For some people, a brand-new mattress is the only ticket to dreamland. But it’s not the only way to get quality shut-eye. According to chiropractor Kevin Lees, DC, manager of auditing and quality for The Joint Chiropractic, you can help yourself to a better night’s sleep by rethinking what else is in your bed, too.
“Many times, when you have a restless sleep or find yourself tossing and turning, it can be caused by a build-up of pressure or stress on your joints and spine,” he says. “When you lay in your favorite sleeping position, your whole body should be supported.”
Sure, a mattress helps. But something as simple as a mattress topper can also help support the natural arches of your back, and a quality pillow can support your neck and help hold your head in line with your spine. By keeping your body better-aligned, you’ll wake up more well-rested—and you won’t have to deal with back or neck pain from one too many nights in a bed that doesn’t properly support your body. Here are five easy ways to sleep better, no new mattress needed.
Easy ways to get better sleep (without replacing your mattress)
1. Get a mattress topper
Instead of splurging on a mattress, get a quality mattress topper. “A mattress topper can offer both increased support for an older mattress that has started to sag, and provide extra give for a mattress that is too firm and causes pressure points,” says Lees. “Mattress toppers can also increase breathability, making the mattress feel cooler while you sleep.”
Shop now: Tempur-Topper Supreme, $239
2. Wash your sheets
Because allergens can affect your sleep, cleaning your sheets regularly is a must. “Try covering your pillow during the day to stop particulates from the air from settling on your pillow,” Dr. Lees says. “Also, wash your sheets and pillowcases regularly.”
Shop now: Jungalow Into You Sheet Set by Justina Blakeney, $79
3. Support your sleeping position
You can still sleep in your favorite position as long as you give your body proper support. “This may mean adding pillows or bolsters to support different areas of your body,” Dr. Lees says. “If you’re a side sleeper, using a body pillow—or a regular pillow between your knees—may help keep your pelvis in line. A back sleeper might try using a bolster under their knees to reduce accentuating their lower back curve.”
4. Choose a better pillow
You don’t need to stick to a standard pillow. Instead, you can get something specific to how you sleep. “Like people, pillows come in all shapes and sizes,” says Dr. Lees. “Generally, a back sleeper might prefer a thicker pillow, or a cervical pillow that’s curved to support your neck. A pillow that’s too thick may push your head forward. Side sleepers may prefer a slightly thicker pillow—one that conforms to the curves of your head and neck while keeping your spine straight.”
Shop now: EPABO Contour Memory Foam Pillow Orthopedic Sleeping Pillows, $43
5. Improve your bedroom
Your bedroom environment can play a role in how well you’re sleeping, too. “The room you sleep in may affect your sleep,” says Dr. Lees. “Turn the temperature down. As we age, the comfortable range of temperatures to sleep decreases. Also get rid of excess light. Close your blinds and reduce electronic light, such as phone chargers, blue digital clocks, and computers.”
Shop now: NICETOWN Blackout Curtain Panels, $30
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