It’s 10 p.m. You’re in bed. It’s getting late, but you’re not sure you’re ready for sleep. Your mind goes over the events of the day and stress creeps in when you think of all the things you haven’t done yet. You take a deep breath, close your eyes and try to relax.
It’s 12:30 and you’re still awake. You start to panic. You close your eyes tighter and hope for the best.
It’s 3:00. You dozed off but now you’re awake and the numbers on your alarm clock are mocking you. You know you have to be up in three…three and a half hours…maybe you can squeeze a little more if you skip the morning walk. Your mind is speeding now, calculating time left.
Finally, you drift off to sleep…and just as you get good and comfortable you hear the clanging of your alarm to signal you a new day has begun. You groan, roll over, pull the pillow over your head and wish for more sleep.
Sound familiar? Looking for ways to get the good, quality sleep that’s eluding you? Sleep is one of our most important tools in battling stress, obesity, and brain fog but most of us aren’t getting enough of it.
According to the National Institutes of Health, one in three Americans do not get enough good quality, restful sleep at night. On average, adults need seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night to ward of health problems and keep our brains healthy.
Stress is one of the leading culprits of poor sleep. If you’re stressed, falling asleep and staying asleep may seem impossible, but it is possible to control your sleep habits and get a great night’s sleep each and every night.
If you wake up consistently in the morning feeling:
- Lacking focus
- Lacking motivation
- Lacking productivity
- Increased hunger
…then you may be experiencing side-effects of poor sleep.
A good night’s sleep sets you up for a happier mind and body, helps maintain your immune system, helps keep your hormones regulated, and decreases the risk for obesity and other diseases.
All hope is not lost. There are many things you can do to improve the quality and quantity of sleep you get every night. Let’s look at our top tips for getting great sleep at night so you can feel your best all day.
25 Tips for Stellar Sleep
- Have a routine. Going to sleep at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning will help your body recognize when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to be awake.
- Get natural light. Getting direct natural light during the day signals your body to wake up and balances your circadian rhythms.
- Nap. Napping is great to fill in the gaps, but nap no longer than 20 minutes or you’ll wake up groggier than when you sent to and be sure you nap earlier in the afternoon before 3p.m.
- Avoid Caffeine. Caffeine blocks adenosine which is the hormone that promotes sleepiness. If you’re sensitive to caffeine you should stop drinking caffeinated beverages around noon if possible.
- Exercise. Evidence suggests that exercise helps you fall asleep more quickly and helps you stay asleep longer. Exercise also increases the amount of slow wave sleep (SWS) you get which is important to clearing toxins from your brain. For more information on SWS click HERE.
- Get cozy. Make your room comfortable by dimming the lights and adjusting the temperature to a cool but comfortable temp. Invest in a white noise machine if your house isn’t quiet. Make your bedroom a haven of rest.
- Quality Bedding. If you’re not comfortable you won’t sleep well. Web MD suggests a good mattress is an important investment. Soft, comfortable sheets and blankets and a supportive pillow should be used.
- Try Melatonin. Research suggests that taking a melatonin supplement an hour to 30-minutes prior to bedtime can help increase total sleep time, relieve daytime fatigue, reset the body’s sleep-wake cycle, and reduce the time it takes to fall asleep.
- Create environment. Using white noise and aroma therapy such as an essential oil diffuser can create a relaxed environment. Other helpful tips from the Sleep Foundation can be found HERE.
- Supplements. In addition to melatonin, there are other great supplements that can aid in getting a great night’s sleep. Check out this article by The Sleep Doctor for more.
- Yoga. Practicing gentle yoga before bedtime can improve the quality and duration of your sleep as it promotes relaxation and reduces stress.
- Keep a sleep journal. Keeping a journal can help you identify which factors best help you fall asleep and stay asleep, and which habits harm your sleep.
- Cut the junk. Sugary foods and refined carbs late in the day can interfere with your sleep. Choose a light, healthy snack instead.
- Tidy your room. Studies have shown that cluttered bedrooms can lead to poor sleep quality and contributes to overall stress and symptoms of depression.
- Limit liquids. Stop consuming liquids 2-3 hours before bedtime, but throughout the day drink enough to ward of dehydration.
- Get up. If you can’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, get up and do something else for a while. Lying in bed awake will only cause you more stress which interferes with sleep.
- Talk to your doctor. If you regularly experience difficulty sleeping or are consistently tired during the day after 7-8 hours of sleep, you might have a sleep disorder that requires the assistance of a doctor. Sleep disorders include sleep apnea and insomnia.
- Limit use. Reserve your bed for sleep and intimacy only. Studies show if you spend a lot of time in bed awake and frustrated your body links that feeling to your bed, which makes it difficult to sleep.
- Don’t watch the clock. Having an alarm clock next to your bed or checking the time on your phone can incite intrusive thoughts about the following day, generating stress, and keeping you awake.
- Don’t get emotional. Anything that promotes stress before bedtime should be eliminated so having difficult discussions or arguments before bed will increase your cortisol levels, which will increase your alertness and make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Don’t check it. A study done by Virginia Tech shows that looking at work or school assignments prior to sleep is harmful to your health and can trigger anxiety.
- Snuggle your pet. A study conducted in 2018 on adult women found that women felt their sleep quality improved when sleeping with their dogs. They also reported feeling less stress and increased feelings of comfort and security.
- Make a list. Worrying about incomplete tasks makes sleep elusive. Compile your to-do list for the following day helps to alleviate this stress and aids in sleeping soundly.
- Focus on relaxation. Instead of focusing on falling asleep, focus on relaxing. This will help alleviate stress and ease you into sleep.
- Meditate using BrainTap. Braintapping is a great way to prepare your mind for deep, restful sleep by balancing your brain and allowing you to sleep the way you did when you were a child.
Getting quality sleep is one of the best things we can do for our health. Following these tips will ensure you get a great night’s sleep to create the happy and healthy life you desire. You’ll also gain clarity of mind, rid yourself of brain fog and see your energy levels soar so you can power through every day with ease.