Best Way to Sleep: Tips for Optimal Sleeping Positions and Habits

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Sleep is crucial to your well-being, both physical and mental. However, you may find that poor sleep is impacting your life. You can do several things to stop this challenging feat of finding the best way to sleep.

These include finding the proper sleep position, selecting the right mattress and pillow, and improving sleep hygiene. Here’s how to fall asleep easier, stay asleep, and awake feeling rested with these tips on the best way to sleep:

 Sleep Positions

Sleeping Positions

Sleep position is not so important for younger people, according to Rachel Salas, an M.D. who explained to Johns Hopkins Medicine that as we get older, our chosen position can have a positive or negative effect on getting better sleep.

Therefore, the best way to sleep will depend on whether you have back pain, snoring, apnea, reflux, or are worried about wrinkles. Here are the positions Sales recommends according to your problem:

Alleviating back and neck pain – For neck or back pain, some people find sleeping on their back easier, while others find that sleeping on their side helps. The doctor recommends experimenting with a position and using a pillow to help you find the best relief.

Snoring and sleep apnea relief –  Sleeping on your back worsens obstructive sleep apnea, causing the airway to collapse as you sleep and resulting in breathing pauses. Sleep apnea often causes snoring. Salas says sleeping on your side or stomach can help the airways stay open, reducing snoring and alleviating mild apnea.

Relieve reflux and heartburn – Your sleeping position often affects reflux and heartburn, including in pregnant women. Salas warns that sleeping on the right side frequently worsens the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and heartburn. Sleeping on your left side is the best way to find relief.

Wrinkles and appearance –  When sleeping on your side or stomach, you will likely wake up with skin creases. With time, these creases drastically cause changes to the skin’s appearance. The best way to sleep to avoid wrinkles is on your back.

Pillow Selection

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Choosing the best pillow for sleep depends on several factors, including your sleeping position, personal preferences, and any specific health considerations. Here’s a guide to help you make the proper pillow selection for the best way to sleep:

Consider Your Sleeping Position

Back Sleepers – You need a pillow that supports the natural curvature of your neck and head without pushing your head too far forward. Medium-thickness pillows usually work well.

Side Sleepers – Choose a firmer pillow with enough height to fill the space between your ear and shoulder to keep your spine aligned.

Stomach Sleepers – A soft, thin pillow or no pillow works best to prevent strain on your neck.

Material Matters

  • Memory foam has contouring support and molds to the shape of your head and neck. It’s excellent for relieving pressure points.
  • Latex has similar features to memory foam but is more responsive and has better bounce.
  • Down or feather pillows are soft and moldable, providing a luxurious feel. However, they may not offer enough support for some.
  • Polyester or hollow-fiber pillows are budget-friendly and usually hypoallergenic but may lose shape over time.
  • Buckwheat or millet are natural options that you can buy for your preferred levels of loft and firmness.

If you have allergies, opt for hypoallergenic materials like memory foam, latex, or hollow fiber. The easier it Is to wash a pillow, the less likely it will collect allergens like dust.

People with chronic back or neck pain should consult their health professional for a pillow recommendation. You may also have personal preferences, like a cooling pillow with breathable fabrics or gel-infused memory foam. A cervical pillow will promote better alignment for extra neck support.

Pillow prices vary widely. Determine your budget beforehand, but remember that a good pillow can significantly impact your sleep quality and overall health.

Creating a Sleep Routine


A sleep routine can help you get better nightly sleep. A sleep routine entails a group of activities done before bed each night. Here’s how to create a sleep routine:

  • Create a healthy sleep environment by keeping your bedroom clean, comfortable, and relaxing.
  • Make your room dark, cool, and insulated from noise.
  • Add white noise from a fan, humidifier, or noise machine if your room is too quiet or noisy.
  • Turn off or put away anything, such as your TV, laptop, or smartphone, which will affect your sleep. Remove them from your bedroom because these devices disrupt melatonin levels.
  • Make your bedroom into a sleeping-only area. It’s best to turn these off at least two hours before bedtime.
  • Create and maintain a consistent sleep schedule. That means creating a sleeping and waking routine that you keep every day of the week, including the weekend. Stick to your light turnoff time every night.
  • Make a bedtime routine that works for you. It could entail a warm shower, wearing PJs, brushing your teeth, 10 minutes of meditation, reflection, or breathing exercises.
  • Avoid afternoon naps if they affect your bedtime routine. These calming activities soothe you, paving the way for better sleep.
  • Encourage the rest of the family to follow a regular sleep schedule, making it easier on you.
  • Even though most people find reading disruptive before bedtime, others find it relaxing. It’s best to read a printed copy instead of an electronic device.
  • Reduce caffeine, alcohol, over-the-counter medication, and a heavy meal before bedtime because they make it more difficult to fall asleep.
  • Avoid physical activity right before bed because it energizes the body, making sleeping more difficult. But, be physically active earlier in the day to help you sleep better.

Bedroom Environment

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Creating a bedroom environment for sleep involves optimizing comfort, darkness, noise levels, and temperature. Here are some tips for creating a space for the best way to sleep:

Comfortable Mattress and Bedding

  1. Invest in a comfortable mattress with adequate support for your body and sleeping position.
  2. Choose bedding made from cotton or bamboo. These natural materials help regulate temperature and promote airflow.

Optimal Room Temperature

  1. Aim for a cool but not cold bedroom temperature, ideally between 60-67°F (15 and 19°C).
  2. Keep your bedroom temperature comfortable with a fan or air conditioning if necessary.

Light Control

  1. Keep your dark as possible with blackout curtains or blinds to keep external light out.
  2. Turn off screens at least an hour before bedtime to minimize artificial light from electronics. If you can’t eliminate all sources of light, use a sleep mask.

Noise Reduction

  1. Minimize noise disruptions by soundproofing. Eearplugs, white noise machines, or soothing background sounds like natural sounds or calming music will help if you can’t soundproof.


  1. A tidy and clutter-free bedroom provides a calming atmosphere.
  2. Pack personal items out of sight and make the environment serene.

Create a Relaxing Atmosphere

  1. Use calming colors like soft blues, greens, or neutrals on your walls and bedding.
  2. Incorporate soothing elements such as aromatherapy with essential oils like lavender.
  3. Personalize your space to bring joy, tranquility, and comfort, such as photographs, artwork, or plants.

Foods for Better Sleep

Certain foods promote better sleep by encouraging melatonin production (the sleep-inducing hormone). Here are some foods that may help improve sleep quality:

Tryptophan-Rich Foods – Tryptophan, an amino acid, aids serotonin production, which converts to melatonin, the sleep-wake cycle regulating hormone. It’s found in turkey, chicken, eggs, nuts, pumpkin and sesame seeds, tofu, and dairy products.

Complex Carbohydrates – Complex carbohydrates can help increase the availability of tryptophan. Choose whole grains like oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, barley, and whole wheat bread.

Fruits and Vegetables – Some fruits and vegetables hold nutrients that support sleep, such as magnesium and potassium. Bananas are rich in both, helping relax muscles and nerves. Other fruits and vegetables high in these minerals include avocados, spinach, kale, kiwi, and sweet potatoes.

Herbal Teas – Many herbal teas have calming properties, encouraging relaxation and better sleep. These include chamomile, valerian root, and passionflower.

Fatty Fish – Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, trout, and sardines have omega-3 fatty acids that improve sleep quality.

Magnesium-Rich Foods – This mineral promotes muscle relaxation and the regulation of neurotransmitters involved in sleep. It’s available in leafy green vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and dark chocolate are all rich sources.

Melatonin-Boosting Foods – Some foods naturally contain melatonin or substances that support its production in the body. Tart cherry juice increases melatonin levels and improves sleep duration and quality. Other melatonin-rich foods include grapes, tomatoes, and pomegranates.

Opt for light, nutritious snacks if you feel hungry before bed. Avoid heavy, high-fat foods that may cause discomfort or indigestion. You can eat a few nuts, spread some nut nutter on a banana, or a yogurt mixed with berries and a tablespoon of granola.

Read more about eating the right foods from the Sleep Foundation since diet can create the best way to sleep.

Exercise and Sleep

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Regular exercise has a substantial impact on the quality of your sleep. Especially during the day, exercise helps regulate your body’s internal clock and promotes deeper, more restorative sleep at night.

Exercise reduces stress and anxiety levels, allowing your mind to unwind more quickly when it’s time to sleep. Additionally, it tires out your body, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.

However, it’s essential to time your workouts appropriately. Avoid forceful exercise too close to bedtime, as it may interfere with your ability to relax and fall asleep.

Technology and Sleep

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Technology can be helpful or harm sleep.

While smartphones, tablets, and computers offer convenience and entertainment, excessive screen time, especially before bedtime, can disrupt sleep because blue light interferes with melatonin production, making it difficult to sleep and reducing sleep quality. Additionally, the constant accessibility of digital devices can lead to increased stress and cognitive arousal, further hindering relaxation and sleep.

However, technology also offers solutions for improving sleep, such as sleep-tracking devices, white noise machines, and relaxation apps. To lessen the negative impact of electronics on sleep, establish boundaries and create a technology-free wind-down routine before bedtime, letting your mind relax and prepare for a good night’s rest.

Natural Sleep Aids


Natural sleep aids can help promote relaxation and sleep without the side effects of some prescribed sleep medications. Natural sleep aids include:

Melatonin – The hormone the body produces that regulates the sleep-wake cycle is available in supplements to help you reset your internal clock and improve sleep quality, especially if you have jet lag or irregular sleep schedules.

Valerian Root – This herb has sedative properties and has been used for centuries to treat insomnia and promote relaxation. You can take valerian root supplements or drink it as tea.

Chamomile – Chamomile is a natural remedy for insomnia and anxiety thanks to the herb’s compounds that promote relaxation and calm. Drink this popular herb as a tea.

Lavender – The scent of lavender has calming and relaxing effects, making it a popular aromatherapy remedy for promoting sleep. Use lavender essential oil as a pillow spray, in a diffuser, or add a few drops to a warm bath before bedtime.

Magnesium –  This mineral is known for helping with muscle relaxation and regulating neurotransmitters needed for better sleep. Use a magnesium supplement or eat foods like leafy green vegetables, seeds, and nuts for their magnesium content to help improve sleep quality.

Passionflower – An herb traditionally used to treat anxiety and insomnia, passionflower may help promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. Take it as a supplement or brewed into a tea.

L-theanine – Found in green tea, L-theanine is an amino acid known to help with relaxation and reduce stress and anxiety. L-theanine supplements or drinking green tea before bedtime may help improve sleep quality.

Consult with your doctor before taking supplements if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications. Additionally, to get better sleep, you need a holistic approach. Therefore, incorporate relaxation techniques, maintain a sleep schedule, and create a comfortable sleep environment, allowing you to find the best way to sleep c

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