4. Ditch the screens.
Today’s constant access to technology means that people are spending more time looking at screens—TVs, laptops, cellphones, tablets—in bed than ever before. That’s not good for sleep, though, with light from electronic devices suppressing the melatonin we need to sleep. Move TVs out of the bedroom and leave behind phones, tablets and laptops an hour before bed for better sleep.
5. Use light correctly.
The circadian rhythm that determines when we sleep and when we wake is inextricably tied to light and darkness. Light and darkness cue our body’s activities—or lack thereof. Keep your bedroom dark when you go to sleep and make it gradually lighter as it gets closer to waking time to take advantage of the body’s natural rhythm. You’ll sleep better and wake up more naturally. Depending on where you live, this can be as simple as leaving your blinds or curtains open, but many areas have streetlights and other factors that lead to light pollution. In those cases, close the blinds or curtains and equip your bedroom with a wake-up light that corresponds to a natural sleep cycle.
6. Embrace white noise.
Noise pollution, whether from outside or inside—the sounds of passing cars, train horns, the early morning garbage truck, slamming doors, or other common household sounds—can jostle you from sound sleep. Ambient white noise reduces the difference between background sounds and those more disturbing sounds, making it easier to sleep serenely. Common household items like fans and air purifiers generate white noise, but if you need something more, there are plenty of white noise machines on the market.
7. Make your bed.
Making the bed is a simple morning chore that makes a big difference. This simple morning task makes you happier and more productive, prepares you for other chores throughout the day, neatens your bedroom, and gives you the nighttime ritual of turning down the bed before sleep.