For the past thirty years, I have followed a routine that allows me to fall asleep in minutes and stay asleep for 8+ hours - each and every night. I can fall asleep anywhere - in a plane, train, in an automobile. I can fall asleep in almost any lighting condition and noise, like a TV or wall air conditioner being on or loud conversation in another room, has little or no effect on my ability to fall asleep. Through the years, I have perfected my method, making minor adjustments (to my lifestyle) and it still amazes me that it works - every night! So, if you are interested in having the best night's sleep of your life - every night, read on. I'll start with the basics, but they need to be said. Then, I will share with you the two tricks (actually there are three of them) that will change your life forever.
Your bedroom is the most important room in your home. You should design, decorate and accessorize it so that every time you enter it, it brings a smile to your face.
The Bed - Mattress and Box Spring: Doesn't matter how beautiful the bedroom is, if you don't have the right mattress/box spring set, you will have a difficult time getting the sleep you deserve. Go to your favorite mattress store and lay on every mattress in the store. Turn, roll over, face to the left, face to the right, jump on it, hop on it, get on all fours, think of any and every position you might get into and make sure to try it out. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Ask yourself, is this the mattress for me? The mattress has got to fit you. Don't look at the price until you find the mattress that you absolutely love. And then, only then, if the price is out of your reach, determine which elements of the mattress are the most important to you. Is the bed soft, but not to soft Is it firm, but not to firm. (Mattress Firm)
The Pillows: Just as important as finding the right mattress, putting your head on the right pillow, will just make everything feel better. Go to your favorite store and touch, feel, grab, throw, punch smell every pillow they have in stock. It doesn't matter the pillow fill (unless you have specific allergies) when it comes to comfort. And what you like, others may not. So, pick the pillow that fits you and your body style. I like a pillow that I can hold onto and still put my head on it. I like a pillow that is more soft than firm, but not so soft that my head goes right through the pillow and I can feel the mattress. (Ikea)
The Sheets: The right sheets will make all the difference in the world. There's a lot of talk about thread count and where the cotton comes from and blah, blah blah. Feel the sheet. Put it against your cheek and imagine the feeling you'll have with your body on this sheet. Confirm the texture is right for you. There are many different styles to choose from. It comes down to what works best for you. I like a smooth, but not silky or sateen type of sheet. I like a sheet that fits (the bed) and wears and washes well and doesn't fade. I want the sheet to make me feel good when I lay down. Color selection is of course important, but that all depends on the overall look of your bedroom. (MACYS/Hotel Collection)
The Comforter/Blanket: This is a major design element that also has to be functional. Do you like a thick or thin blanket? Do you expect to use one for the winter/cooler months and a different one for the summer/warmer months? I like a blanket to be lightweight. I like the blanket to be oversized so I don't lose any coverage during the night. Hate to fight over the blanket. For design, you can place the blanket in a cover. This gives you the feel, coverage and look you want, all in one. For me, this is the key to putting the final touches on the design, the look of your bed. (Z Galleria)
The TV: I don't like the idea of having a TV in the room. I'm lucky enough to be able to fall asleep with the TV on, I just don't get it. I have asked my partner to wear headsets when watching TV in bed. She doesn't like wearing headsets. I just gave up asking her to turn the TV off. (Samsung) I'm also against having our phone or computer in the bedroom. Don't see the benefit or the reasoning behind having access to either.
The Temperature in the room: This is totally subjective. I like a cooler room, especially when I am sleeping. A cooler room is definitely healthier than a warm/hot room. I don't like to sweat when I sleep. So, it's a matter of choice. If you have trouble sleeping and the room is warm, try to lower the thermostat and go for the cooler room temp.
Sleeping Naked or not naked: For years, I slept naked. Then I went through a faze where I slept with boxers, then I added a t-shirt, then socks. I don't know if it's an age thing or not. And I really have no preference. Naked or not, doesn't impact my ability to fall and stay asleep. This one is totally up to you (and your partner).
The Ambience: Lighting is critical. Do you like a dark room or a room with some light? Curtains, window shades work fine. I like a dark room. I love candles, for their soft glow, but you gave to blow them out before you actually close your eyes and turn your own lights off. A lot of people have tried scented candles (and swear by them) to help them relax and fall asleep. If that works for you, great! (Pier One)
As stated above, I can fall asleep under most conditions. And everything I have presented so far is common sense. So, as promised, here are my tricks to a great night's sleep - every night!
Deep Breaths: Take deep breaths - deeply inhale and slowly exhale - counting each breath. Focus on your breathing, listen as you inhale and exhale, Tune everything out as you do so. If you follow this deep breathing exercise you should never get to twenty breaths.
Remembering a special event/time in your life: After your third exhale, think about a special event in your life that makes you happy. I think about something that happened to me thirty years ago. As you continue to take deep breaths (remembering to exhale...) playback the event in your head. Keep breathing and playing back your special event. Shut out every external noise that is in the room or around you. Focus on your breathing and the special event. You are setting yourself up to enter a relaxed state that will allow you to fall into a deep asleep. The ability to focus on your breathing and participating in your event will take some practice. But once you master the process, you will be amazed how you will start to fall asleep faster and remain asleep through the night - having the best night's sleep of your life - every night.
Bonus Trick (s): I don't know if this has helped or not. So, I'm not making any claims...but it does seem to work for me.
A Glass of Milk: I have a glass of milk before going to bed. As boring as that sounds, there's just something about a glass of milk (1%) before going to bed that relaxes me.
A Piece of Chocolate: OK, this one I had to share. With my glass of milk, I have a small piece of chocolate. Now, I'm not a doctor, but how bad could a glass of milk and a small piece of chocolate be? (Milk Chocolate from Belgium, Trader Joe.s)
Well, there you have it. My secret to having the best night's sleep of my life, every night. If you can master all of the above, tonight could be the best night 's sleep of your life!