Senses Working Overtime: How Your Senses May Impact Your Sleep

Written by | Wellness

Sleep is often thought of as a time when most of the body shuts down and our senses get to take a break. But sense can play a big role in how you fall—and stay—asleep. If you’re struggling to catch Z’s but can’t pinpoint the potential reasons behind the problem, here’s a look at how you can attune your senses for a better slumber.  

Sound

A quiet environment is ideal for good sleep, but some noises can’t be escaped. While some can be lulled to sleep by a snoring partner, others may be driven into insomnia by the sound. If your bedside beau is rumbling you awake throughout the night, a snore-prevention mouthpiece may do the trick.

Accessories—such as those made by SleepRx and ZQuiet—can be for those whose snoring problem doesn’t quite yet warrant a trip to a sleep apnea specialist. While each device varies, they generally are worn like a mouthguard, but instead, gently shift the jaw to keep airways open and minimize your partner’s snoring. And if you’re a snorer, working this tool into your sleep routine may help you breathe easier—and rest better—throughout the night.

Scent

Aromatherapy may not be able to cure all the ills in our lives, but it can work wonders in influencing our sleepiness. If you tend to get tense before bedtime, consider spritzing your bed with lavender to help relax the nerves and encourage restfulness. Keeping a chamomile or clary sage diffuser on your nightstand can also promote tiredness.

If you’re a deep sleeper who has trouble waking up, scent can also be a good tool to pop those eyes open. Fragrances with citrus notes—such as Versace Eros Cologne for Men or Chanel’s Cristalle Eu Verte—are known to help boost alertness and focus for more energized mornings. 

Sight

In the 21st century, the golden rule of good sleep is keeping screens out of the bedroom. But even if you put away your phone and turn the TV off, light can still be creeping into your sleep environment.

For example, you may have electronics in your room whose tiny (yet powerful) LED lights are brightening the space. If this is the case, consider covering the lights with electrical tape to keep things dark. Or if premature sunlight—without or without daylight’s saving time—is pushing you out of bed, it can help to cover your windows with blackout curtains.

Modern sleep masks also offer a foolproof solution. Popular products—such as the Manta Sleep Mask or Casper Snoozewear—block out light, and sometimes, noise. While older mask designs can be cumbersome, these adjustable, breathable, and expertly-padded solutions help keep pressure off the face for more seamless slumber.

Touch

Keeping your bedroom thermostat around 65 degrees Fahrenheit can help reduce your core temperature to a spot that promotes sleep. But it’s important to remember that many other factors influence the heat you feel at night.

If you’re waking up in a sweat, it might be time to put away that hefty comforter and opt for a thin quilt or throw. In the summer, it can also help to switch to silky-smooth lyocell sheets that keep your sleep space cool and breathable.

Taste

Do you brush your teeth before bed with the same toothpaste as you use in the morning? In some cases, this behavior could have a small impact on how you feel when you get under the covers. The minty flavor found in many toothpaste and mouthwash products can give our mouths a fresh feeling, but also stimulate our senses so that we feel more alert.

If you want to fight cavities without disrupting your dream time, introduce a new nighttime toothpaste into your routine. Flavorless fluoridated products vetted by the ADA—such as Sensodyne ProNamel—can achieve the same effective clean without introducing invigorating flavors. Or, if you prefer some flavor, the cinnamon taste of Tom’s of Maine Whole Care Natural Toothpaste could be a soothing alternative.

Although small adjustments can ease the senses for a better bedtime, these factors only play a part in sleep health. If you’re noticing that you’re regularly restless or feeling fatigued throughout the day, talk to a medical provider about possible underlying conditions that may be contributing to poor sleep. In many cases, doctors can prescribe advanced treatments to help you get more restful sleep, and in turn, boost your overall health and wellness.

Last modified: March 28, 2022