Sleep Better Tips

From Men’s Fitness Editors


There’s no reason to wake up feeling wrecked. If you’re tossing and turning yourself into a daytime zombie, following these dos and don’ts will make your bedroom into a more restful space—and get you the sleep your body needs.


Check out the surprising things that could be making you toss and turn—and how to fix them.


Do: Go Mattress Shopping

“Invest in a hypoallergenic mattress,” says Kristina Held, principal at Grün-Sustainable Architecture and assistant professor at the Art Institute of Charlotte. “They’re covered with material that lets air in, but won’t allow microscopic animal hair or dandruff to get through.” Another thing to keep in mind: If your girlfriend’s restless sleep keeps you up, make sure you buy a mattress that’s both big and stable, so that her movements don’t disrupt your side of the bed, says Philip Gehrman, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and a specialist in sleep medicine.


Don’t: Let Pets in Bed

“Avoid sleeping with your pet,” says Held. “It’s dangerous, and the hair can make you sick and accumulate in your lungs. And be sure to wash your bedding every two weeks.”


Do: Charge Your Phone in the Living Room

Having too many tech toys in the bedroom makes your mind associate the room with productivity, not relaxation. “You want your brain to know that when you’re in bed, that’s a place for sleep and sleep only,” says Gehrman. If nothing else, put that bad boy on silent mode. Whatever e-mails you get can wait until dawn.


Don’t: Put a TV in the Bedroom

“When you go to your bedroom, you want to relax and be at peace,” says Held. “Watching TV could bring on a night of restless sleep.”


Do: Pick Striped Wallpaper

“[If you use wallpaper], choose a pattern that incorporates horizontal lines, which tend to settle you and make you calmer,” says Held.


Don’t: Paint Your Room Red

“Don’t paint your room red, as it can make you uncomfortable and even aggressive,” says Held. “Stark contrast is also not good for a bedroom.”


Do: Layer Your Lights

“It’s good to have one overall light so you can see, then some accent lights that are task oriented, like a reading lamp,” says Held.


Don’t: Let Her Control the Temp

You think it’s too hot, and your girlfriend’s always too cold. Since she’ll probably sleep with an extra blanket no matter what the room temperature, lower the thermostat to just about your ideal temp, says Gehrman. “It’s harder to cool off.” Another option: Invest in a dual-weight comforter, which has heavier down in one side than the other.


Do: Use a Humidifier

“Keep an air purifier or humidifier in your room,” says Held. “There are machines that do both, and sometimes they make white noise, which experts say is good because it covers sounds that could threaten your sleep.”



Don’t: Make a Mess

“Keep clutter out of the bedroom,” says Held. If you can organize your stuff, you’ll get some stress relief from it.”



Do: Spoon Her

You don’t have to sacrifice sleep because your girl needs to cuddle. Lie in the classic spoon position to give her the contact she needs and you the sleep you crave. There might be even more benefits. “If you’re sleeping on a good-quality mattress and pillow, the position has actually been shown to help lower stress levels while boosting intimacy,” says Jodi Fidler, a chiropractor and sleep expert at Davis Chiropractic in Minneapolis.


Don’t: Go Digital

Staring all night at the glowing digital display while you’re trying to fall asleep can jack up your stress levels and keep you up. So trade your digital clock for an old-fashioned one with hands. That way, when the lights go out, you can’t tell what time it is. Unless of course, you’re crawling into bed at the crack of dawn. In which case, you’re pretty much screwed anyway—at least when it comes to sleep.



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