Are you struggling with poor sleep? Good news – there are plenty of little things you can do to help improve your sleep. Here are 10 easy ways to get better sleep!
Hi there! My name is Chantal and I am a certified personal trainer mom of two in the Pacific Northwest. I am personally recovering from years of babies in diapers, late nights and interrupted sleep. Now that both of my children sleep in their own beds, mostly uninterrupted, I am focusing on achieving better sleep for myself.
I have found that not only do my workouts suffer when I don’t sleep well, but my attitude and mental state do as well.
If you are sleeping poorly on a regular basis, you probably know what I mean.
That’s why today’s post is all about easy ways to get better sleep!
Sleep can affect all areas of your life – from your attitude, emotional state, to your metabolism and your ability to make good health decisions.
I’m not here to make the argument for better sleep, because we all know that sleep is important. But if you want to read a little bit more about just how sleep can affect your life and health, here are a few good places to start:
I started looking at my sleep after struggling to make good food choices despite the fact that I was exercising. I also noticed that my workouts were suffering. Obviously a combination of eating poorly and sleeping poorly would affect my mood and ability to do my workouts, but I find it easier to work on one thing at a time. Nutrition will always be a struggle for me so it’s something that I want to focus on little bit by little. I know that even if I do make nutritional changes, it will be hard to see results quickly.
Sleep on the other hand, seems a little bit more black-and-white for me. If I could figure out some specific, easy, no-brainer ways to get better sleep, then it would help me immediately. I would be able to notice changes within a day. That’s what we all want, right?
So I embarked on a bit of a journey to figuring out what actually helps! I hope they help you, too!
10 Easy Ways To Get Better Sleep
1. Put your screens away at least 30 minutes before bed.
Studies show that the brainwave activity that we get from blue light or screens is increased for up to an hour after we look at them. This means basically, that our brain has trouble calming down or resting when we use screens. So in order to fall asleep faster and send those brain signals that will induce sleep, we need to eliminate screens right before bed. The takeaway: Put your phone facedown at least 30 minutes before you want to fall asleep. (So it doesn’t light up in case of a phone call or message.) Resist the urge to grab it if you get a message/notification or feel like checking social media. Enable night time mode if necessary.
2. Try a calming yoga routine designed for better sleep.
If you suffer from restless nights or chronic back pain that keeps you up at night, try some of these yoga poses designed to help you sleep better. Or if you aren’t into yoga try some light stretches or meditation. This will help to gently use up your last little bit of energy for the evening while also calming your mind. If you want, spend this time in the dark or with some calm music in the background.
3. Release the day.
Hear me out. This might sound a little bit crunchy or silly to you, but it can be helpful to rest your mind to get that better sleep that you’ve been looking for. “Releasing the day” consists of thinking of the things that bothered/angered you or left you feeling anxious that day. Most of the time you’ll find there is nothing that you can do at bedtime to address those things. Release the “things” into the world. If there is nothing that can be done, make the choice to worry about it tomorrow.
Sometimes you just need to acknowledge what has happened on a given day. (Or something that is worrying you.) Then give it to God or release it into the world. Oftentimes, identifying things that are bothering you can help you let go. The result? Falling asleep faster with less anxious feelings.
4. Try a natural sleep aid.
Melatonin is great, but sometimes there are fillers or additives that are unnecessary. I’ve also heard that some people feel aggressive or angry when they are taking melatonin. I have recently begun taking a natural, sublingual sleep spray (it goes under your tongue). It features just 1 mg of melatonin, but also has powerful natural valerian root and 5-HTP for relaxation. It is flavored with spearmint for a naturally delicious way to relax. This spray has helped me start to fall asleep faster and get a more restful night. Try it here!
5. Get in the habit of nightly reading.
Picking up a book before bed can help your mind get off of things that might be bothering you/giving you anxious thoughts. Dive deep into a book to help you stay up just a little bit longer and expend that last little bit of energy. If you want to keep things light, opt for easy reading, devotional, self-help books, or scripture. The idea is to take your brain off of the day that you have had and keep your off screens while winding down. If you can make this a nightly habit, it can also a great time to learn new things or enjoy a bit of family time.
6. Improve your Circadian rhythms by investing in black out curtains.
Circadian rhythms are the natural cycles that all living things experience in a 24-hour period. Naturally, your body should want to sleep when it is dark. However, if you live in the city, are in the middle of summer, or have a lot of light coming into your room, it can be difficult to fall asleep. You can actually improve your body’s sleep rhythm by helping to make it darker at a consistent time of day.
In other words, you can signal your brain that it’s time to sleep by making your room darker at a specified time of day. It can be very helpful for your body to fall asleep faster if you have black out curtains or a darker room. Your body will naturally respond to a darker room and know that it’s time to sleep when you draw the curtains at a consistent time of day. (Key!) If you can’t change the window coverings in your room, invest in a comfy night mask for your eyes. They make comfortable loose-fitting or silky ones that will help you sleep better if you can manage to keep them on.
7. Try sleepy-time or herbal tea.
I believe that we have been given the natural tools to enjoy great sleep. There are even teas designed us to help us relax. Why not invest in a few different types of “sleep” teas and enjoy some time figuring out what kind of tea you enjoy? You can make a habit of having tea an hour or so before you want to go to bed as a relaxation technique that will hopefully help your mind and body relax, too! Here is an herbal sleep tea sampler that might be kind of fun to try out.
8. Adjust your room temperature.
Being too hot or too cold can affect how quickly you fall asleep, how comfortable will you are, and how often you awake in the night. Typically a warmer room will help people fall asleep faster, but if it’s too warm you risk waking up in the night. I like to have a cooler room but use more blankets. This gives me a cozy, snuggly feeling that comforts me just enough to get better sleep. I feel that I get a deeper sleep in a cold room as long my bed is covered in big puffy blankets.
Some people like to have a fan on for a bit of white noise as well!
9. Splurge on a better quality pillow.
Having the wrong pillow can make your night worse. Moreover, it can leave you feeling sore in the morning if you have a pillow that doesn’t work for your neck. If you have to buy a couple of different types of pillows to test, it’s worth it. (You definitely have the wrong pillow if you are waking up with a sore upper back or neck daily.) Try firm pillows, puffy pillows, flat pillows or whatever you need until you find some thing that leaves you feeling refreshed and well-rested in the morning.
10. Try a hot bath or shower before bed.
If you are a morning shower person but you have poor sleep, consider trying a hot bath or hot shower at night instead. Not only will it help your sheets stay nice and clean longer, it can help you relax. Benefits include relaxed muscles, cleanliness, and a relaxing nightly routine! You can even add lavender Epsom salts or a calming playlist to enhance relaxation.
That’s it, friends! Now you have ten easy ways to get better sleep (and you can try most of them any time)! Do you have other easy ways to get better sleep that you’d like to share? If so leave a comment below!
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