It’s Time to Rest: Everything You Need to Know to Get Better Sleep Tonight

In 1998, the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) launched its inaugural Sleep Awareness Week in an effort to better educate the nation on the health benefits of quality rest. Now, 26 years in, the foundation is still moving the needle forward on ensuring we get our best Zzzs. Through March 16, 2024, and as part of this year’s campaign, NSF shares expert insight on how sleep directly affects our mental health, among other things. 

As one could assume, NSF found that when one can get rejuvenating, quality sleep, they are less likely to suffer from mental health issues like depression. The organization’s 2023 Sleep in America poll showed that nearly seven in 10 Americans are dissatisfied with their shut-eye. Additionally, the poll revealed that people with difficulties falling or staying asleep just two nights a week have higher levels of depressive symptoms than those without sleep difficulties. To further stress the direct connection between proper rest and our mental health, NSF will lead a congressional briefing on March 13, 2024, showing how the two work hand-in-hand.

“National Sleep Foundation continues to be a unique, evergreen resource for the public and any organization concerned about the connection between sleep and health,” Temitayo Oyegbile-Chidi, MD, PhD and Chair of the NSF Board of Directors said in a press release. “During Sleep Awareness Week, we are excited to release important results and the latest insights from our newest research with the public: these data continue to reveal opportunities to increase the importance of sleep health among the public.”

EBONY has rounded up the tips and tricks below to help you achieve proper repose during Sleep Awareness Week (and beyond). From better bedding to technology that promotes quality sleep and more, here’s how you can get some of your best slumber. 

Swap out your bedding

This sounds like an easy fix, but picking the right bedding for your sleep habits can be overwhelming. These days, there are all kinds of pillows, sheets, comforters and mattresses on the market promising you’ll get the best rest of your life. But, these things are also based on the individual napper.

A few things you’ll want to consider when it comes to your sheets: its thread count and the type of cotton fiber. In recent years, more natural fibers like bamboo and linen have become popular among social media influencers and consumers. They are said to be more breathable and thus prevent you from feeling too hot or too cold while you sleep. Our favorite linen sheets are Baloo Living Stonewashed Linen Sheets. As someone who typically sleeps on the hot side, the airy natural fibers allow me to stay cool throughout the night, even in the thick of our Southern summers.

As for mattresses, it is always recommended (if you can) to test out your choice before fully committing. You want to see how your body adapts over a few weeks or months. Luxury brands like Saatva offer 365-day trials to see how the materials function with you and your bed frame. 

Sleep on These Black-founded Brands: Nap Bar Houston or The Nap Ministry

Who said you could only “lay down” at home? Khaliah O. Guillory launched her brand, Nap Bar Houston, hoping to bring better sleep to folks outside their homes. It is said to be the first white-glove rest experience with artificial intelligence integration in Texas offering “communities and companies onsite and in-suite rest sanctuaries to help reduce sleep deprivation and increase productivity.” The company will soon expand into the Houston airport, too.

“Nap Bar’s ethos is to shift our approach to the relationship with rest and embrace it as a necessity, not a luxury,” Guillory tells EBONY. “We provide a safe haven and rest sanctuary to recharge our batteries whether at work, school, airports—anywhere sleepy humans are. This mindset is key because society has subscribed to a braggadocios culture of ‘team no sleep.’ Scientifically speaking, consistent naps and resting have been proven to extend lifespan, reduce the risk of diabetes and maintain weight.”

The Nap Ministry was founded by Tricia Hersey in 2016 as an act of resistance. She felt that naps presented a sort of liberation we should all be privy to. Nearly eight years later, Hersey is still actively doing the work to show us why it’s okay to simply get in a little snooze. From lectures around the country to providing her own tips and tricks to calm our mind and body, The Nap Ministry wants us to “go lay down.”

Don’t be afraid to mix in technology

This may sound a bit counterproductive, but you’d be surprised at the tools that are out there these days to help us reach our rem cycle quicker. There are now free (and paid) apps that provide various sleep sounds to help you fall asleep and stay asleep longer. Some of our favorites include Calm and White Noise. 

Additionally, if you have a smart home system like Google Home, you can curate a timed sleep routine through your app to play sounds and adjust the lighting for you automatically. 

Finally, the Hatch Restore has been highly recommended by some of our previous Plugged series talents, including Kayla Conti. 

“It’s been on the market for a while. I try not to keep too much technology in my room, but Hatch works very well if you’re like me and suffer from seasonal affective disorder. Not only is this an alarm, but it’s a daytime and nighttime simulator. It really helps restore and reset me every day. I’ve started to see a real difference in the last few months, especially with Daylight Savings,” she shared.

Of course, implementing healthy habits like powering down at a set time each night and placing your device in a separate room altogether can also aid in helping you achieve better sleep. 

The post It’s Time to Rest: Everything You Need to Know to Get Better Sleep Tonight appeared first on EBONY.

Updated: March 12, 2024 — 12:04 pm