What is cognitive behavioral therapy (also called CBT or cognitive behavior therapy)?
There are a lot of forms of therapy today, from massages to hypnosis. Therapy treatment has been hyped up in many creative ways to solve people’s psychological stresses, traumas, and other mental health problems. Therapy often gets a bad rap for taking too many sessions and being ineffective. But, there is a solid form of treatment that has been proven to be more effective despite taking fewer sessions. This treatment is called cognitive behavior therapy.
Cognitive behavioral therapy, CBT, is a form of talk therapy performed with a therapist or other psychiatric professional. This form of psychotherapy increases your awareness of inaccurate or negative thinking, helping you respond to different situations more effectively. CBT is useful for various issues such as depression, PTSD, stress, eating disorders, a sleep disorder or stressful life situations. Often, cognitive behavioral therapy is preferred because it requires fewer sessions than other types of therapy today. And, it focuses on the present, not the past.
Cognitive behavioral therapy works by changing your thinking pattern. Through CBT, you work together with your therapist to pinpoint the unhealthy or harmful thinking that is causing your mental health problems. The theory behind CBT is that if you can prevent these negative thoughts, you subsequently avoid negative emotions and actions. Through CBT, your quality of life increases as you think more positively and with better awareness.
If you notice that you experience sleeping problems because of stress and anxiety, you are not alone. According to research by Philips (2020), worry and/or stress was reported by 33% of the global respondents as the most limiting factor to a good night’s sleep. In our latest research, 71% of the participants improved on their insomnia complaints in 4 weeks. Click here to learn more about how Somnox can help you achieve a good night’s rest.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety
Anxiety is one of the common problems that cognitive behavioral therapy has been proven to treat. According to one study from 2015, CBT treatment for anxiety is both efficient and effective. CBT is all about changing your cognitions. For anxiety specifically, CBT is often paired with exposure therapy to achieve maximum results. You learn specific skills connected to the thoughts, emotions, and actions related to the anxiety disorder. Then, you are usually assigned homework to practice these new cognition skills outside. CBT for anxiety usually takes 20 sessions or less.
A study on cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety in children with autism spectrum disorders demonstrates the effectiveness of CBT in the treatment of anxiety. In this study, each week for 16 weeks, the parents of the children did CBT for 60 minutes a week, and the children did CBT for 30 minutes a week. It was found that 78.5% of the children who did CBT showed improvement through the treatment.
Over the long term of adifferent study, it was found that most adolescents who did CBT maintained gains over anxiety. Thus, CBT is effective in the short term, and the results are also maintained over a long period.
How does CBT work for insomnia?
Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, CBT-i, consists of several procedures that you can follow for different insomnia-related problems. They all incorporate the basic CBT principal of the connection between thought, emotion, and behavior.
Stimulus Control Therapy
Stimulus control therapy involves reassociating the bed with sleep and not with wakefulness. In stimulus control therapy, you only lie in bed if you are sleepy. You rise at the same time every morning too. Even if it’s the middle of the night, if you aren’t feeling tired, you need to get out of bed. Your brain should be thinking that the bed is only for sleep and nothing else.
Sleep Restriction Therapy
Sleep restriction means that you are limiting the amount of time spent in bed. The goal of this is to prevent waking up in the middle of the night. You track your sleep efficiency so that most of the time you spend in bed is spent sleeping, not awake. You’re given a limited number of hours to be in bed, and that’s all you have to sleep. At first, it’s hard because you probably won’t get more than 7 hours of shut-eye, but slowly that amount increases as you become more efficient with your sleep.
By improving sleep hygiene, you’re changing lifestyle habits such as smoking, drinking too much caffeine late in the day, and inactivity. It also involves a bedtime routine that gets you physically ready for bed, such as showering, brushing your teeth and writing in your sleep diary.
Sleep Environment Improvement
Sleep environment improvement means creating a comfortable sleep environment: dark and cool, no TV, no bright lights, and little noise. You remove anything that could bother your sleep.
Through relaxation training, you calm your mind and body through meditation, breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation. Relaxation training helps you get in the right place with your mind and body for sleep.
Remaining passively awake
Remaining passively awake means avoiding any effort to fall asleep, making you less worried about trying to fall asleep. Not being worried about better sleep makes it easier to fall asleep.
Biofeedback involves gaining awareness over the body by using technology. Through biofeedback, you can observe things such as your heart rate and muscle tension. Then, you can use this feedback to help identify patterns linked to your sleep habit.
ThisSleep Robot helps you fall asleep by guiding your breathing, promoting a natural sleeping position, and playing relaxing music. It works really well as an easy sleep aid to help you fall asleep. The Sleep Robot can be considered as a branch of relaxation training and sleep environment improvement. Our validated and patented, drug-free sleep-aid uses continuous and precise breathing simulation to quiet the racing mind assisting you towards deep restorative sleep. Put your hands on the Somnox Sleep Robot and breathe along with the physical sensation of the falling and rising of the breathing pulse. Specifically designed to help you be at your best every day.
Is CBT effective for insomnia?
CBT is proven to work for insomnia, especially when compared to other sleep aids. There are numerous studies and institutions in support of this.
According to theHarvard Health Blog, CBT-i gives you the tools to manage your insomnia disorder better. Thus, you don’t have to take any sleep medication or sleeping pill that may have unwanted side effects, nor do you have to waste your money on sleep medicine.
In addition to this, ameta-analysis study conducted on children and adolescents also found that CTI-i is effective for insomnia.
And, CBT-i is also efficacious, as proven in another study onprimary insomnia, which is insomnia not caused by other health problems.
What is the best therapy for insomnia?
The best therapy for poor sleep is CBT-i. As we’ve already explained in the last section, CBT-i is scientifically proven to be efficient and productive.
Compared to other forms of therapy, CBT-i doesn’t cost as much money as the sessions only last for a short time over a few weeks. There is little risk in doing CBT-i.
Many prefer cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia not only for its time and cost-savings but also for the tools it provides for a lifetime. It teaches you how to cope with insomnia and how to deal with it on your own. The ability to deal with insomnia an extremely valuable skill that you can take with you everywhere. This minimalist approach to therapy for insomnia has all of the benefits that one could need for becoming an insomnia treatment.
How long does it take for cognitive behavioral therapy to work?
The amount of time it takes for CBT to work depends from person to person. According to theUT Medical Center, though, you should see improvement by the end of the CBT sessions.
It’s important to remember not to go into CBT with too high of expectations. CBT will most likely help, but it doesn’t mean that it won’t take a long time or that you won’t relapse. CBT enables you to deal with new problems that arise and cope with them most effectively. If you go into CBT with the right mindset, then it could definitely help you.
How do you do CBT for insomnia?
CBT-i works upon the same CBT principle that our thoughts, emotions, and behavior are linked together. For CBT-i, you’ll probably go to a therapist’s office for your CBT-i sessions. Then, you will work together with your therapist to figure out how you can adequately battle your insomnia symptoms and how you can improve your sleep quality and total sleep time during the night. CBT focuses more on the present and less on the past, so don’t expect the stereotypical childhood trauma recollections with your therapist.
Often, you will have assignments or homework to do on your own to practice these new thinking methods to change your cognition. You can refer back to the CBT-i procedures that we’ve gone over for an idea of what you’ll have to do at home.
How long does it take for CBT for insomnia to work?
As with CBT in general, there is no sure way of knowing how long it will take for CBT-i to work. You should see some improvement by the end of the sessions with the therapist, but it could take much longer than that to cure your insomnia fully. Everybody is different, and everyone will progress at different paces.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of talk therapy that proves to be more beneficial than other types of treatments and remedies despite its simplicity and short-term commitment to sessions. CBT is so effective because it challenges the root of mental health problems: the negative thought. A negative thought can spark negative emotions and negative behaviors, and CBT works to nip this in the bud.
For insomnia, CBT is a great tool to manage and cure it. A notable aid for CBT-i is theSleep Robot, which could help overcome your sleep problem. Overall, a combination of CBT-i and the Sleep Robot give you all of the tools that you need to cure your insomnia.
The COVID crisis has changed how you interact with society, which can be stressful, overwhelming and very strange. Even as things begin to reopen and return to a state of normalcy, you still may not feel comfortable doing some of the things you used to do. However, it is important that you remain mentally and physically healthy as society begins to reopen and adjust to a new normal.
Deal With Any Health Issues
You may be thinking that you need to put off any or all health issues that you have developed during this time because it is unsafe to visit your doctor’s office. However, that is no longer the case as Telehealth services have become more and more prevalent.
Telehealth is a resource that offers patients health-related services via telecommunication technologies. This will allow you to speak to a doctor about any health conditions that you have had or that have recently developed.
Many people have developed extreme anxiety or depression due to the stressful state of the world right now. Luckily many Telehealth companies are able to prescribe medications to help you with those conditions.
Using Telehealth is also a great way to take the pressure off any sensitive topics that you may feel uncomfortable discussing in person. Therefore, now is a better time than any to schedule a Telehealth appointment to discuss any health issues you may have been putting off such as erectile dysfunction. Utilizing Telehealth services to get information and erectile dysfunction medication, like Viagra, will not only provide you a secure and convenient online consultation, you will also be able to avoid any waiting room anxiety.
Get An Adequate Amount of Sleep
As mentioned before, there has been an increase in anxiety and depression-related illnesses since the COVID outbreak began. The same stressors that are causing those higher rates are also causing a change in sleeping patterns, eating habits, ability to concentrate and use of substances in citizens.
1 in 5 people suffer from sleep-related problems, which range from difficulty falling asleep, frequently waking up, and waking up early. The symptoms can weigh on you and have a significant impact on our quality of life.
As a result of inadequate sleep, many people turn to an easy solution, being medication. However, sleep medication can have adverse effects and be ineffective in the long run. So, you ideally want to get down to the root of the problem, which could be your sleep environment, being overly stressed, what you’re consuming and more.
There are many things that can help you have a better nights sleep and they include:
Reducing your use of electronic devices 1 hour before bed
Not eating 1 hour before bed
You may or may not have noticed that you are more sedentary now than you ever were before. Although social distancing is benefiting you in many ways, it can also harm your physical wellbeing. With fewer places to go and fewer things to do, you are far less active. Even the simple task of waking up, getting ready and going into the office was a part of your daily exercise, but now most people likely wake up and move from their bedroom to the living room.
That being said, it is now vital to track your daily movement, to ensure you are getting enough exercise throughout the day to support a healthy mind and body. Research has shown, you should strive for about 150 minutes of moderate activity per week, which comes out to about 30 minutes 5 days a week. If you struggle to get in an adequate amount of exercise week to week, purchase a fitness tracker to help keep track of your movement, and also motivate you.
Along with a change in exercise and movement, social distancing can affect your eating habits as well. Many people may find themselves mindlessly over-snacking, out of boredom or stress, or not eating enough due to reduced activity or anxiety.
It is just as important to track your eating and drinking habits as it is to track your exercise habits because they compliment each other. You should aim to maintain a calorie deficit, so you need to adjust your amount of consumption based on the amount of exercise you’re getting each week.
You should avoid consuming foods that are high in salt, sugar and fat and focus on fruits, veggies, lean proteins and whole grains. You should also avoid drinking your calories in the form of soda and high sugar juices and switch to healthier alternatives like seltzer water. These foods and drinks will help you maintain a healthy weight and keep you energized and alert.
Lastly, another important aspect of staying mentally and physically healthy during this time is to get outside and enjoy nature. Getting sunlight and fresh air is an integral part of remaining healthy. Just taking a walk outside has been proven to reduce anxiety and depression, which also reduces your heart rate and blood pressure.
Also, proper exposure to sunlight can improve your mood and overall health, as the sun causes your skin to produce vitamin D. Vitamin D plays an active role in preventing or fighting illnesses such as arthritis, eczema, thyroiditis and more. Sunlight also triggers your brain to produce serotonin, whereas darkness triggers your brain to produce melatonin. According to Healthline, serotonin is known for boosting your mood and helping you feel calm and focused. Melatonin, however, is known for making you sleepy. So, try to get out of your house 1-3 times during the day for proper sun exposure, with the use of sunscreen, of course.
Although COVID-19 has drastically changed the way that you are able to do things, it shouldn’t hold you back from being your best self, both mentally and physically. There are plenty of things you can focus on that you may have put off before like confronting your health issues, adjusting your sleep patterns for better quality and making sure you’re eating and exercising correctly. Maintaining all of those activities will make you feel healthier and ready to take on the world before you know it.
Getting your body to its strongest and healthiest shape may have been lurking around your list of 2020 goals. With the current pandemic however — all plans to boost your immune system and body’s strength must now take top priority.
To achieve this, usual suspects like diets, vitamins and supplements are resorted to. But there’s another proven method to strengthen and boost your immunity. A method so easy, you can do it with both eyes closed: getting a good night’s sleep.
With its healing and restorative powers, we’ll be examining the general benefits of sleep and the special role it plays in improving your immunity. We’ll also be checking out what happens when you cut corners with sleep. Next to that we look into why 7+ hours of a night’s rest are essential for a healthy immune system.
At the first signs of a fever, it isn’t uncommon for friends and family alike to advise that you attempt a little rest to sleep it away. Have a headache? Get some sleep. Beginnings of the flu? Go lie down. There’s hardly any ailment whose first course of treatment doesn’t recommend some good old-fashioned rest and relaxation. But is there any basis to this?
When it comes to the question of sleep boosting your immune system and keeping illness at bay — you cannot dispute its effectiveness. Studies have shown that skimming on sleep can impact how easily susceptible the body becomes to disease-causing pathogens like bacteria and viruses. The amount of sleep you get at night influences your convalescence period. Quality sleep is likely to shorten it, and insufficient sleep only lengthens the recovery process.
Sleep works magic for immunity. Because of that, the immune system shows its thanks by improving the quality of sleep, allowing for better and deeper rest.
Benefits of sleep
When it comes to the benefits of sleep, its value in keeping morning crankiness at bay, banishing under eye circles or even magically fortifying beauty is widely accepted.
Beyond these benefits however, getting between 7-8 hours of sleep every night can greatly improve your body’s well-being in many important ways.
Here are 5 ways getting a good night’s rest could keep your body buzzing with energy and good health:
Sleep reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke
If it could, your heart would probably whisper ‘thanks’, whenever you kept to your bedtime, and postponed your favorite Netflix series till the morning.
If your morning workout has ever left you wishing you could lose weight while asleep, then we have a little news for you.
While sleep won’t have you losing ten pounds overnight, 7- 8 hours of rest at night couldaid in weight control. Being sleep deprived can leave you unmotivated to exercise in the morning.A study shows it also encourages the brain to crave comfort foods like high carb snacks.
Adequate sleep helps prevent this. With healthy rest, you encourage your body’s regular production of Ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and Lenin (the hormone that tells your body to stop eating).
Sleep is important for maintaining a good mood
There’s a reason getting only a little sleep at night can leave you feeling plenty irritable, cranky and just downright miserable come morning.
Sleep has been proven to affect the mood.Studies have shownthat even a partial deprivation of sleep can leave you feeling stressed, angry and mentally exhausted. Normal sleep can have a reversal effect on your mood.
Sleep increases productivity
Here’s a suggestion you might raise a brow at. The next time you feel unmotivated or uninspired at work? Make sure you get between 7- 8 hours of sleep later at night and subsequently after.
This is because insufficient and inconsistent sleep is proven to induce stress on the brain. It affects the rate your brain functions, translating to decreased work productivity.
With adequate sleep, you reduce your chances of burnout, improve your memory and make better decisions.
Sleep can help to prevent inflammation
Ordinarily, inflammation occurs as our body’s response to fight off disease-causing pathogens. Unfortunately, sometimes this response can be against harmless cells in the body, leading to auto-immune diseases like arthritis and lupus.
Consistently getting quality sleep can help prevent inflammation brought on by poor sleeping habits.
Boost your immune system with sleep
Sleep and immunity operate on a two-way street. When disease-causing microbial organisms activate the immune system, it usually triggers an increase in the length of sleep and its intensity. When you don’t sleep well (enough), your immune system will weaken. In addition to being more susceptible to pathogens, you produce less sleep-inducing substances, so you will sleep less deeply. This sleep then assists the immune system in fighting off diseases.
By enhancing the length and intensity of sleep, the body’s defense system is strengthened. The production of hormones necessary for the countering of harmful organisms occurs during rest. Transmitters like cytokines which help to increase and regulate the immune system’s response to infection and inflammation are produced during the body’s deep sleep. Cytokines such as interleukin are also instrumental in inducing fatigue.
After assisting with defeating inflammation and infections, a good night’s sleep also ensures that your immune system remembers how to keep the bad guys out. It achieves this by strengthening the response memory of the immune system, allowing it to respond faster and more effectively to previously encountered microbes.
You produce infection fighting antibodies during sleep
Imagine this: your body is a war zone under direct attack from disease-causing pathogens. For protection, your immune system releases machoT-Cellswith three things on their agenda:
Recognize the pathogens
Attach to them using adhesive proteins called integrins
There’s a snag however. Present in your body are molecules like adrenaline and prostaglandin which prevent your T-Cells from attaching, suppressing your immune response. This is where sleep comes in.
Research has shown lower levels of these molecules are produced while sleeping, allowing the T-Cells less interference to do their jobs.
Sleep helps in the production of Cytokines
To fight off infection and inflammation, the body relies on a group of proteins called cytokines.
Thanks to the cytokines, infection fighting antibodies and cells produced during sleep, getting your body the adequate amount of rest will benefit your immune system.
What Happens To Your Immune System When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep?
Think about it like this: your immune system is like a battalion of soldiers ready to go to war against disease causing pathogens for you. It simply requires that you arm it with a balanced diet, regular exercise and sleep to allow it to do its job efficiently.
Sleep plays an important role in producing antibodies, anti-inflammation, weight control, mood regulation, the improvement of heart health etcetera. Its absence or inadequacy could open the body to infections, inflammatory diseases like arthritis, obesity, depression and even life threatening heart disease like stroke or high blood pressure.
Without adequate sleep i.e. 7-8 hours, you surpress the body’s immune response. This opens it up to chronic systemic, low-grade inflammation which is linked to diseases like diabetes and neurodegeneration.
On the outside, a night of inadequate rest can leave your eye bags heavy, your emotions weary and your energy lacking. On the inside, things don’t look any better.
To have a strong enough immune system, your body needs the required amount of rest to boost its immunity. But as we’ve seen, the immune system also has a part to play in improving the body’s sleep. Making both body functions mutually beneficial and important to the other.
When’s the last time you had a good night’s sleep? You know, seven or eight hours of uninterrupted slumber … what a crazy concept, right? A good night's sleep seems simple, but in reality, it can be quite difficult to fall — and stay — asleep for seven hours in a 24-hour period. Sleep aids and meditation may help you calm down and unwind at bedtime. Exercise, melatonin, lavender, and proper nutrition play a part too.
Understanding the Sleep Process
When you hit your pillow and close your eyes at night (or during the day), the brain cycles through a few stages. During the first stage, usually 5 to 15 minutes or so, your eyes are closed, and you’re dozing, but can awaken easily. Stage two is light sleep, where your body temperature and heart rate drop. Deep sleep occurs in stage three. Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep typically comes within 90 minutes. As each REM stage gets longer, you’ll start to dream.
Lack of “good” sleep usually leads to low energy, moodiness, fatigue, and difficulty in concentrating. Acute insomnia occurs when you’re stressed out about a particular situation. But chronic insomnia is a term for poor sleep, at least three nights a week, that lasts three months or longer. Reasons for chronic insomnia may be changes in the environment, your biological clock, work habits, or a medical or psychiatric issue.
Although the human body produces its own melatonin, it doesn’t actually make you fall or stay asleep. Sleep experts at Johns Hopkins Medicine say you should use melatonin supplements sparingly. They work best when you get outside in the sunlight as often as possible. If, after a week or two, you find that melatonin supplements aren’t working, stop taking them and consult your doctor. The supplements can be dangerous if you're pregnant or breastfeeding, or suffer from depression, seizures, or an autoimmune disorder. A Sleep Robot may be your best solution since it helps you slow down your breathing naturally, and enables you to slip into sleep without dangerous chemicals.
Plants Are Perfect!
Scented and air-cleaning plants are natural sleep aids. You just need to place a few in your bedroom.
Aloe vera produces oxygen, and it won’t need a lot of water or direct sunlight. Aloe fronds release a gel that’s great for use on cuts and burns. When you get an aloe, be sure to keep soil and a few small containers on hand, as these plants are very prolific.
Peace lilies filter air toxins and increase the bedroom’s humidity. More humidity keeps airborne microbes at bay and reduces allergic reactions, so you’ll breathe better at night. Peace lilies thrive in shade or filtered sunlight. Keep them away from pets and small children.
Jasmine is a fragrant exotic plant that will help you relax. Its foliage and flowers are used in tea, perfumes, oils, soaps, and bath products. Jasmine usually blooms in white, but flowers may be light pink or ivory. Place a few jasmine plants in your bedroom and then drift off to dreamland.
Lavender emits a pleasant scent for calming and relaxing the body. You can grow plants in your bedroom if you have a window with direct sunlight, or a plant light will do. Lavender oils and bubble bath soaps help take the edge off a stressful day.
Notice, we didn’t include the famous poppy flower. L. Frank Baum may have been toying with artistic license when the flowers put Dorothy into a deep sleep in The Wizard of Oz. Poppies contain opium, but unless you ingest or inject it, the flower is not a sleep aid. (Hey, he created a talking scarecrow, lion and tin man as well!)
Exercise and outdoor activities get you moving — and tuckered out. Get off the couch and get active! Give yourself at least 30 minutes to wind down after a workout.
Falling and staying asleep can definitely be stressful. But you can help the process by altering your sleep environment. Block out unnecessary light, turn off the TV, and power down the outside world. Unlike sleep supplements (which can hamper your ability to wake up in the morning), the Somnox Sleep Robot uses calming music and your own breathing rhythms to help you fall asleep naturally.
Connie Proctor, a former professional dancer, is now a physical therapist and yoga instructor who advocates for wellness for people of all abilities.
Where can I find the right information? In the app? The manual? On a website? Or should I make a phone call? Why isn’t there one central point where I can find everything?
We heard you. Therefore we are pleased to announce the Somnox Support 2.0 – a new way to support you through an updated live chat, an always up-to-date knowledge base and support messages for new Sleep Robot users.
Renewed Support Center
A large part of our Somnox Support 2.0 is our renewed Support Center. The latest information is now always available through the app. You can look up a question in the app:
Or you can use your browser of choice on your phone, tablet or computer to go to https://support.somnox.com and type in your question:
Get direct help from us
You want help. By real people. We understand that. You can now reach us on weekdays from 09:00 to 17:00 CET via our renewed chat. Click on the chat icon in the lower right corner of your app and start a conversation with one of our Sleep Supporters:
Improved experience for new users
For the past few months, we have only sent messages via e-mail to help you and other new users on their way. The biggest stumbling block was that we didn’t reach you in the right place or when you were actually using your Sleep Robot. That’s why we found a solution that allows us to send messages to new users at the right time and the right place: via the app when you’re actively using the Sleep Robot. By doing this, we want to make it easy for everyone to understand the Sleep Robot.
“I like the fact that everything is now in one central place.” – 100% of test users
Start your sleep adventure
If you are a Sleep Robot user, you can make use of all the benefits of Somnox Support 2.0. Download the update on iOS (click here) or Android (click here). If you don’t have one yet, you can order the Sleep Robot with our 30-night sleep trial. You will be actively supported by our new Somnox Support for 30 nights, so that you can finally feel rested again.
Picture this: Despite your jam-packed schedule, you’ve still reserved enough time to unwind and relax before bed. Your bedroom is cool, calm and dark, and you’re able to fall asleep and stay asleep without any trouble. The next morning, you manage to wake up before your alarm and feel well-rested, perhaps even energetic, and ready to take on the world. If this sounds like a scenario you can only dream of, you’re not alone – only about half of Americans wake up feeling well-rested. We’ve gathered the 17 best tips for creating the ideal sleep environment to improve your quality of sleep so you can (finally) get a good night’s sleep.
Create the Ideal Sleep Environment
Declutter your room. Keeping your bedroom tidy and removing any potential distractions is essential for your body to begin to relax. Important work documents, busy artwork or even a treadmill are all examples of the stressful reminders of your responsibilities that can distract you while you are trying to sleep. Instead, try to keep your room clutter-free and the décor to a minimum.
Reduce light exposure. For an ideal sleep environment, try room darkening window treatments, heavy curtains, or an eye mask to eliminate as much natural light as possible. Light can come from anywhere—streetlights, your hallway, even the moon and the stars—all of which can trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime. Blue light exposure can also affect you quality of sleep. Research shows that blue light exposure keeps you awake by increasing alertness, shifting your circadian rhythm, and suppressing the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. Set an alarm an hour before you want to lay down signaling it’s time to give up your devices, and begin your bedtime ritual or take up reading instead. You may even consider investing in filtering eyeglasses to wear throughout the day as you are looking at a computer or phone screen to avoid straining your eyes.
Use Essential Oils. It’s no surprise that smell influences how we feel by associating scents with emotions and memories. Often overlooked, essential oil for sleep can help you wind down, relax, and eventually drift off. Essential oil aromatherapy is a quick and inexpensive solution to combat poor sleep, helping you relax physically and mentally. Lavender and vanilla are the more popular oils to help you sleep and can be added to an aromatherapy diffuser or vaporizer to disperse into the bedroom.
Emphasize symmetry with furniture placement. For a better sleep environment, it’s essential to think about the positioning of your furniture as this plays a role in the functionality and symmetry of your bedroom. For optimal balance, position your bed against the middle of a wall as far away from the door as possible, and with room on both sides. When lying in bed, you should be facing the door with your feet closest to the entrance. If possible, try to avoid lying with your head underneath the window.
Find your ideal pillow. To maintain spinal alignment while you sleep, the standard rule of thumb is to replace your pillow every 1 to 2 years. However, if you lie awake unable to get comfortable, or wake up with headaches, neck aches, and shoulder pains, you might consider finding a replacement earlier. When choosing pillow firmness—ranging from softer choices like down pillows to firmer choices like buckwheat pillows—keep your sleeping position in mind. Stomach sleepers tend to prefer a thin pillow, back sleepers find that medium support works best, while side sleepers favor thicker pillows. Furthermore, if you have allergies or asthma, hypoallergenic covers are an option, protecting from any allergens that may trigger your symptoms.
Invest in a new mattress. It’s equally important to take into consideration your sleeping position as this will determine whether a soft or firm bed is the right choice for you. Whichever mattress type you’re leaning towards—perhaps memory foam, natural fiber, or a cooling and heating mattress—be sure to test out the options in-store. Even mail-order mattress companies offer free home trials. Although most mattresses last up to 10 years, the upfront cost can indeed be intimidating. If finances are tight, foam toppers can be added to your mattress as a comfort boost and to help prevent waking up stiff and achy. Some mattresses are designed with specific health conditions in mind, so check with your doctor when selecting a new mattress if you have sleep apnea, sciatica, scoliosis, etc.
Use the Somnox Sleep Robot. If stress and anxiety have affected your ability to fall asleep, the world’s first Sleep Robot can help calm your mind and relax your body. The robot is equipped with calming music, replicates breathing rhythms, and fits naturally against your chest for enhanced comfort and a sense of security. You can now relax and fall asleep easier by subconsciously adapting your breathing pattern to slow down and synchronize with that of the robot.
Consider new sheets. When shopping around for sheets, you’ll notice that there are several different thread counts, weaves and materials to choose from. These all contribute to the warmth and softness of the sheets, and choosing the ideal bed sheets depends on the type of sleeper you are. Do you wake up in the middle of the night shivering, despite the endless layers covering you? Popular choices to combat the cold are fleece and jersey, followed by silk. Or maybe you wake up feeling as though you’ve been sleeping in a sauna. If this sounds like you, consider looking into materials like cotton and linen or maybe even bamboo bed sheets. Designed for “hot sleepers”, bed sheets with breathable fabric and temperature-regulating properties trap in less heat to help you sleep through the night.
Discover the perfect bedspread. Offered in many different styles—from comforters and duvet covers, to blankets and throws— these top layers give extra warmth and style to your bed. Every bedspread provides a different level of weight and texture and what works for your sleep environment and comfort is entirely up to you.
Paint your bedroom walls a soothing color. Color has a powerful effect on our mood and can influence our sleep quality by creating a calm environment. Research shows that the best bedroom color for sleep is blue, followed by yellow, green, and silver. Try to stick to neutral, pastel, or muted shades, as bold colors can trick the brain into thinking it needs to be alert.
Use a sound machine/conditioner. If you have a partner that snores, live on a busy street, or catch yourself lying awake lost in your thoughts, a white noise sleep machine might be just what you’re missing. Light sleepers may prefer an app that offers a variety of nature-like noises such as crashing waves or light rainfall. Or, a simple bedroom fan could do the trick for someone uncomfortable in pure silence.
Develop Healthy Habits for a Better Night’s Sleep
Select the ideal sleeping temperature. Whether you reside in Detroit, MI in the middle of winter, or Tampa, FL in the summer, the best temperature to support a healthy night’s sleep is usually between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. However, this varies from person to person, and other elements in your environment—such as climate conditions, bedding type, and pajamas—can have an influence on your best temperature for sleeping. Some people tend to be warmer sleepers than others, which could also sway their ideal sleeping temperature. Nonetheless, temperatures over 75 and below 54 degrees Fahrenheit are sure to disrupt your sleep.
Refrain from sleeping with pets. You may think of your pet as a member of the family, so why wouldn’t you share your bed with them? 45 percent of Americans allow their dogs in bed but that may be what is causing your restless nights. Many people have allergies to cats and dogs that can be aggravated when sharing a bed. These allergens can linger in clothes, pillows, and bedding and could cause a reaction. With a wide range of styles of pet beds and crates to consider—such as a nesting bed, elevated bed, or a heating bed—it could be time to look into an alternate sleeping arrangement for your companion.
Avoid caffeine consumption after 2 p.m. We’ve all been there—it’s 10 p.m. and you are still wired from that afternoon cup of joe. Research shows that consuming caffeine even 6 hours before bed can disrupt your sleep. If you rely on a daily afternoon pick-me-up, chances are your caffeine-infused stimulant could be affecting your sleep quality and duration. Begin your day with highly caffeinated drinks and slowly reduce your caffeine intake throughout the morning by switching to tea or decaffeinated coffee. You’ll definitely want to cut out caffeine altogether by 2 p.m.
Exercise regularly for better sleep. Exercise not only releases endorphins but also helps you fall asleep faster and wake up feeling well-rested. Even as little as 10 minutes of exercise at any time during the day can greatly increase sleep quality. Joining a local gym, meeting regularly with a personal trainer, or finding a physical activity that you enjoy are all ways to get a good sweat in. If you have a limiting schedule, you can even create an in-home gym for flexibility and convenience.
Create a nighttime routine. Most activities that many of us do in the evening—such as watching TV or using our phones—can be overstimulating. By staying consistent with a calming bedtime ritual, your body will recognize that it’s time for sleep, and screen time may not be as tempting. Your nighttime routine can be as simple as brushing your teeth, washing your face, flossing and maybe even enjoying a decaffeinated bedtime tea. The options are endless, and how you begin to wind down is ultimately up to you. Dim the lights, unwind, and relax.
Avoid naps too close to the evening. While short power naps are encouraged and offer many benefits, long naps in the late afternoon and evening can have negative effects on your sleep quality. Instead, limit naps from 15 to 30 minutes in the early afternoon. This will increase your chances of waking up feeling rejuvenated while still being able to fall asleep easily come bedtime. Your circadian rhythm drops in the early afternoon—between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.—and can leave you feeling more sleepy and in need of a nap. This is the best time to doze off without disrupting your sleep at night.
Resist snoozing the alarm. You actually wake up more tired after snoozing your alarm, especially if hitting the snooze button multiple times is part of your routine. You can’t reach the restorative level of sleep between alarms, ultimately confusing your brain and throwing off the natural wake up process. If you sleep for seven to nine hours per night, your body shouldn’t need the extra sleep and could even begin waking up on its own before your first alarm goes off. Try gradually reducing the number of times you allow yourself to snooze the alarm clock until you are waking up after just the first.