20 Tips to Help You Get A Better Night’s Sleep

Good Night

Sleep and I have a love hate relationship.  I love sleeping, but almost nightly I either struggle to fall asleep, stay asleep, or get quality sleep.  This results in a very tired and unproductive person once morning comes around.  I recently started implementing different tips and ideas to help sleep and I get along a bit better, and while our relationship isn’t perfect, we are on much better terms.  Here are 20 tips to help get you ready for a good night’s rest. 

  1. Cut off Caffeine.  I’m a coffee addict, but if I don’t cut myself off by no later than 3pm, there could be major sleep issues later on.  I try to get most caffeine in my system first thing or right before my workout, and I will occasionally have the early afternoon pick me up, but I switch to decaf teas is if I want a warm beverage later in the day.  This gives my body the chance to get rid of all caffeinated energy by bedtime so it doesn’t hinder my precious zzzz’s.
  2. Establish a routine:  Whatever your night time routine is, make it consistent. The body responds naturally to routine, so if you’re doing the same general thing every night to gear up for bedtime, after awhile your body will automatically associate particular actions with getting ready for sleep. Mine usually involves picking things up, a light snack, an in depth skincare routine, stretches, and reading (or if I’m honest, poking at a game or Facebook on my phone) before lights out. 
  3. Aromatherapy.  I find that diffusing some combination of sleepy time essential oils helps my mind and body relax a bit.  My current favorite combo is a mixture of lavender and cedar wood.  You could also use a night time pillow mist or something similar to get the same relaxing effect. It’s amazing how something as simple as a smell can relax the senses
  4. Limit screen time before bed.  I am terrible at this one, but on nights that I do it, I definitely notice results.  At the very least put down the phone, iPad, and computer in favor of a tv that is further away from your face than the hand held devices. If this is simply impossible, take advantage of the newer “night light” feature on the iPhone, which warms up the display to help minimize blue light, which is what is supposedly keeping our brains awake when we use tech.
  5. Turn on a tv show that isn’t terribly engaging.  If you favor tv before bed instead of using your hand held, fine, but pick a show that doesn’t necessarily keep the brain riled up. Game of Thrones is amazing, but having that be the last thing I see before I close my eyes isn’t the most pleasant (nor sleep inducing) thing. I find Friends or other tv series I’ve previously watched work perfectly for this.
  6. Stretch it out.  While intense workouts should be done no later than a few hours before bed (various sleep studies say anyway), I find that some good, deep stretching before bed helps my muscles feel refreshed and relaxed, making it easier to get comfortable and fall asleep, especially since I sometimes wake up with tight, cramped muscles.
  7. Journal.  Ever felt so tired but unable to fall asleep because of all the random thoughts rolling around in your head at 2am?  Me too!  I find that journaling before bed or later in the day really helps calm these thoughts.  There’s something very satisfying about getting things down on paper. This allows the thought to be put aside and dealt with tomorrow, after you’ve had a refreshing night’s sleep.  
  8. Drink hot tea.  Just like my cup of hot coffee in the morning gets the engine running for the day, I find a soothing cup of herbal tea (bonus if it’s a chamomile or sleepy time blend) at night helps to relax me from the inside out.
  9. Limit your liquids.  I know, right after I told you to drink tea.  Is there anything worse than being woken up in the middle of a great night’s sleep by a full bladder?  Okay, there most definitely are worse things, but at that moment in time it certainly doesn’t feel like it.  Try to space out your hydration throughout the day so you don’t go to bed full of liquid.  That way you are less likely to have to make a run to the restroom in the middle of the night and wrecking your sleep. (bonus tip: if you do get up to go to the bathroom, try to avoid turning on the bright bathroom lights and opt for a night light or a dimmer light instead. It helps keep the mind in sleep mode).
  10. Keep lights low.  At night I like to start using more mellow lighting in my home by turning off the harsh kitchen light in favor of some softer lighting to help set the mood for a relaxing evening.  Try using a night stand lamp instead of the ceiling light in the bedroom or a lower light setting in the bathroom (if that’s an option and you can still see). Candles are also great for setting the relaxing mood.
  11. Have sex.  Not something you’d expect to hear on my blog, huh? Well, it’s the truth.  You know how men can do it and then just roll over and go to sleep?  I mean, what more proof do you need than that?  Now, while women might respond a little bit differently, the fact that we release all of these feel-good, relaxing, happy hormones after sex definitely helps set the tone for a good night’s sleep. At the very least you go to bed (hopefully) satisfied, connected to your spouse, and with your stresses feeling a little further away.
  12. Cool down. I’m sure you’ve heard that the optimal temperature for sleep is somewhere in the upper 60’s, which is (as far as I know) still true.  Personally, I sleep best when my room is cool (for financial purposes its usually 73 or so in the summer, but 60s in the winter), my pjs are tiny (Kohl’s cami + booty shorts most nights), but I’m buried underneath nice warm blankets.  Try knocking the temperature of the room down a degree or two and see if that helps you sleep better.
  13. Wear socks.  While I love my cool room and big blanket, my feet and calves are ALWAYS cold.  Ice cold. This is a symptom of CMT, but I know there are others who suffer from this issue too.  Lately I have found that when I have cold feet, it really hinders my ability to fall asleep (despite my comfy down blanket), so I started sleeping in fuzzy socks. It blows my mind how that simple change actually solved the problem. I’d toss and turn, unable to fall asleep, get out of bed and put socks on, and then I’d be out in 5 minutes.  Is it physical or psychological? I don’t know, but either way, this trick works.  
  14. Take a hot shower or bath.  Even if you don’t need to get all clean, the hot shower or soak will help relax the muscles.  Personally, I avoid getting my hair wet when I shower at night, but you do you.  Bonus tip: use lavender shower gel or bubble bath for a sleepy time aromatherapy experience.
  15. Plan tomorrow. Like journaling, getting your day planned out can help your mind relax at night because the work is already done.  Write down your schedule, your to do list, and anything else you need in a planner or wherever you keep track of those things.  Then you can wake up tomorrow refreshed and knowing exactly what needs to be done.
  16. Read a book. I find it so relaxing to pick up a book (for fun, not a book you have to be reading), curl up in bed, and read a chapter or two before lights out.  It’s best to use a real book or a Kindle with the paper-like screen rather than a tablet with the stimulating light so your eyes can relax.  
  17. White noise.  If you’re someone who gets bothered by every little noise, perhaps adding a little bit of white noise to your bedroom can help you.  There are white noise machines and apps that can do a ton of things, but I find something as simple as having the fan running and my oil diffuser turned on creates enough of a hum that little noises outside or in the other room are less of a bothersome thing.
  18. Don’t drink alcohol before bed. While many people use alcohol as a way to relax and maybe even get some shut eye, it turns out that boozing before bed is almost a surefire way to get a terrible night’s sleep. It has something to do with the way the body burns it off, and I know this to be true because I’ve experienced it personally.  Instead, enjoy a glass or two around dinner and allow it to get out of your system before you hit the hay to ensure it doesn’t hinder your sleep.
  19. Set a regular sleep schedule. We’ve all heard this one.  As I mentioned before, the human body likes (and responds well to) routine. Establishing a bedtime is no different.  Try and stick to a normal sleep schedule, going to bed and waking around the same time every day.  Looking forward to a Saturday where you sleep in? Don’t stray from your normal wake time more than an hour or you might have to start from square 1.
  20. Get a little extra help when necessary. I love nights where I can fall asleep with little or no issues, but I’ll be honest, those nights are few and far between. I find that sometimes I need to look to outside sources for a little help, and that’s totally okay.  One way I do this is by taking a melatonin supplement.  Melatonin is the hormone your body naturally creates when it comes time to sleep, and sometimes a little boost is exactly what I need.  If you’re considering reaching for a sleep aid like Advil PM, here’s a money saving tip.  The active ingredient in most sleep aids (Advil PM, Tylenol PM, Zzz Quill, etc) is diphenhydramine, which is also the active ingredient in Benadryl.  Rather than pay for the brand names, pick up a bottle of generic brand diphenhydramine.  You usually get a LOT more bang for your buck.

There you go. 20 tips to help you fall asleep and hopefully get a more restful night’s sleep in the process.  Do you have any other night time tips to add?  Let me know in the comments below.

 

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2 thoughts on “20 Tips to Help You Get A Better Night’s Sleep

  1. bridget says:

    EXCELLENT list! Regular sleep is so important for my own stress management…and lavender is one of my favorite essential oils for the diffuser in the evening. Thank you for sharing this post 🙂

  2. Pingback: A Monday in the Life - Diva and the Divine

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