Many people struggle with falling asleep easily. If you are one of the lucky people who can fall asleep before your head hits the pillow – teach us your ways! For everyone else, we’ve done the research and pulled together the best tips we could find for a night of restful slumber.
1. Set a technology curfew – about two to three hours before your planned bedtime, stop using you computer, phone, or other device. The blue light these devices emit inhibits the production of melatonin – the hormone that promotes sleepiness.
2. Have a set bedtime routine – by doing the same routine half an hour before bed each day, you will help your body wind down and realize its time for bed. A good routine might be: sipping a cup of green tea, showering, brushing your teeth, putting on comfy pajamas, and curling up under your covers.
3. Turn the temperature down – the body has an easier time falling asleep around 68 degrees Fahrenheit. If you keep your room too hot, your body has to expend extra energy to cool you down and you may have trouble entering dreamland.
4. Sniff a lavender or chamomile scent – lavender has been known to help promote relaxation and sleepiness. Use a lavender scented lotion or bubble bath before bed. A cup of chamomile tea has also been shown to reduce anxiety.
5. Write – many people are kept up at night by their worries, anxiety and stress. If you are one of them, consider starting a stress journal. Before you go to sleep, write down all of the things that keep you up at night. Without a good night’s sleep, you won’t be at your best the next day. And your worries will still be there in the morning.
6. Avoid eating and exercise before bed – both of these things are designed to invigorate and keep you awake. Use your evening to wind down instead of indulging. Plan to finish exercising at least three hours before bed. But don’t skip your workout; exercise has been shown to help regulate your sleep cycle. Also try not to eat within three hours of falling asleep as digestion can keep you up.
7. Limit your caffeine intake – your afternoon latte could be affecting your circadian rhythm – the caffeine remains in your system for hours afterward. Keep your coffee in the morning, but reach for decaffeinated tea or water instead after midday.
8. Count sheep – if you find yourself laying in bed for over an hour, trying counting sheep. On occasion, I count backwards slowly from 100 and I never make it past 79 before it’s lights out for me. Keep your eyes closed and try to relax your mind and body, focusing solely on counting.
9. Set the mood – trust us, this is important. Dim lighting over bright lighting in your bedroom will help your brain realize sleep is important. If you live in a well-lit area, blackout curtains may help curb the ambient light that enters your room.
While seemingly harmless, this light may affect your sleep cycles by signaling your brain it’s time to wake up, even though it’s not. Shades of blue, green and yellow have also been shown to help people fall asleep more quickly than other colors of the rainbow. Additionally, using your bed only for sleep (and sex) will also help you fall asleep faster. We feel your pain – it’s our favorite place to Netflix marathon, too.
10. Meditation – you probably already know that meditating can help reduce your stress levels, but it can also help you sleep better. Try meditating for 10 minutes or so before bedtime to help clear your mind.
If you have trouble falling asleep, making one or two changes to your daily schedule could make all the difference. If you have any go-to methods for restful sleep, let us know!