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Feeling Tired? How Everything—From Mattresses to Movies—Influences Your Sleep

Aiming for a good night’s sleep starts earlier than your bedtime routine.

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If you’ve never struggled with your sleep, consider yourself lucky. The rest of us—the 70% of American adults that report insufficient sleep at least once a month—are spending their late evening hours getting in their bedtime meditations and trying desperately to stay off their phones for that last hour before bed.

But sleep doesn’t exist in a vacuum—so many of the issues that affect our sleep aren’t directly tied to how we think about or prepare for sleep. In fact, one sleep scientist’s best advice for improving our sleep involves the moments just after we wake up in the morning. Other sleep issues can involve hormonal changes and doctors visits, our exercise routine, or even what movies we try to wind down with after dinner.

Reece Rogers has become an expert on the latter, writing WIRED’s recent feature on how to stop falling asleep on the couch after movies. And while it may have started as a personal quest, it quickly became Rogers’ entry into the deep world of sleep research, leading him down rabbit holes on the mattress industry and… cave fish.

“I was nervous the article would be overly niche when I first pitched it to my editor, Alan Henry,” says Rogers. “But I started to realize just how many other people are in the same boat during my interviews with sleep experts. I am delighted when my service journalism resonates with readers and helps their day-to-day lives. Now, let’s see if we can make it all the way through our next movie night…”

Read on for a peek into Rogers’ research folder, one that spans sleep apnea, dream journals, and the spiritual aspects of our relationship with sleep.

Check out the other WIRED Collections from Adrienne So on preparing for an epic bike race and Andy Greenberg on the heroes fighting cybercrime.

Image by janiecbros /Getty Images

From our partners

How to Stop Falling Asleep on the Couch During Movies

Reece Rogers

Reece Rogers: “I am grateful to the sleep experts who took me seriously as I asked silly questions about nodding off on the couch. I feel like I accomplished my goal as a service writer when the final piece is practical as well as entertaining to read.”

I’m Dependent on My Phone—and I’ve Never Slept Better

Elvia Wilk

RR: “While getting away from your phone as much as possible before bed is probably best practice, life is full of situations where ‘best practice’ doesn't feel practical to follow. I enjoyed how Elvia considered that the real reason you feel so tired is not as connected to smartphone overuse as you might think.”

How to Sleep Like a Sleep Scientist

Hannah Seo
The New York Times

RR: “A 5,000 word essay is the last thing I want to skim at 3 a.m. when I’m on the hunt for actionable sleep advice. This slideshow from the New York Times is easy to digest on a sleepless night.”

The Cure for Insomnia Is to Fall in Love With Sleep Again

Rubin Naiman

RR: “On the other end of the spectrum is this wonderful, lyrical essay in Aeon. I do not agree with everything in it, but the cultural analysis is intriguing. Of course, struggles with sleep affect our physical and mental well-being, but I had not considered the spiritual aspects as well.”

How to Buy a New Mattress Without a Ph.D. in Chemistry

Patricia Marx
The New Yorker

RR: “When we moved into our current apartment in San Francisco, we started a furniture collection from scratch. I was surprised how overwhelming it was to shop for a new mattress. I better understand why there's such an abundance of options after reading Patricia Marx’s article.”

Why Adults Still Dream About School

Kelly Conaboy
The Atlantic

RR: “Oh, you graduated years ago, but continue to wake up in a hot sweat after a nightmare where you’re forever taking some impossible Algebra quiz? I enjoyed how Kelly Conaboy explained why those recurring dreams happen.”

How to Salvage a Workout After a Bad Night of Sleep

Rachel Fairbank
The New York Times

RR: “It can be a struggle for people who experience irregular sleep to achieve their exercise goals. While I definitely skip working out when my body is exhausted, I appreciate the advice in this article for when I toss and turn through the night, but still want to get a little sweaty the next day.”

From our partners

Why Pain Feels Worse at Night

Allison Whitten

RR: “People often experience increased pain at night and may lie awake wondering why. This article provides valuable context and lays out how sleep and our circadian rhythms are intertwined.”

Dream-Journaling to Have Hard Conversations

Emma Firth
The Cut

RR: “Dream journals always fascinate me as a creative person. I’ve never had the follow through to consistently keep one, though. I enjoyed this article in The Cut and may give it another go.”

Reece Rogers

Reece Rogers is WIRED's service writer, focused on explaining crucial topics and helping readers get the most out of their technology. Prior to WIRED, he covered streaming at Insider.