I hate going to bed. I’ve always been a night owl — I would much rather stay awake reading, watching TV or doing anything else than getting in bed and being unconscious for a few hours.
That said, we all need sleep to do our best at work and school. Feeling well-rested starts by creating an environment that’s comfortable so you can look forward to going to bed.
Before we jump in, I’d like to point out that my ultimate goal is not for you to buy new products when I make recommendations. I certainly don’t have any money, and I can’t really be buying a bunch of stuff all the time. I always encourage you to try things out by trying a DIY solution first, and I’ll try to present those options when I can.
Here’s how you can make going to bed feel more luxurious and less like a chore:
1. Sheet spray
This is a daytime activity that you’ll thank yourself for at night. Washing your sheets will always make your bed feel like a nicer place to be, but it’s not feasible to wash them daily. I make a sheet spray that I saw Anni Vanderbeek (@annivanderbeek) on TikTok make, and it’s a gamechanger. She uses baking soda, vodka and essential oils to create that fresh sheet feeling. I usually opt for lavender oil because of its relaxing nature, and because it’s what I have around. Keep a spray bottle of it on your nightstand and use in the morning before you make your bed.
2. Pick out better sheets
I recognize I’m dealing with a mixed audience here — I’m sure there are probably some readers who are living off-campus and have options when it comes to sheets. For that group, I think it’s crucial to find some good sheets (read: throw out your jersey sheet set.) Sheets and bedding can get extremely expensive, but I would recommend opting for natural materials only. They’ll keep you cooler and will feel more “crisp” when you hop into bed.
If you’re willing to spend some money, try looking at stores like T.J. Maxx or Bed Bath & Beyond for lower prices and products that you can touch in the store. If you don’t have any money to spend but your bed situation could really use an upgrade, try asking some family members if they have any bedding they’d be willing to give you. When I moved into my first apartment, my grandma was kind enough to give me a set of sheets that she kept around as extra.
For readers who currently live in the dorms, I know your struggle. Your options for sheets are limited, and you likely shouldn’t invest in fancy sheets because they’ll be of no use to you in a year or two. It’s best to find something that’s as breathable as possible without spending too much money. The main problem I had in my dorm stay was my sheets constantly popping off the slippery twin XL mattress, and for this I would highly recommend sheet suspenders. They go underneath the mattress and clip on each side of the corners. These from Walmart are $8.99.
3. Multiple sheet sets
While we’re talking about sheets, here’s the most practical tip: have at least two sets. Yes, they can be expensive but having two sets will alleviate some of the nuisance of keeping freshly washed sheets around. I try to wash mine every two weeks, which would probably be a lot harder if I didn’t have a clean set to immediately put on the bed after I strip the dirty ones off. Keeping two sets will also help you figure out if there’s a brand or distinction that you prefer so you know what to buy in the future.
4. Electric blanket
This one I don’t have a DIY option for, but I’m completely confident that it’s worth the money. In the winter, I spend the first ten minutes of getting into bed trying to warm up. With an electric blanket, that problem is gone. If you’re looking for a budget version, a smaller “heated throw” will be significantly cheaper (compare this 50×60 Brookstone version at Target for $35.49 to the Sunbeam one I own for $76.83.)
Make sure the reviews tell you the blanket is safe, has good longevity and has a timer that will shut it off so it doesn’t burn your house down. Two tips with the electric blanket: turn it on at least 30 minutes before you get into bed so everything is nice and warm. Second, if it has an hourly timer, I’ve found the sweet spot is leaving it on for no more than five hours. Otherwise, I get too hot in the middle of the night.
5. Adjust your pillow situation
This recommendation comes back to asking family members if they own something that they don’t want anymore. I wanted a memory foam pillow and my grandma happened to have one that she didn’t like or use anymore, so now I’m the proud owner of one.
There’s a good chance your mom or other relatives have some extra pillows they keep for guests that they might just let you have, or you could at least try them out before you decide to buy one for yourself. It took me a few pillows to figure out what didn’t make my neck feel weird when I woke up. If there’s any takeaway from this tip, let it be that your pancake of a pillow needs to be replaced with something new, preferably with one designed for the way you sleep (back, side, stomach).
I hope with these recommendations, your bed becomes a place where you like to be. Sweet dreams!
Graphic by Neako Hallisey.