Daylight Saving Time ends on November 3, which means we gain an extra hour of sleep that night, but as we head into the holidays (and soon, a new decade) how can we make our sleep count for more? One major step is in reducing digital distractions before bed. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “using TVs, tablets, smartphones, laptops, or other electronic devices before bed delays your body’s internal clock (a.k.a., your circadian rhythm), suppresses the release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, and makes it more difficult to fall asleep.” The good news is that you can adjust your space to help address this and improve sleep quality. To get you started, Vogue consulted Dr. Shelby Harris, a behavioral sleep-medicine specialist whose book, The Women's Guide to Overcoming Insomnia: Get a Good Night's Sleep Without Relying on Medication, offers a guide to better rest. Here, her advice on bedroom essentials:
"Invest in a new mattress if yours is uncomfortable or sagging. We often spend more money on a new car every 4 years when we don’t buy a mattress until 10 years have passed—and we spend 1/3 of our lives sleeping!" says Harris.
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For those who tend to increase the air conditioning a few notches no matter the time of year, cool bedroom essentials are a must. "If you wake up warm at night, consider a cooling pillow, cooling mattress pad, high quality natural thread count sheets," says Harris. "If you wake up sweaty, special moisture wicking pajamas are great to try as well.” Linen pajamas are another lightweight, stylish alternative.
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“Light blocking (not simply room darkening) shades are fantastic at blocking all the light," explains Harris. "The sun comes out early in the summer and you need to keep your room dark to prevent any early morning awakenings.” Adding, “If shades are difficult to do or cost prohibitive, a light blocking eye mask is great too. Lavender scented ones are good for some people - lavender is calming and relaxing (but not a cure for chronic insomnia)."
White Noise Machines
Anyone who lives in New York knows that blocking out the city noise is a daily chore. “I’m a big fan of a white noise machine. Nothing that plays jungle or waves or anything like that," Harris shares. “A consistent white noise is ideal to block noise if you have anything that might disrupt your sleep.” In particular, “Pink noise fans or pink noise machines are available now; they just highlight the top and bottom ends of the sound spectrum, and one study showed that it can help enhance deep sleep and memory during sleep.”
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Originally Appeared on Vogue