I am about six months pregnant; while there are a lot of things I'd like, there's one big one I need: sleep. Here are a few things I find essential to getting a good night's rest.
1. To sleep better, turn down your thermostat. It's science, friends. Studies suggest your room be around 60 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. This same link, from The New York Times, points to another study showing that insomniacs have warmer core body temperatures just before bed.
2. Know thyself. Darkness suits sleep generally, but different things help different people. My husband likes background noise; he will listen to old episodes of shows such as Curb Your Enthusiasm on his phone to zone out. (I enjoy Larry David, but soothing is one thing he is not. Headphones are the solution for us.) My idea of white noise is chirping crickets, and I won't concede to getting a TV in the bedroom. The other sleep-friendly move I stand by is the installation of blackout shades.
3. Try a loose routine that fits you and facilitates unwinding. I find I am most relaxed if I get into my pajamas and go through my face-washing, teeth-brushing routine at least half an hour I get under the covers. I also like to be in a position with my feet up for half an hour or so before trying to sleep. Follow steps that let your brain know sleep is the ultimate goal.
4. Give your brain a rest and disconnect from tech. I recently banished my iPhone from my bedside, which I'm happy to say has been going well. Not having the ole app-box at arm's reach helps me quiet my mind. There's no more five to 45 minutes of possible sleep wasted on looking at decor and craft tutorials on Pinterest or middle-of-the-night Googling of things that can wait 'til morning. If you feel you need a phone nearby for emergencies, as some commenters mentioned, maybe a compromise is to keep it in the room, but not right near your head.
5. Identify anything that might make you get out of bed at night. If you're better prepared, you can avoid needing to leave bed, which can really mess with your sleep. Personally, I get really thirsty. After spilling a few glasses of water reaching for my bedside table in the darkness, I shelled out the cash for a Camelbak bottle that I've deemed the ultimate in lazy, spill-proof sipping.
6. Get a good pillow. Changing your mattress might be ideal, but a pillow is a less expensive way to improve your body's comfort. Whether you sleep on your side, back, or stomach, check out our guide on how to pick the right pillow for sleeping.
(Image credits: Natalie Grasso for Apartment Therapy)