Not getting enough sleep is a sure-fire way to ruin your day even before it has started. Unfortunately, restlessness, insomnia, and just plain being unable to fall asleep plague many of us almost every single night. In fact, I now sleep like a baby most nights, but I have always had a hard time sleeping. Ever since I’ve tried a few of these tips, I’ve been able to sleep much better:
1. Fall asleep to some noise
Humans didn’t evolve to sleep in the dead silence – they evolved to sleep with large families or even tribes in close vicinity. Having some background noise can actually help our minds relax. You can get a noise machine, an app for your phone, or (this helped my girlfriend tremendously) fall asleep to an audio-book. If you do the latter, try to stick to books you’ve read/heard before or books of movies you’ve watched.
2. Keep your bedroom cool
It can be hard to fall asleep when your bedroom is too hot and stuffy. The ideal temperature for sleep is somewhere between 60°-72° Fahrenheit. Of course, you’ll be able to know the right temperature for you, so experiment a little with the temperature until you find your own ideal range.
3. Get out of bed
If you’ve been tossing and turning for over 20 minutes, there’s no sense in lying there and stressing yourself out. Instead, get out of the bed and find something relaxing to do that won’t stimulate your mind or eyes too much, like reading a book, knitting, or listening to some soft music.
4. Set a daily sleep/wake time
If your sleep schedule changes every night, it can wreak havoc on your circadian rhythm, the internal clock in your brain that tells your body when to fall asleep and when to wake up. By setting the sleep and wake time to be the same every single day (yes, including weekends), you will find it much easier to fall asleep. Try to wake up early in the morning.
5. Sniff some lavender or eucalyptus
Lavender and eucalyptus both have relaxing properties in their scent. Try rubbing eucalyptus body cream on yourself before bed, or burning a lavender candle or oils.
6. Get more sunlight
Fresh air and natural sunlight help our bodies fall asleep at the end of the day. These things also help reset our bodies’ internal clock – the circadian rhythm we talked about earlier.
7. Drink something warm
I’m sure you’ve heard of drinking warm milk before bed, to help you fall asleep. It’s not the milk that does the trick, but the warmth it provides to our bodies. Alternatively, you can drink some hot chocolate or warm caffeine-free herbal tea.
8. Sleep with the TV (and other lights) off
Our brains have trouble producing melanin, the drug that helps us fall asleep, when there is a light source. The biggest culprit is the television, but nightlights and even alarm clocks can also harm us. If you need noise to fall asleep, use the alternatives mentioned above.
9. Use your bedroom only for relaxation and sleep
Many people tend to hang out in their bedrooms – watch TV, play video games, read, etc. However, this does some harm to your brain because you’re confusing it as to what that environment means. If your brain is used to being active and stimulated in a certain environment, it will be used to always want to be active and stimulated in that environment.
10. Practice a soothing bedtime ritual
A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety which can make it more difficult to fall asleep, get sound and deep sleep or remain asleep.
Have a neat night!