As far as I can tell, there are two types of people in the world: people like my dad who can fall asleep within seconds and be out till the morning, and people like my mom and I who have problems both falling and staying asleep (so you could say I got it from my mama). I wasn’t always a bad sleeper but some time during college my sleep patterns shifted and I had to make some changes in order to accommodate my new found proclivity for staying awake and waking up in the middle of the night. And while it’s not every night that I get a great night’s sleep, the tips and tricks that I have come up with over the last couple of years have definitely helped me get more z’s than I would otherwise. Here are my top tips for getting a better night’s sleep:
1. Do not use your bed for anything other than relaxing- I’ve never been one to hang out on my bed throughout the day but I did notice that during late nights in college when I was laying in bed studying, my bed became a place of work instead of rest and this made it more difficult for me to turn off when it came time to go to sleep. I now only use my bed for relaxing activities which puts me in a better mind set for when it’s actually time to go to bed.
2. Drink water before bed – I’ve mentioned before that I live in a constant state of thirst (no, not that meaning) so filling up on water beforehand is essential for me in order to avoid midnight trips to the sink for a sip.
3. Go to the bathroom before bed – Even if you don’t think you need to go, go. You may be surprised and save yourself from a trip to the toilet later when your chances of tripping over something in your half-awake state increase by ten-fold.
4. Don’t start text conversations late in the evening – We’re all guilty of staying up past our bed times trying to respond to texts thinking “just one more before I fall asleep!” and ending up losing precious minutes or hours of sleep so save yourself from falling into this pattern by holding off starting conversations until the next morning.
5. Turn down the heat – I’m someone who hates being hot so I usually turn my heat down when I go to bed simply so that I can curl up in my blankets without the fear and discomfort of overheating. Also, multiple studies have shown that snoozing in a colder temperature room is actually better for you!
6. Invest in some comfy sheets – This tip can be applied to all bed sheets, pillows, comforters, mattress’, etc. After spending a week sleeping on a couch I have rediscovered my appreciation of a good bed to sleep in. I was amazed by the amount of time I spent rearranging my sheets and was thoroughly satisfied when I came home and had virtually zero refluffling, pulling and rearranging to do throughout the night.
7. Keep a go-to relaxer at your bedside – Whether this is a book, a magazine, a crossword puzzle, or an app, I need to be engaged in something that takes my mind off the day before I go to sleep. I’ve found that the time it takes for me to fall asleep is a lot shorter when I take time to do something monotonous than the time it takes if I immediately turn off the light and simply think/stress about things from my day.
8. Have a pillow to squeeze – I keep a Moshi pillow on my bed for the sole purpose of curling around it in the middle of the night when I’m uncomfortable. Sometimes you just need something to squeeze!
9. Use a night time hand lotion – I use the Crabtree & Evelyn Summer Hill hand moisturizer every night. Even if my hands aren’t all that dry, the familiar scent that I associate with bed time always seems to relax me and really put me in the right mood for bed.
10. Don’t look at a clock – This may be hard for some people to do but I don’t have any clocks in my bedroom and don’t allow myself to look at my phone throughout the night as it stresses me out. I would always find myself looking at the time and if it was around 5 o’clock in the morning, start worrying that I would not be able to fall back asleep. By eliminating this temptation, I don’t have to worry about how little sleep time I actually have left and end up getting back to sleep a lot more quickly.
Let me know if any of these tips help and if you have any tips of your own!