Something I have really struggled with the past few years is getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep affected everything in my life- work, home life, school, etc. It was such a big deal for me that one of my New Year’s Resolutions in 2011 was to get more sleep.
After a while I realized that I needed to identify why I wasn’t getting enough sleep and do something about it. Here are some tips I have found that help me get a restful night’s sleep….
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor and this isn’t medical advice. These are just some things that worked for me.
Ease the stress
Part of the reason I couldn’t sleep at night was because I was stressing about a lot of things and thoughts were running through my mind like crazy. I would close my eyes to go to sleep and immediately start thinking about things… a work deadline coming up, something I had forgotten to do, a bill that needed to be paid, etc. Now if I think about something at night, I make myself a note in my phone so I will have it the next day. If I need to remember to do something in the morning before work then I set an alarm on my phone to remind me. This really eases my mind and allows me to forget about these things so I can sleep.
Getting exercise during the day ensures that I will get a great nights sleep. Even on days when I don’t feel like hitting the gym, it helps to just get outside and take a walk. If I do just walk, I always aim for ~60 min. I cannot express how much this has helped my sleep.
DVR TV Shows
I have my husband to thank for this one because we never would gotten a DVR if it wasn’t for him. I now DVR shows that come on later and watch them the next day.
Get into a routine
Having the same routine every night gets my mind into a calm, relaxed mode. This is my nightly routine:
9:00- take bubble bath (if I’m going to take one… I don’t always do this)
10:00- drink a hot cup of sleepy time tea
10:30- wash my face, brush my teeth, put on my PJs
11:00- in bed
Do some sort of mindless activity right before bed
I watch Chelsea Lately every night as I’m falling asleep. I know some people say NOT to watch TV when they are going to bed but I think this is because it makes them think about things. When I have on Chelsea Lately and she’s telling jokes and making fun of stuff, it’s easy for me to just kind of let the show fade in the background and fall asleep. I know a lot of people who read before they go to bed. This doesn’t work for me because I usually get really interested in what I’m reading and stay up later. Every person is different, though. Do what works for you.
Avoid caffeine after dinner
This is key for me. I have never been the type of person who felt hyped up when I had a caffeinated beverage but I can definitely tell that I have a harder time falling asleep when I drink caffeine at night.
Eat a handful of almonds
There are lots of food that can aid your body in relaxation and sleep but almonds is something I always have in the kitchen. They have magnesium and tryptophan, both of which help you relax and sleep.
Avoid alcohol right before bed
This one seems kind of counterintuitive because alcohol makes me feel relaxed. However, disrupts your deep sleep and can make you feel tired when you wake up.