution this year and it was to clean up my sleep routine. RELATED: How to Sleep Better in a Hotel

How to get a good night's sleep.As a mom of two little ones, good, solid, eight-hours-a-night sleep has been elusive for some time now. I’ve grown accustomed to broken, interrupted sleep. But as they get older and are no longer waking for feedings and diaper changes, I know it’s time to start taking better care of myself so that I’m better equipped to take care of them. And for me, a big step in that direction is improved sleep.

And to be honest, my sleep problems aren’t entirely kid-related. I’ve got some bad phone habits and my uncomfortable bed and pillow just weren’t helping. But day to day, life is busy and I’d never really stopped to think about addressing them. Until this year. I decided to upgrade my sleep and in honor of World Sleep Day, I’m sharing the changes I’ve made that have really helped me.

FYI: According to the U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, getting enough sleep has many benefits. “It can help you get sick less often, stay at a healthy weight, lower your risk for serious health problems, like diabetes and heart disease, reduce stress and improve your mood, think more clearly and do better in school and at work.

Ready to upgrade your sleep habits? Here are some helpful tips:

1. Stop scrolling

At the end of the day, once homework and dinner, bath time and story time are all done, it’s my time to relax and oftentimes, that means lying in bed and catching up on texts and emails, reading the news and scrolling through social media. That’s the first bad sleep habit I had to break. Now, I try to spend no more than 15 minutes getting caught up and then I put my phone away. TIP: Keep your phone out of the bedroom altogether to prevent disturbances and temptation to take a peek in the middle of the night.

But, if you want to do even better than this, experts recommend stopping your phone use one to two hours ahead of bedtime. According to Health.com, “Research has linked phone and screen use to disruptions in circadian rhythm, or natural sleep-wake cycle. A review published in 2018 noted that phone use within one to two hours of going to bed impacts sleep negatively, particularly in toddlers and children. Levels of melatonin, the hormone that makes you tired, usually increase before you go to sleep. Your phone emits blue light, inhibiting melatonin production, making you more alert and not as sleepy as you usually would be.”

Reading books at night can improve sleep.
2. Start reading

Instead of scrolling, I read. Reading has always been the best part of my bedtime routine and putting the phone down at night means more time for books. And nothing puts me into a better, deeper slumber than reading. According to WebMD: “Not only does reading give you a break from looking at a screen, but the actual activity of doing it has been found to reduce stress up to 68%. In addition, it has been found to be even more effective than other de-stressors like drinking tea or listening to music. Often, people cite how reading’s ability to transport you to a life that is not your own is a significant reason for its relaxing properties.”

3. Invest in a good mattress

If you’re tired of waking up sore (and tired!) from a night of poor-quality sleep, it might be time to invest in a new mattress. According to TIME, “the average lifespan of a mattress is seven to 10 years, but this depends on numerous factors. The quality of a mattress, how well it’s been cared for, the number of sleepers and bodyweight, plus the type of mattress all influence how long or short the lifespan is.”

If your mattress is due for an upgrade, consider an Emma mattress. The team sent me a Hybrid Comfort mattress to try and it has upgraded my sleep thanks to its medium-firm feeling and the fact that there’s little to no motion transfer, which means when my husband turns from side to side, I’m barely disturbed. I really wasn’t sure about a mattress in a box but this one is proving to be a big hit – my husband loves it, too.

The mattress also has a climate-regulating cover, creating a cool sleep environment that helps to promote higher quality sleep. DID YOU KNOW? The Sleep Foundation says “the best room temperature for sleep is approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius). This may vary by a few degrees from person to person, but most doctors recommend keeping the thermostat set between 65 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 to 20 degrees Celsius) for the most comfortable sleep.”

Honeydew sheets
4. Upgrade your sheets

Up until now, I’ve always invested in good cotton sheets, always thinking that the higher the thread count, the better. But according to testing done by Good Housekeeping, “the best cotton bed sheets often have thread counts between 300 and 500. Anything above 500 isn’t necessarily better, and you should be skeptical of a thread count over 1,000.”

The team at Honeydew Sleep sent me a set of 100% organic bamboo sheets to try and I will never go back to any other kind of sheets. They are impossibly soft and luxurious and they just feel silky and … expensive. I love that they have specially designed corner straps that wrap around the mattress to keep the fitted sheet in place. These sheets are also helping me to sleep cooler and now that I’ve tried them, I’ll never sleep in anything but organic bamboo sheets again. More information: The Sleep Foundation compares and contrasts bamboo and cotton sheets here.

5. Make time for movement

I’ve made movement a priority in my life – as I get older, I know it’s increasingly important to get my blood pumping. Not only does it make me feel better physically, mentally and emotionally, exercise is known to hep improve the quality of your sleep. Healthline says: “Evidence suggests that getting at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity daily can help improve sleep quality. For long-term sleep health benefits, guidelines recommend adults get 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity and 2 days of muscle-strengthening activity every week.” So how much physical activity do adults need? Here’s what the CDC says.

Clean up your eating habits.
6. Clean up your eating habits

Since I have little kids, we eat early. Dinner is usually done by 6pm so that there’s time for all that their sleep routine entails. But if you tend to eat late, shifting dinnertime might help improve the quality of your sleep. The Sleep Foundation says, “One study found that participants who ate or drank less than an hour before going to bed were much more likely to wake up after falling asleep than people who consumed something two or more hours before bedtime.”

Also, going to bed on a full stomach isn’t a good idea since the discomfort might keep you up. The Sleep Foundation advises avoiding specific foods, listed below, right before bedtime as they can “trigger heartburn and other discomfort, while other foods and beverages may make it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep.”

  • Spicy foods
  • Foods high in fat, such as fried foods, full-fat dairy products, and fatty meats
  • Acidic foods, such as tomatoes and citrus fruits
  • Caffeine-containing food and drink, including chocolate, coffee, and tea
  • Alcohol

We all know that feeling after a good night’s sleep. When you are well-rested, your mood and brain function improve and your energy levels increase. Good sleep is as important to overall health as diet and exercise and if you’re not getting enough, then now is as good a time as any to start prioritizing good sleep for a better, healthier you.

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