You should spend about a third of each day restoring energy.
If not, you should be! Having a peaceful oasis to go to when your work day ends and a calm spot to wake up in is one of the best habits you can make. So let's take a look at a few tips that can help you create better sleep habits!
Before we look at the tips, if you haven't signed up for this FREE series #31habits, go HERE to get all 31 habits plus some free resources straight to your inbox.
- Sleep in total darkness. Do not use a night light. Cover all little glowing lights in your room, like the one on my fan! You can use black electrical tape to cover up these annoying little lights. For windows that allow street lights to enter in, either use blackout curtains or an eye mask. Both will get the job done. If you or your children need light for middle of the night bathroom trips, try a salt lamp instead.
- Use white noise or pink noise. I use a fan and an air purifier to create the best sleep environment! At least 75% of people say that noises in the environment kept them from sleeping soundly.
- No screen time within an hour before bedtime. Try reading instead of television for at least an hour before bedtime. It’s much more calming anyways.
- Avoid using alarm clocks. You heard right get rid of your alarm clock! Ok, well, at least move it out of your bedroom. I have rarely used an alarm clock, even when I was in the USAF I woke up before reveille each morning. Although, sad to say, I can't stay awake late at night… If you need help waking, try a C by GE sleep bulb.
- As much as possible, go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Doing so will help to train your body rhythms, increase melatonin production, and boost your immune system.
- Keep the room the right temperature, cooler is better.
- Sleep alone (banish pets, kids, and *gasp* maybe even your spouse). If your partner snores or keeps you awake at night, you might consider sleeping separately. On average, couples who sleep together experience 50% more sleep disturbances. (2) I know, I know you think I’m crazy. I too have spent years sharing a bedroom with my husband, kids and pets. However, studies show that for some people (especially those with a spouse who snores) sleeping separately can significantly improve sleep quality. I didn't say I have achieved this habit…it's just a suggestion!
- Avoid drinking caffeine after 1 p.m. and banish all liquids a couple hours before bedtime. So, skip caffeine if you want a great sleep cycle. Avoid other stimulants as well, such as energy drinks or chocolate before bedtime.
- Drinking chamomile tea or sleepytime tea an hour or two before bedtime can help you relax and ready for sleep.
- Skip the late night glass of wine. Don’t hate me. Alcohol does not help you get better sleep, several drinks might make you sleepy, but it is a very low quality sleep that does not leave you feeling refreshed. Instead of rebuilding your body while you sleep alcohol keeps you from getting the good REM (Rapid Eye Movement, or Deep Sleep) stages you need. All night long, your body will be making up for the anti-diuretic hormones lost and repairing the metabolic cascade.(1)
- Contrary to popular belief, it’s PROTEIN, not carbohydrates that will help you sleep better at night. That is because protein boosts an amino acid called L-Tryptophan (the same substance that makes you sleepy after Thanksgiving Dinner) which in turn creates serotonin and melatonin. Even better if you combine the protein with a small piece of fruit which helps the tryptophan cross the blood brain barrier.
- Do what I call a “brain drain” right before bed. I like to keep a legal pad beside my bed so I can write down my “worries” or things I need to get done tomorrow. Any thought that pops in my head I just jot it down, that way I am not staying up all night trying not to forget it! Believe me, it helps.
- Exercise, but not right before bed. I am not a night owl anyways, so I have actually experimented with ways to help me stay up when I had an event I needed to attend. One of the best ways I have found to stave off that sleepy feeling is by exercising late in the day!
- If you must use a supplement, it’s best to avoid taking melatonin long term, contrary to what many vitamin companies would have you think! However, it is ok to take it to help you temporarily. Some other great ideas are Magnesium, Sleepytime Tea (my favorite flavor is Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Vanilla), and Calms Forte.
- My daughters and I all enjoy analyzing our sleep patterns with the “Sleep Cycle” app. You simply put your phone on Airplane Mode and start the app. The phone is then placed on the top of your bed while you sleep. When you wake in the morning the app will ask if your night was good, so-so, or bad. Then if you like, it will take your heart rate and show you how efficient your sleep was that night. After using the app for a week or so, you can see patterns. I like to average between 88-93% sleep efficiency. Although one night of 100% has happened to me ONCE…
- If possible, use organic sheets, blankets and pillows to avoid toxic overload. Like children’s pajamas, most are treated with flame retardants and many other chemicals. Fresh sheets will actually help you look forward to bedtime, as if you don’t already! Adding lavender essential oil to your dryer along with your sheets can actually help you to fall asleep faster.
- Keep the temperature below 70 degrees, most experts say 65 degrees is the perfect temperature.
- Sleeping on a quality mattress will do wonders for your sleep. Sleep on a mattress and pillow that is comfortable to you. Replace mattresses when necessary, most experts suggest every 8 years. If you suffer from aches and pains, it may be time to update your mattress. Over 90% of people polled cited a comfortable mattress as one of the top priorities for a good nights rest. This should be one of the first steps to take if one is experiencing insomnia.
- Declutter your bedroom. Busy rooms will create a busy mind and nothing prevents sleep more than a busy mind!
- Using black out curtains to darken your room will help you to sleep better. Block as much light as possible.
- Keeping electronics out of the bedroom will help you sleep better as the light emitted from electronics can suppress your body’s melatonin production
- A lukewarm bath can relax your muscles and help you fall asleep faster, but a hot bath will increase your body temperature and make it harder to fall asleep! Add magnesium flakes or Epsom salts as 80% or more of Americans are magnesium deficient.
- Deep breathing or the 5-5-5 breathing method can help. Take a breath for a count of five, hold for a count of five, then release for a count of five. (this also helps with anxiety)
- Prayer can really be beneficial for calming the mind and helping one to fall asleep.
As part of our Sleep Challenge, The Bed Boss is offering my readers an exclusive 20% discount on any of their amazing mattresses using the above coupon code: TOM20; enter the code at checkout.
Getting a good night of sleep is instrumental in achieving superior health. Your bedroom should be an oasis of comfort, a shield from the stress of life, a sanctuary of sleep. Share your good habits or beautiful sleep sanctuary using the hashtag #31habits today! Don't forget to share this post with anyone you know who's complained about lack of sleep lately!