If you’re like me and feel that a good night’s sleep is more valuable than gold, then you’re in the right place today! It seems we have an ever increasing problem of people not getting enough sleep or even good quality sleep. Whether you’re having the occasional bout of insomnia or struggle regularly with getting your Zs, I’ve come up with 20 tips to dramatically improve your very valuable rest time.
Is Sleep a Priority?
Before we get into the tips today, I really want you to get honest and answer one important question for me. Is sleep REALLY a priority to you? Of course it it, you say! And maybe some nights it is, but as they say, talk is cheap. If you really prioritize your sleep, you’ll be much more diligent in your habits. Let’s take a look at some tips that can dramatically improve your sleep IF you’re willing to implement them!
18 Tips to Help You Dramatically Improve Your Sleep
- Keep a regular bed time and wake up schedule – Our bodies need us to stay on a rhythm. Take advantage of a consistent routine as much as possible. Being sporadic with our schedules can really wreak havoc on our bodies natural sleep cycle.
- Take a warm bath before bedtime – This is something I personally do and feel it really sets the tone for my body to get the message we’re getting ready to sleep. Use relaxing epsom salts and essential oils such as lavender (I use this one here) to really take the relaxation up a few notches.
- Keep afternoon naps under 20 minutes – A good afternoon nap is truly one of life’s simple pleasures but be sure to not over do it. Keep your naps under 20 minutes to avoid not being able to fall asleep later.
- Don’t drink alcohol at night – I know lots of you enjoy a glass or two of wine at night, but if you’re having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, you’ll want to rethink this habit. Alcohol can definitely mess with your sleep…sorry, don’t shoot the messenger!
- Keep your bedroom a cool temperature – I’ve heard your room should be anywhere from 60-68 degrees while trying to sleep. I don’t keep mine quite that cool but I also like a fan blowing in the summer time. This let’s us get away with a temperature of around 72 or so. I definitely can’t sleep if it’s too warm, can you?
- Nix the caffeine after noon – Ok, I’ll admit I don’t follow this all the time. I do like a coffee after lunch some times. But, if you’re having sleep troubles. you definitely want to be a good detective here and be honest about your caffeine. You may be more sensitive to it than you thought. Try a relaxing herbal tea if you need something warm. (I think this is a yummy non-caffeinated option)
- Keep your TV out of your bedroom – This is “sleep hygiene” 101. Don’t watch TV in your bedroom! It’s just too much stimulation. You may be able to fall asleep with it on but it’s never a good idea if you care about the quality of your rest.
- Stop watching TV at least an hour before bedtime – Discipline yourself to cut the TV off as part of your nightly routine. Record your shows for later and come back to it. You’ll thank me in the morning!
- Avoid harsh or bright light in the evening – This is why lamps were invented, folks. Turn off those bright overhead lights and turn on the ambient lighting. Also, be aware of the light coming from your phones and computers. Wear blue light blocking glasses or turn on the special light filters on your technology.
- Don’t use your bed for anything other than sleep – If you work from home often, don’t bring it to your bed. Your bedroom needs to be a sanctuary that sends your body a signal that it’s time to sleep when you get there. Don’t send mixed messages by using the bed for work or for using electronics.
- Kick your pets and kids out of your bed – Ooh, this is a hard one, but we all know those little critters can interrupt sleep like nobody’s business. Kids, dogs, cats all must go if you’re really trying to get serious about the quality of your sleep. I’m not saying it’s easy, I’m just sayin!
- Get up and read if you can’t fall asleep after 15 minutes – One caveat on this, read an actual book, not a tablet or iPad. You don’t want the light from the device waking you up even more.
- Exercise daily but finish well before bedtime – We all know daily exercise is recommended for lots of reasons including getting better sleep, but just don’t work out too late in the evening. You’ll have a harder time winding down, if you do.
- Lay off the heavy meals at night – You never want to eat a big, heavy meal a few hours before you want to sleep. Your body will have trouble digesting and can make sleep almost impossible. Do yourself a favor and opt for lighter fare. Besides, eating heavy meals at night is a sure fire way to pack on excess pounds! Avoid it.
- Eat foods with tryptophan – like beans, peanut butter, turkey and nuts – Eating foods that naturally contain tryptophan about 2-3 hours before bedtime can help you fall asleep faster.
- Use a “white noise” machine – I’m sure all the parents out there can swear by these sound machines, can’t you? I typically use a fan to make noise in our bedroom and if I’m out of town, I download a white noise app on my phone. All of us light sleepers know how game-changing these things are!
- Stretch or try a few simple yoga poses – I am a huge believer in stretching before bed. I do this myself, EVERY night (check out my 5 Min Stretching Routine here). It takes less than 5 min but really relaxes my body and releases any tension that may have built up throughout the day. Get on the floor and just do a few stretches. It really can help your sleep!
18. Don’t start up heated or emotional conversations after a certain time – My husband and I used to use the “10 o’clock Rule.” This was early on in our marriage and we figured out that it was never a good idea to start up a heated conversation after 10 pm. No one is thinking clearly and everyone is tired. Plus the conversations never usually solved anything anyway! Limit your heavy conversations for the daylight hours when you can. Oh and that “never go to bed angry” thing…forget it. Go to bed, you’ll all be thinking better in the morning, trust me on this!
These are just a few of the things I do to get good, consistent sleep. I hope you’ll find something here that can help you improve yours. Thanks so much for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please SHARE it with your friends!
Is there something you’ve been doing to improve your sleep? Let us all know in the comments below!