Jan 9, 2023 - Things to Do

Our readers' best sleep tips

Illustration of a sleeping emojis, but the zzz's are replaced with question marks.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Dear readers, thank you for sharing sleep secrets. A bunch of you really know how to get some solid ZZZ time.

Driving the news: About half of the readers who responded to our recent survey sleep the recommended seven hours or more each night.

Yes, but: Not everyone is so well rested. About 40% of respondents sleep six to seven hours per night, and one in 10 reported sleeping five hours or less.

  • Several parents mentioned struggling to get enough sleep, even as children have gotten older. One parent said they'd pay for more sleep.
  • One high schooler said, "I hardly know a single classmate who sleeps more than five hours a night."

Here's some sleep advice y'all shared:

  • "During the week, I keep notecards on my nightstand to write down everything I need to do the next day. That way, I can release my to-do list from my mind and focus on sleeping."
  • "Don't think about any real-life issues when you go to bed. Focus on relaxing and what you might like to dream about."
  • "I keep my phone across the room so I can't pick it up at night. I also will meditate or reflect on my day in the dark for sixish minutes before getting in bed."
  • "I used to have horrible sleep, then I changed my mattress, and it helped fix the issue. We often forget how our mattress can affect our sleep. My tip is to invest in a quality mattress designed for your sleeping preferences."
  • "I actually use earplugs (because I am a light sleeper); do a quick, simple stretch before bed; read five minutes before bed; no electronics at least 30 minutes before bed — more if possible."
  • "I used to lay awake for hours mulling over thoughts in my head. I have since started a habit of putting a PBS documentary, audiobook of a classic novel or spoken Scripture on a 15-minute timer on my smartphone at bedtime, and this distraction helps me turn off my own thoughts and fall asleep for at least a couple hours."

Go deeper: A reader who's a psychologist recommends cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, which teaches skills that will help people with insomnia.


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