Sleep is inextricably related to the mind as much as it is to the body in complex ways. Simply put, a lack of sleep exacerbates the hard parts of life, and good sleep enhances the ability to stay present and cash in on higher cathartic payloads during all of life’s adventures,.
Good sleep is something that can be summoned with very little to no money, and the benefits are bountiful. Committing to doing what you can to get better sleep, in tandem with stuff like drinking the correct amount of water, establishes a strong, and often overlooked, foundation. Once this base level has been set, the mind will be more alert and able to pinpoint more subtle physical and mental needs. Not to mention, the transfer of this newfound energy can be directed at relationships, work, or hobbies that make you a truer, more realized version of yourself.
The Basics of Sleep
The most important remedy for bad sleep is controlling the environment of the bedroom. The universal necessities are darkness, and just the right temperature. Aside from that, there are other adjunct considerations depending on specific sleep-personalities.
The light that hits the eyelid sends a message to the brain telling it to start secreting cortisol into the bloodstream. This is what causes our minds to register that the morning has come and it's time to wake up. However, artificial light can affect sleep, and even just normal light from the rising sun can be properly handled with the affordable purchase of some straightforward blackout curtains. These are a Camel pick because of the low cost, abundant options, and high quality.
This is a small air conditioner that will not increase the electricity bill. If you tend to run cold and a bit more heat is needed, this wool blanket adds just the right amount of warmth on top of your comforter. Or try this small space heater. Do whatever it takes to get the temperature of the room into the Goldilocks zone.
Any sleep hack article will tell you that staying away from the little pocket computer that holds all the world’s troubles before bed is a must. Yet, many find the ability to stay off their phones a futile effort. One way to counter this issue is to get an alarm clock and charge your phone out of earshot and sight. However, some of us like to fall asleep to music, audiobooks, and podcasts. Luckily, we have found a perfect answer in this alarm clock. This is a Camel top choice because it has dimming options that will keep unwanted light out, a radio, which could be used to lure in sleep, and even Bluetooth capabilities. Imagine plugging your phone in far from your bed, putting on some relaxing music or an interesting podcast, setting a sleep timer, and piping it into the speaker on your nightstand.
Eye masks are a great tool to use to control the light signals that are subconsciously being sent to your brain while sleeping. The real trick is not to put it on when you first fall asleep, but in the early morning when you wake up to use the bathroom and get back in bed, hoping for a few more quality hours. Depending on your needs, try one of these suggested masks.
This eye mask gets points for contouring in a way that allows blinking. The design also attends to that pesky bit of light that often sneaks in around the nose. This Camel top pick is also great for sleeping on planes.
Also, try weighted and cooling options.
Some of us like to sleep with a white noise machine or a not-too-quiet fan. On the other hand, some of us like there to be utter and complete silence. Use the same method as the eye masks: put ear plugs in when you return from the bathroom early in the morning, when the world outside has begun to broadcast audio disturbances big and small.
A comedian once said something to the effect of, “If I don’t have the right pillow, I wake up feeling like I was hit by a train.” Getting the spine into a straight position is key for physical relaxation, which attracts the mental ease one needs to shepherd in the rejuvenating effects of sleep.
Finally, some people swear by weighted blankets. If you are one of those people, this is our pick for the most affordable weighted blanket that is still high quality.
Rituals to Replace Phone Time
Phones are designed to be additive so separating from them is not a matter of willpower or the lack of it. Rather, creating space from the phone before bed is good because it allows for a buffer from the good and bad stresses of the world, promoting more neural mental connections and enhancing problem-solving.
It can be very hard to put the phone down at night before bed. However, putting in place some sort of ritual, or set of rituals, is a solid way to feel more grounded and set up a mental environment conducive to sleep.
One advantageous activity that brings you away from the phone and sets you up for a lower-stress morning is simply writing down what the next day’s tasks will be. Try getting a nice new journal or writing pad along with a cool pen that you are excited to use. Make lists about what the next day will look like, or go old-fashioned and start journaling about your thoughts. Top Recommendation: Space-Themed Journal
Smudging might seem woo-woo to some, but the act of smudging a room acts as a mental reset. Habitual smudging a few times a week before bed will act as a Pavlovian signal to the mind that it is time to start getting ready to relax and settle in.
Ease Back into Reading
Reading in, or around the bed, gives us something to focus on rather than perpetual thoughts. It can be hard to get back into the habit of reading in general. That is why we suggest starting off with books and magazines that pique your interest. Even a habit of reading trashy novels can be the ticket to effortlessly conditioning the mind and body for sleep.
- Popular on Amazon
- US Weekly
- National Geographic
- Top Recommendation: High Country News
Arts and Crafts
They say that it is best to use a bed just for sleeping. However, there is something super cool about the idea of lying in bed, writing a letter, or making a small drawing and letting the mind wander where it wants.
- Small Drawing Kit
- Marker Kit
- Pad of Paper for letter writing that isn’t dated or academic. Imagine the delight of your friends near and far when you start sending them old-fashioned letters.
Knitting Supplies - Not only is knitting a great way to calm the mind, but knitted items make for killer presents. Get good sleep while saving money on gift-giving.
What’s Your Sleep Personality?
To try to understand how to accomplish good sleep, ask yourself what type of environment feels attractive to you. Get in the reflective mindset by thinking back to childhood sleeping habits and the feelings associated with them. Then do the same thing, working your way through high school and college to the present. Another way to figure out your sleep personality is to ask friends about some of their bedtime rituals that don’t involve the phone. Don’t get worried if the answer does not show up right away, or if you have to try out a few methods. The small amount of work you put in now will translate to ease and advancements in every part of your life.