Lately, quite a few of my friends have expressed frustration at how poorly they have been sleeping. Many of our brains are racing at night worrying about loved ones, our health, finances, the state of the world, and so much more. I believe in creating an environment for the best sleep hygiene, so I have compiled a short list of suggestions to help you maximize your sleep at night. I hope some of these suggestions help you clear your mind and (finally) get a good night’s sleep.
If possible, do not keep your phone in the bedroom and do not use your phone at least 30 minutes before heading to bed. In addition, do not use social media at least an hour before bedtime. Reading about the ills of the world or Facebook dramas do not help settle your mind or spirit.
I also like to use lavender lotion on my temples, hands, and feet to create a soothing sleep environment. It works for babies so why not adults?
One of my best discoveries has been the use of Brown noise. You can type it in on Spotify or find a free app on your phone. This has been a game changer. White and Pink noise have frequencies that are too exciting (for me) to sleep.
I invested in a good eye mask with deep inset eye sockets so I can open my eyes fully while still wearing the mask. I also got fitted for a proper mouth guard at my dentist to help curtail grinding my teeth at night. I was told the cheap mouthguards for purchase at your local drugstore can cause long term damage to your gums, so choose your mouth guard well.
So many of my friends are obsessed with their weighted blanket. They feel like the lead apron from the dentist’s office when you sleep, and it definitely relaxes you. If your apartment is dry, I suggest investing in a humidifier or at the very least placing a pot of water on your radiator to moisten the air in your room.
Lastly, if your mind is still racing then try a gratitude journal you keep by the bed. List 15 items each night in a little journal chronicling items you are thankful for (large and/or small). I have found it is so helpful to cleanse my mind with gratitude.
This is literally my regime almost every night. I ebb and flow with the journaling and I must admit, I keep my phone by my bed in case I need to be reached. However, find what works best for you. Changing pillows, sheets, comforters, or even your bed can also add to a more productive night’s sleep. Essentially, try to clear your mind as much as possible before bed so your mind and soul can be at rest for a few hours.
Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream,” and the co-host of the podcast FAQ-NYC.