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How to Sleep Better: 5 Expert Tips

Ever heard the phrase “sleep is the best medicine”? There are many benefits to getting consistent, quality sleep but it can be tricky to know how to achieve it. Like many of us, you might be looking for tips about how to sleep better and feel more energized throughout the day. To help you find your optimal sleep health we asked Dr. Meredith Broderick, a Neurologist, Triple-Board Certified Sleep Expert and Clinician, to share five of her expert sleep tips guaranteed to improve your sleep.

A smiling brunette woman wearing a floral turtleneck top and white lab coat.
Dr. Meredith Broderick of Sound Sleep Guru

Sleep Tip #1 Educate Yourself

While on your journey of figuring out how to sleep better, Dr. Broderick emphasizes the power of educating yourself. If you’re reading this, you’re already on the right path! She says, “I have found that knowledge can really help motivate you to make changes.” Start by creating time to, “research sleep science and figure out what works for you.” 

“Even in my personal experience in medical school there wasn’t a ton taught on the subject, I only had one lecture on sleep. So if you’re only going to your Primary Care Physician keep in mind that they might not know much about sleep. I have some great resources on my website, and some of my favorite book recommendations are ‘How to Sleep’ by Rafael Pelayo and ‘The Promise of Sleep’ by William Dement. Education can really empower you and help you understand why you might need to make a change.”

Soma<sup class=st-superscript>®</sup> women's model wearing a white and blue butterfly print robe while sitting on a bed.

Sleep Tip #2 Make Sleep a Priority

Broderick’s second sleeping tip comes with a helpful exercise. “I suggest making a list of reasons as to why sleep is important to you and the ways you’re going to change your habits. Whether it’s your health, to be in a better mood, or a medical issue, it’s important to identify your ‘why’,” Broderick says.

Curious how to put this sleep tip into play? She says that “one of the most accessible tools that people can use is a sleep diary. You can find a copy on the National Sleep Foundation’s website. A lot of times when people keep a diary for a week, they find what they think is happening is much different than what is really happening. In the diary you should track how long you slept, if you used a sleeping aid, what time you got into bed, if you woke up in the middle of the night and for how long, etc. These data points help to understand how close to normal your sleep is and how you can adjust it to make it more normal. Setting your intentions will help you stick to your goals and a diary will keep you accountable.”

Soma<sup class=st-superscript>®</sup> women’s model laying on a bed, wearing a navy bra and navy panties.

Sleep Tip #3 Establish a Bedtime Ritual

When creating a sleep schedule, be sure to leave room for a bedtime ritual. Broderick suggests “a wind-down period before being able to fully shut-off.” For those with children, “it’s really evident how much a bedtime routine helps cue their body for sleep. Think about when you smell your favorite food, it triggers a response from your body. A bedtime ritual does the same thing.”

This can include, “putting on your favorite Cool Nights® pajamas, or taking a bath.” Once you’ve identified how to sleep better and what specifically works for you, she suggests that you try and recreate it, “at the same time each night. It helps let the body know that it’s time for sleep and that can be just as important for adults as it is for kids. You also need to pay attention to your bedtime environment including the amount of light in your room, the sounds, etc.”

Sleep Tip #4 Limit Alcohol and Caffeine

This next sleeping tip may require you to adjust your habits, but it’ll be worth the restful shut-eye. When asked what the most common thing that inhibits sleep, here is what Broderick shared: “I would definitely say drinking too much caffeine and alcohol before bed. Caffeine inhibits one of the neurotransmitters that helps produce deep sleep and we have become very desensitized to the effects of caffeine.”

Did you start drinking coffee in your early 20’s? She says that “if you still drink the same amount or even more now—your body can’t metabolize it as fast. It gets slower and slower over the years and becomes a common cause of people not having the quality of sleep they could get.” 

Then the vicious cycle begins “where people don’t sleep well so they feel tired and they add more caffeine but it loses its stimulant effect after a while because you become tolerant. And with alcohol, it steals REM sleep (REM sleep is one of our 2 stages of deep sleep) so it really messes up your sleep quality. It also causes a fight or flight response, so you might notice that you wake up in the middle of the night more when you’ve had an extra drink or two.”

A brunette woman wearing floral pajamas while reading a book and lounging on a couch.
@sleepdoctormer in her Cool Nights® Pajamas

Sleep Tip #5 Pay Attention To How You Respond To Sleep Problems

When thinking about how to sleep better, you might decide that the best thing is to go to bed at an earlier time. Sound familiar? Broderick says that it’s the number one statement she hears from patients. 

Broderick emphasizes how that can have the opposite intended effect: “It can be especially counter-productive if you have issues falling asleep or suffer from insomnia. Because if you look at the alerting signal that comes from our brains, we are actually very alert right before the time we normally go to sleep. So sometimes you set yourself up for failure if you go to bed much earlier out of alignment with your circadian rhythm. Then you’ll become even more frustrated when you don’t fall asleep but are exhausted.”

Instead, she offers: “If possible, it’s better to try and take a nap in the afternoon and then go to bed at your usual time.”

“Body temperature can also affect sleep. Many women report a sensation of overheating while they sleep and the reason is that there is increased blood flow to the skin surface starting about two hours before sleep onset and until early morning hours. After the sun goes down our body temperature starts to decrease. The way that our bodies lower our core temperatures is by sending blood flow to our extremities (arms and legs).  It might feel like we are hot but our body is actually trying to get rid of heat so that our core body temperature goes down. Therefore wearing a loose fitting fabric like from Soma®’s Cool Nights® collection actually helps to facilitate that heat release so that you feel cooler and sleep deeper.”

Soma<sup class=st-superscript>®</sup> women’s model sitting on a couch, wearing navy moon and star printed pajamas, covered in a white blanket.

How To Sleep Better with Proper Pajamas

When it comes to sleeping aids, most people think about sound machines, melatonin, or chamomile tea. While those are great options, another easy switch would be to find the best pajamas for your sleep needs. Beyond that, choosing the right underwear—if you prefer to wear panties to bed—can play an important role in a great night’s sleep.

Can Comfortable Pajamas Help Me Sleep?

Soma<sup class=st-superscript>®</sup> women’s blue bra, panties, sleep cami and white and blue abstract printed pajamas hanging on a rack.
Comfy sleepwear and underwear are key components to great sleep.

Picking out your pajamas is a normal part of anyone’s bedtime routine, but choosing pajamas that aid in sleep is key. As Dr. Broderick mentioned, our bodies are looking for ways to release heat throughout the night. If the fabric of your sleepwear isn’t breathable, you’ll likely experience night sweats—especially on warm, humid nights. To help combat this, opt for PJ’s from our best-selling Cool Night® collection that has helped millions of women get a good night sleep. Our patented fabric is made with lightweight fibers that stay cool to the touch and keep the clothing from sticking to your body.

P.S. A comfy eye mask is another helpful aid for getting restful shut-eye (and a great addition to a dream pajama wardrobe). Simply slip it on to block out the light resulting in less disturbed sleep.

Can Underwear Affect Your Sleep?

Soma<sup class=st-superscript>®</sup> women's laydown of cotton modal bikini style panties.

In addition to finding the best pajamas, it’s just as important to be choosy about your underwear for optimal sleep. Similarly, you’ll want to go for panties that are made with breathable materials like our cotton panties.  

Now that you have a better idea about how to sleep better, you can start taking action. To shop our pajamas, sleep accessories, panties and more head to For more sleep tips and tricks follow Dr. Broderick on Instagram or check out her website.

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