Is getting better sleep one of your New Year’s resolutions? It may be easier to do if you adopt a few simple and practical habits.

Creating a calm, soothing environment can help to enhance your quality of sleep.
Read
Psychological Techniques, Sleep Environment, and Better Sleep

Read on to learn 7 practical tips that may help you sleep better this year, starting tonight.

Article continues below

1. Upgrade your mattress

Trade in your worn, hand-me-down mattress for a new one tailored to your specific back needs. If you want to test out a variety of mattress types before making a purchase, ask friends or family members if you can try their mattress for a night to find out what kind of mattress your back prefers.

See Mattress Guidelines for Sleep Comfort

2. Use a sound machine

Add white noise or soothing sounds to help block out the city noise or to create a more restful atmosphere in your bedroom. You can buy a sound machine or use your phone to download one of several free apps that offer a wide range of soundscapes.

See Phone Apps to Help You Sleep Better: Waking Up

3. Use a “smart” alarm clock app

Download an app on your phone that can analyze your sleep patterns and wake you up in the lightest stage of sleep within a time period you set (for example, between 6 am and 6:30 am). You may get a few minutes less sleep than before, but because you avoid being disturbed mid-cycle, you may feel more refreshed.

See Phone Apps to Help You Sleep Better: Waking Up

4. Switch to decaf or water in the afternoon

Caffeine circulates in your system for several hours after consumption, and it blocks the chemicals that tell your brain you are sleepy. Replace your mid-afternoon coffee, soda, or energy drink with decaffeinated tea or water. This simple switch can set you up for better sleep.

See Practicing Good Sleep Hygiene

5. Cut back on alcohol consumption

Alcohol is a sedative; it makes you feel sleepy but it does not help you get good sleep. In fact it has been shown to disrupt continuous REM sleep. The only way to completely avoid the negative sleep effects of alcohol is to avoid drinking it.

See Alcohol Avoidance

6. Buy a heated blanket with an automatic shut-off option

If you are too cold to fall asleep, yet do not want to wake up overheated in the middle of the night, you can purchase a heated blanket that includes an automatic shut-off feature. This blanket may help you find enough comfort to fall asleep, and it conveniently stops producing heat at a preset time.

7. Dim the lights

Your bedside lamp, overhead light, and tablet device all emit a glow that delays the natural nighttime release of melatonin in your brain. At night, dim the lights low or light a candle.

Give these tips a try, and see if you find more refreshing and restorative sleep in the new year.

Learn more:

Chronic Pain and Insomnia: Breaking the Cycle

Addressing Pain and Medical Problems Disrupting Sleep