You probably know that poor sleep habits hurt productivity during waking hours, yet Americans still have endless excuses for not prioritizing sleep. As a result, employees and leaders both end up taking more sick days throughout the year, and, in general, get less done at work when they’re in the office.
For some, poor sleep is merely a matter of too much screen time before bed. For others, it’s stress and anxiety that keeps them from falling asleep at night. But what if other culprits are impeding your sleep–and you’ve never even stopped to think about them? Let’s dive into some of the often ignored factors that contribute to sleeplessness, as well as some fixes that can help you get back into a solid sleep routine.
1. Your sleepwear
New research around sleep has found that sleepwear can affect the quality of sleep and sleep duration–mainly due to its impact on body temperature. Sleepwear brand Lunya is tapping into this knowledge and making a case for pajamas made with Celliant, a fabric blend regulated by the FDA as a health device–and suggests they’re the secret to a better, more restful night of sleep.
The secret is in the Celliant. Clothing made with this material absorbs and converts body heat into infrared energy that’s then recycled back into human tissue, helping rebuild and recharge muscles after physical activity. This leads to a more restful and refreshing night of rest.
2. Your bedding
When one group of researchers looked into the impact of bedding on sleep performance, they found that most individuals were sleeping on moderately priced bedding that was–on average–9.5 years old. When they introduced new bedding, they found that study participants improved their sleep quality and reduced their nighttime stressors, such as back discomfort.
What does this tell us? It might be time to replace your bedding. With modern brands like Coyuchi offering moderately priced options around bedding sets made from organic, temperature-regulating fabrics like Pima cotton, a good night’s sleep may be a change of sheets away.
3. Light leaks
Most of us know from experience that too much screen time before bed is bad news, as the blue light can impede sleep patterns. But new scientific research also shows that bedrooms or sleeping areas with light leaks can harm sleeping habits–as well as overall mental health. When researchers compared sleep study participants who slept in a dark room to those who slept in a room with light leaks, those in the latter category exhibited a significantly higher risk for depression.
The good news is, fixing light leaks is pretty simple. Wear a comfortable eye mask, add a set of blackout curtains to your bedroom windows, and/or turn the TV off before bed to get a more restful sleep (and maybe even improve your mental health).
If you live in a noisy urban environment or have a partner who snores, you know that sounds can have a significant impact on falling asleep (and staying asleep.) Data from researchers Ugras and Oztekin found that 57.6% of sleep study patients indicated that being in a noisy environment was a sleep-disrupting factor.
To overcome the noise that disrupts sleep, consider introducing smart devices like the Zeeq pillow, which silently vibrates when it detects snoring and can wirelessly play calming music that induces sleep for both you and your bedmate. In clinical trials, users of this device averaged 7.1 hours of sleep per night.
5. Your alarm clock
The drone of an alarm clock is probably one of the most resented sounds there is. It’s also a jarring way to wake up from a deep sleep because it puts your body systems on high alert first thing in the morning.
If you’re looking for a more peaceful (and non-startling) way to wake up in the morning, consider new devices that make waking up a little bit easier each day. Look into an on-body device with a vibrating alarm feature, like the Fitbit, a light-based alarm clock that mimics natural sunlight, or an aromatherapy-based alarm clock that wakes you with different soothing scents.
Stress and screen-time might be common culprits to a terrible night’s sleep–but reducing them doesn’t always lead to high-quality shut-eye. Experiment with making some of the changes above, and you might be able to make this year the one in which you finally start sleeping well.
Kaleigh Moore is a writer and consultant for companies in the SaaS industry.