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There is arguably no object more vital in your apartment than your mattress. Considering the amount of time you actually spend in bed, it’s important—even urgent—that your mattress is comfortable and pleasant. Take it from me, as someone who used to resent their bed due to chronic, stress-related sleep troubles.

I’m somewhat famous around the Domino office for mocking sleep, saying, “Why can’t someone create a pill to make it unnecessary—it’s such a waste of time!” I’d never seen the value in quality sleep because I’d never had it. Each morning, I’d wake up feeling stiff, lackluster, and generally exhausted. My back and shoulders usually felt sore or uncomfortable when my alarm went off, which told me my old mattress was probably not great.

We spend one-third of our lives in bed, so shouldn’t it be a place where we’re blissfully happy? I took the start of a new year as an opportunity to do precisely that—to reclaim my sleep. Here’s what I did, week by week, and all things that helped me finally achieve those coveted eight hours of z’s.

Photography by: Manuel Rodriguez

Week One If I wanted to sleep better, I needed a better mattress. If you have free range to pick and choose your bed, why not pick the best, right? I choose Agility by Therapedic, a new, convenient mattress in a box that also happens to be eco-friendly. I wanted one made from nontoxic materials, and the foam in this mattress has environmental certifications that ensure they are safe. It was also important that the mattress had proven support for my sometimes achy back. Agility is a hybrid mattress, meaning it’s supported by both foam and coils, but it has “mini micro-coils” for zero motion disturbance and greater body support. It also has breathable latex foam for a plush feeling but with an added layer of support and durability.

When the mattress arrived, I was a bit hesitant. My fancy mattress was in this tidy box—how? I’d never tried a mattress in a box before, but assembly was really easy. I simply opened the packaging, released the vacuum-sealed mattress, and watched as it sprung to life like some type of magic trick. They do say it needs about 12 to 24 hours to reach its full size, but mine was perfect immediately. Magic, indeed.

I wish I could give you details on how I specifically slept the first couple nights, but honestly, I don’t remember: I passed out immediately and slept solidly until my alarm rang the next morning.

Photography by: Manuel Rodriguez

Week Two A week in, I found I fell asleep quicker. But now that I had a cool mattress, my previously beloved bedding didn’t feel right anymore. If I truly wanted to create a sleep oasis, a hibernation den of sorts, then I needed to have bedding that inspired me too. I swapped out my pillows (you’re supposed to get new ones every two years), bedding, duvet, and duvet cover. I meant business. I opted for linen for the duvet and sheets, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

I’ve started tossing and turning less too. 23andMe says that on average, people move about 13 times an hour during the night. In a genetic test, I discovered I’m an “active sleeper,” meaning I move about 16 times an hour. If you’re asleep for eight hours, that could potentially accumulate to moving around 104 times a night, and if you’re like me, closer to 128 times. So even when you lie down and fall asleep in a back-friendly position, you’re not like to stay there for long. Having a mattress that supports my body no matter how I move has already made a significant difference in how I feel. I’ve finally started to look forward to getting into bed.

Photography by: Manuel Rodriguez

Week Three Beyond altering the foundation of a good night’s sleep, you have to work on changing your bad sleep habits too. My bad habits consisted of light interruption from my phone and positioning the TV too close to my bed and battling with daily stress.

Going to bed earlier can have dramatic effects too. You’ll be more productive at work, worry less, and your skin will even look better. I want all those things. I started by setting a notification at 10 pm to remind myself that it was time to start turning off electronics and relaxing my mind. I switched to books instead of TV, which always tends to knock me out quickly, no matter how riveting the novel is.

Another thing that might be preventing you from sleeping better? Dehydration, which can have unfortunate effects on your sleep. Drinking too much water can wake you up in the middle of the night, but too little water can also do a number to your sleeping patterns. I try to consume lots of water throughout the day, but then I stop an hour or two before bed so I don’t wake up in the middle of the night.

Around week three, I began to see a long-lasting difference: I felt more rested and almost never needed to hit the snooze button.

Photography by: Manuel Rodriguez

Week Four It’s still a process to actually prioritize sleep, but I’ve noticed a dramatic difference in just one month. I feel more rested, I can focus more at work, and my body feels healthier. I always knew a mattress was important, but I didn’t realize it was this vital to how well I slept and felt. Agility also offers a 100-night, in-home, risk-free trial to test out the new mattress, backed by a full refund policy and product warranty. So if you don’t sleep as well as I have been, you can simply return it.

Sleeping well is an ever-evolving process, but it’s one that I’m willing to work on. Join me, won’t you?

Use code DOMINO at checkout and get $200 off any mattress*.

*Promo code cannot be combined with other offers.