Improve Your Sleep by Focusing on Your Five Senses

Five Senses in the Bedroom

Our five senses guide us throughout our day, but they can also support healthy sleep each night. Our sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch are all critical ways that we experience our surroundings before bed. By focusing on each of these and finding the combination that works best for you, it’s possible to create the right environment for the rejuvenating sleep that we crave.

It’s important to note that these suggestions help best when accompanied by an atmosphere conducive to sleep. This includes comfortable bedding, a tidy room, and a cool temperature. When we bring all of these elements together, we support a healthy lifestyle.

How Each Sense Relates to Healthy Sleep 

Five Senses Sight

1. Sight

While counting sheep is often joked about, visualizations can definitely support your sleep tonight. End each evening visualizing a place where you felt truly relaxed and stress-free. Maybe it was from a family vacation last month, or your favorite beach spot growing up.

Take five to ten minutes to envision the scene while lying in bed, focusing on the visual elements and colors in the scene. Soon you’ll begin to feel relaxed and ready to sleep. Incorporate this into your bedtime routine each evening for a better night’s sleep.

Visualizations can also help if you wake up in the middle of the night. Focus on the experience within the visualization and soon you’ll find yourself drifting off again.

Five Senses Smell

2. Smell

The right scent can make all the difference for your sleep. One of the most common scents associated with sleep is lavender, which has been found to support greater lengths of deep sleep, helping you feel more rested in the morning. If you dislike the scent of lavender, there are other sleep-supporting options for you.

Research has also shown that jasmine improves sleep quality and can reduce periods of restlessness. One study also showed it can support a healthy response to anxiety more effectively than lavender. Bergamot is in the citrus family and also supports healthy sleep.

Try each of these either alone or as a blend to find the right combination for you. This is possible even if you dislike strong scents. Using small amounts of lavender essential oil on your bedding can provide the same support without the strong scent from a diffuser. (Make sure it’s diluted with a carrier oil to prevent burns.)

Five Senses Sound

3. Sound

Our bodies respond to music, making it an ideal way to help you unwind before bed. Turning on a soothing playlist before bed can help your body destress, lower anxiety, and can also improve the quality of your sleep.

And not just any music. Find soothing music you enjoy like classical music or acoustic covers, and soon your heart rate will slow down to meet the music’s beat. We recommend making this a part of your bedtime routine, further signaling to your brain that it’s time to sleep.

If you’re having trouble discovering the right songs, online streaming services offer curated playlists that can help you find the perfect bedtime routine soundtrack.

Five Senses Taste

4. Taste

While nutritionists recommend avoiding heavy meals before bed, they do recommend a light snack as long as it’s the right kind. A cup of chamomile tea with a small handful of walnuts can put you on the path to a healthy night’s sleep.

Chamomile tea can help ease the hormones that induce anxiety and depression, making it an ideal way to unwind after a stressful day. Walnuts contain tryptophan, the same soporific amino acid that makes you feel sleepy after a Thanksgiving meal. A warm glass of milk can have similar effects as well.

One serving of pumpkin seeds contains 35 percent of the recommended daily intake of magnesium, which has been shown to support the body’s natural sleep-wake cycles. Enjoy them lightly roasted with some coconut oil and a touch of salt for a bedtime snack that will keep you satiated while also supporting healthy sleep.

Five Senses Touch

5. Touch

Touch is one of the most effective ways to improve your sleep. This includes learning the key pressure points for healthy sleep along your body, as well as using a weighted blanket to provide a healthy physiological effect.

Acupressure can be self-applied, and has a myriad of uses. The best places for inducing sleep include the outside of your wrist, above your ankle, and on the bottom of your foot.

Focus on Your Senses

Our five senses support our sleep as much as they help us live a thriving life. Experiment with the right type of sensory sleep support that works for you based on these recommendations. When we focus on our sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch in the hour leading up to bedtime, we’ll gain healthy sleeping habits and wake refreshed each morning.