All summer, you’ve crushed it at the office, killed it at the gym, raced over to meet your friends at the latest rooftop bar, and fallen into bed at the end of the day without even bothering to pull down your blackout shades. It’s been fun—but you’re exhausted. Now that the days are getting shorter, it’s time to make sure you’re getting the most from your sleep routine. You don’t have to throw out your entire set of bedroom furniture in order to get a better night’s sleep—just pay attention to your five senses.
Take a moment to scan your bedroom. Does it look like a place to actually rest—or like an extension of your office? A messy bedroom isn’t just an aesthetic issue. A study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine actually found that sleeping in a cluttered bedroom may affect your decision-making the next day.
Scrutinize every corner and be honest with yourself: that laundry basket on the floor means “chore time.” Tuck it into your closet instead. The tangle of cords in the corner signals “procrastination.” Untangle ‘em once and for all. Those documents on your desk mean...you should move your desk out of your bedroom completely. Set aside an evening to minimize your room so that it has one purpose and one purpose only: deep, long, restorative sleep.
An hour before bedtime, start turning down your household’s volume. Is that talk show host rambling? Turn off the TV and grab a book. Is your phone pinging you every five seconds with another alert? Switch on Do Not Disturb mode. And be honest about which sounds really relax you—and which ones just seem like they should. (Is that slow classical piece really quieting your mind—or is it just stirring up memories of childhood piano lessons?)
You may want to consider adding certain sounds to your nighttime routine, but make sure the science is backing you up on this. Studies have shown that white noise machines can help you achieve quality sleep: in the Journal of Caring Sciences, researchers discovered that hospital patients slept better with a white noise in their room than without it, while a study in Frontiers in Neurology found that white noise sound helped insomniacs fall asleep faster and sleep better overall.
Rooms that smell like dirty laundry are a far cry from relaxing—but then again, aromatherapy only works if the scents work for you. Researchers say that lavender is soothing—but not if it reminds you of your annoying coworker’s hand lotion. Candles scented like baked goods sound great in theory, but not necessarily in practice (see #4). Instead of grabbing the first room spray marketed “bedtime,” find a scent that truly relaxes you, and keep it associated exclusively with your sleep routine. Not a scent person at all? Fling open the windows an hour before bedtime and drench your room in cool fall air.
Long summer nights were for staying up late and indulging, but this fall, it’s time to cut out the sugar, acid, alcohol, and caffeine before bedtime, otherwise you’ll be tossing and turning all night. You can, however, eat before bed—but turn to science to make sure you’re doing it right. According to Niket Sonpal, a New York City-based gastroenterologist and professor of clinical medicine at Touro College, gorging on a huge dinner before bed can lead to heart problems and weight gain, but eating a small, healthy meal can keep your blood sugar steady throughout the night, which can prevent you from waking up ravenous. He recommends ending the day with a handful of nuts, a small serving of lean protein, or—you guessed it—fruits and vegetables.
What’s next to your skin all day? A starched collar? A heavy jacket? Bedtime is a chance to change all that. First of all, make sure your sheets are clean—scientists recommend washing them once a week to prevent pollutants and allergens from building up. Next, swap out your light summer bedding for something seriously soothing, like our buttery Sateen Sheets made with TENCEL™ fibers. TENCEL™ absorbs moisture more efficiently than cotton, which means these sheets will help regulate your temperature overnight, keeping your skin cool and dry as you dream. And that’s not all—they feel like silk, but they’re far more durable, and their hydrophilic properties mean that there’s less available moisture forming on the surface of the sheets for bacteria to grow on. Their smooth, heavy texture is Air-Engineered™ to keep you cool and cozy at the same time, which is exactly what you need as the leaves change and the air grows crisper outside.