5 Ways to Prioritize Sleep in 2022
In 2021, we faced continued challenges from the pandemic that affected every facet of our lives—including, notably, our sleep.
With all we’ve endured in the last 12 months, it's no surprise our sleep has fallen victim to the accumulated stress. In fact, in a survey we conducted in 2021, 37% of people said replaying the day’s events kept them awake at night, while 41% blamed their anxiety about the future for their poor sleep.
And as we've reported previously, lack of sleep just causes more anxiety, leading to a vicious cycle where your stress causes you to be unable to sleep, and your inability to sleep causes more stress.
How to prioritize sleep in 2022
As the new year gets into full swing, it's a great time to reassess your habits and put a renewed focus on getting a good night’s sleep so you can start 2022 off on a well-rested note.
Here's how to calm the stress caused by everything happening in the world—and snooze more soundly this year.
1. Eliminate screen time before bed
It's a good idea to power down your phone an hour or two before bed—no matter how much you want to do one last scroll of the news or check in on your social media accounts.
Of course, breaking this habit is easier said than done, but it's possible. The National Sleep Foundation offers two helpful tips for making your bedroom technology-free: creating a designated space for electronics and setting consistent “screen off” times.
By placing your mobile devices in a space away from where you sleep, you won't be tempted to use them—and by setting a time to turn off your electronics, you get used to not using your screens before bed. This helps promote a regular sleep schedule. (If you don't know what to do when the screens turn off, you can opt to read a book instead!)
2. Journal before bed
Writing your thoughts down on paper can drastically improve the quality of your sleep.
According to Michael Breus, PhD, clinical psychologist, diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine, and fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, sleep journaling—the act of recording your thoughts and feelings a few hours before you fall asleep each night—can help you sleep better and faster.
“Writing your thoughts in a journal can be a very effective way of processing your feelings," he writes on his blog. "Not only that, but journaling can help you recognize unproductive or negative thoughts and behaviors, and can help you respond to these behaviors in a more constructive way."
When you're able to handle stress positively, it's much easier to catch Z's. Write down your frustrations and worries from the day, things that make you happy, or even a to-do list to prep you for the next day. That way, your mind isn’t cluttered with all these thoughts when you hit the hay.
3. Make a bedtime routine
We’ve said this before, but we’re going to say it again: Build a routine and stick to it! A bedtime routine is crucial for teaching your body when to sleep and when it should wake up—and the best part about the process is that it’s all up to you.
When it comes to putting together a routine, you have many options. You can brush your teeth, run a warm bath, read for 20 minutes, or drink some tea. Just remember: Building a routine shouldn’t be tedious—and as long as you incorporate activities that help you wind down, it should be something you look forward to every night.
Once you've built your routine, it's important to stay consistent—both with the activities you do and the time you do them.
“Each part of your routine should be done around the same time so your body is on a rhythm that will encourage sleep,” says Scott Drapeau, licensed massage therapist who specializes in treatment and athletic massage.
Simply moving your body (even for as little as 20 minutes a day) can do wonders for your overall health and improve the quality of your sleep.
Studies show exercise can alleviate sleep-related problems and help you get an adequate amount of rest by reducing the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep once you turn the lights out.
5. Create your ideal sleep environment
Your sleep space has a huge impact when it comes to getting good shuteye. Consider your light, your room temperature, the noise around you, and the clutter in your bedroom— it only takes one of these to keep you up all night.
Check out these three tips to create your ideal sleep environment:
- Cut the lights out. Light can prevent you from falling asleep because it tricks your body into thinking it is daytime. Opt for blackout curtains or a sleep mask so you don’t peep a single light in your bedroom.
- Keep it cool. Lower your thermostat to somewhere between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit, the ideal temperature range for optimal sleep. You can also use cooling sheets to prevent waking up with night sweats. Here are the best sheets to keep you cool.
- Keep it tidy. It’s hard falling asleep on a bed you share with unfolded laundry, textbooks you were supposed to study with, and a bunch of decorative bedding. So, remove any items that aren’t sleep-related from your bed and bedside table. That way you have space to move and stretch. It’ll also mentally make you feel better knowing your space is de-cluttered, which, in turn, will make it easier to fall asleep.
Get better sleep with Saatva in 2022
The right mattress can also go a long way toward encouraging better sleep. If it's been a minute since you've replaced your mattress, consider getting a new one this year.
Saatva offers a variety of high-quality mattresses and bedding tailored to your sleep needs so you can get better shuteye. Plus, all of our mattresses come with a 180-night home trial so you can try one out before deciding if it's right for you.
Take our online mattress quiz to find out which of our mattresses is your perfect match.