How often do you wake up feeling rested and energized? On the flip side, how often do you hit the snooze button and later crawl to the kitchen for a cup (or three) of coffee?
As we all get busier and busier, we tend to sacrifice our sleep for the instant gratification of just one more hour of work. Or we’re subconsciously stressed about all the things we have to do that when we are sleeping, it’s not quality, restful sleep.
We need to stop looking at sleep as a luxury!
Sleep and health are directly correlated and if you don’t get enough shut eye, you’re setting yourself up for negative long-term damage to your health.
Want to know how to get better sleep? Keep on reading!
I feel so fortunate to get great sleep almost every night. And on those days that I don’t, it’s because I didn’t get enough quality sleep. It happens so rarely that it’s very noticeable. I’m like a zombie. I can’t think straight and all I want is a nap. (I’m actually a pretty big baby about it).
So what’s my secret to good sleep? A few things I attribute to my restful sleep are a comfortable bed (I love my bed so much I get a little giddy when I crawl in), essential oils, and going to bed early.
But that’s not all. There are so many ways you can prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep. Try some of these tips for better sleep tonight and wake up rejuvenated tomorrow morning!
Turn off technology for better sleep
I’m guessing that this is the one tip for better sleep that we can all benefit from.
Are you like most people these days, your phone glued to your hand from the moment you wake up until you finally fall asleep? If so, this could be playing a major role in your poor sleep.
You’ve probably heard about the harmful blue light emitted from your tv, phone, computer, and tablet, but do you know why it’s harmful? That light actually restricts your body from producing melatonin (the hormone that makes you sleepy)!
Not only that, engaging with technology, whether it be reading an email, surfing the web, or even watching a movie, can trigger your brain to think it needs to stay awake and alert.
And once you’ve finally gone to bed, those late night chimes from text messages, emails and other alerts keep waking us up, disturbing our sleep even further.
Help your body get back into it’s natural sleep rhythm by turning off technology 1 hour before bedtime.
Instead of liking your friend’s latest pic on Instagram, take this time to read a book, do some bedtime yoga, meditate, do the dishes, talk with your spouse, knit (yes, I’m a knitter), journal, prep for tomorrow, play with your pet… The list is literally endless.
Just make sure it’s something that will allow your mind to unwind and begin to calm down.
Taking it even further, make your bedroom a technology-free zone (yes, that means the tv needs to go). That way you’re not distracted when you’re trying to fall asleep and you won’t be woken up by late night alerts.
Turn down the lights for better sleep
While you’re turning off your technology, turn down your lights to promote the production of melatonin even further.
You don’t need to sit in the dark, but just having one or two dim lights on can make all the difference.
We use a Himalayan Salt Lamp in our bedroom for calming light and good energy.
Take a warm bath for better sleep
The trick behind this one is actually the cold, not the warmth!
Taking a warm (not hot) bath or shower before bed can help adjust your body temperature to signal to your brain that it’s time to hit the sack.
How it works: When you come out of your warm bath into a cooler room, your body temperature drops.
Ever notice how it’s easier to sleep in a cool room than a warm one?
When your temp drops, it causes your body to slow down your heart rate, breathing and digestion, getting you ready for a good night’s sleep.
Ready to hop in the bath?
Make sure it’s not too hot, or else it could have the opposite effect. Somewhere around 100-104 degrees should do the trick. You can also play around with gradually lowering the temperature once you’re ready to get out.
These sleep-inducing baths aren’t meant to be long project. Keep them relatively short, between 5 and 15 minutes.
Get a comfy bed for better sleep
Ok, I understand that all of us can’t just go out and buy a whole new bed right now. So take this time to evaluate how comfortable your mattress is and if it’s the culprit in preventing you from getting a restful night’s sleep.
Take a look at your mattress. Does it dip where you sleep? That’s a dead giveaway you need a new one! It’s definitely not providing you the support it once was, causing you to toss and turn and wake up sore.
How old is your mattress? If it’s older than 8 years, the support is also probably gone. On top of that, old beds can be housing dust mites and mold, which can cause allergies and asthma, keeping you from a good night’s sleep.
Maybe your bed is relatively new and in good condition but there’s still just something about it that isn’t comfortable. It could very well be the case that your bed just isn’t right for you!
Mattresses are not one-size-fits-all. Every person is built differently and needs to be uniquely supported. So your uncomfortable bed could be someone else’s dream bed!
If you found that your bed has one or more of these issues but you can’t spring for a new mattress just yet, try some of these quick fixes to tide you over. Just remember that these are temporary and you should start saving up for a new mattress today!
If your bed is deformed or just not right for you, try getting a foam mattress topper. It’ll help fill in the potholes and give you a different level of support that might work better for you than your mattress alone. If you can afford a memory foam topper, that’ll provide even more support!
If your bed is old, vacuum the heck out of it! Use your vacuum’s hose and every attachment you can find to go over every square inch of it. this will help get rid of some of the dust mites and other critters living in your bed.
Get a supportive pillow for better sleep
While you’re taking a look at your bed, check to see if your pillow is giving you the support and comfort you need. Chances are, it’s not.
I use this memory foam pillow with neck support for a great night’s sleep!
Spend time in the sun for better sleep
If you read my post about the benefits of sunshine, you know that spending time in the sun during the day can have an amazing affect on your sleep.
When you get enough sun exposure during the day, your body becomes more efficient at recognizing when it’s nighttime.
This means your body won’t be producing as much melatonin during the day (giving you more energy) and you will be able to produce a sufficient amount at night when it’s time for you to sleep.
The general rule is that 10-20 minutes of sun exposure on non-sunscreened skin should do the trick. Aim to get these little spurts of sunshine daily rather than getting a week’s worth of sun in one sitting because then you risk getting sunburned.
If your skin isn’t used to being exposed to the sun, you’ll want to start with just a few minutes a day until you build up a tolerance.
Try to have the sun hit your shoulders, arms, or legs to avoid getting wrinkles on your face and neck.
If you live in a place with more cloudy days than sunny, you might consider getting a light box that mimics sunlight.
Essential oils for better sleep
If you’ve ever gotten a whiff of the cologne your high school sweetheart used to wear and been pulled back in time to those days when nothing else mattered but your love for each other, you know the power of smell.
When we smell something, our olfactory nerve sends signals to the part of our brain that is responsible for memory and mood.
Essential oils from plants are used in exactly the same way to help with everything from migraines and digestion to allergies and, yes, sleep!
Choosing essential oils that promote relaxation can help get our bodies into a restful state and ready for sleep.
Plus, making essential oils part of your bedtime routine can create a scent association so whenever you smell that oil, your body knows it’s time for bed.
There are tons of essential oils (and blends of essential oils) out there so it can take some time to find one that works best for you.
Here are some essential oils for sleep that you might try:
- Clary sage
- Sweet marjoram
- Roman chamomile
- Ylang ylang
- I use this lavender chamomile blend
Now that you’ve got your essential oils, what do you do with them? Try these methods:
- Dilute essential oils with an air diffuser
- Massage a few drops onto a specific part of the body, like your neck, chest, or wrists
- Rub a few drops into your hands and taking a few deep breaths
- Add the essential oil to the water while you’re filling up your warm bath
- Create a spray to spritz into the air or on your pillow
Exercise for better sleep
I don’t know about you but I notice that whenever I am regularly exercising, I get really good sleep. And if I haven’t worked out in a while, I find myself tossing and turning and waking up with aches and pains.
It turns out that physical activity boosts your deep sleep, which is the most physically restorative sleep phase. Exercise can also help you sleep more because expending energy during the day helps you feel more tired and ready to rest at night.
As I mentioned earlier, some of us struggle with getting quality sleep because we are subconsciously stressing about life. Exercise is a fantastic way to relieve some of that stress so you have fewer worries when your head hits the pillow.
Try to shoot for at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week. If you can do an hour, that’s even better!
Dreading having to exercise? Make it fun! Working out doesn’t have to be in the gym lifting weights. It can be cycling, yoga, basketball, running, rowing… whatever gets your body moving. Find an activity you love!
Try some of these tips for better sleep tonight and see if you notice a difference tomorrow morning. Remember that it may take time for your body to re-orient itself so give it a couple weeks.
Sleep is all about calm and rest so the more you can do to promote that in the evening, the more likely you’ll be to get great sleep.
Choose a couple of these tips to try tonight and leave a comment below to let me know how you slept!
If you have trouble making changes that last, download my free workbook to make a lasting change in just 4 weeks!
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