I’ll be honest with you guys. I’m a very needy sleeper. Once I started working, I found that if I didn’t get enough sleep the night before, sitting at a desk all day trying to concentrate was extremely difficult and made my life horrible.
As I’ve been working on my wellness by eating healthy, meditating, working out, and becoming mentally aware of everything, I have found I need a lot less sleep to function properly. I feel that a lot of it has to do with the good foods I feed myself with, but I also can’t help but think it may have to do with the fact that I am getting older.
And everyone knows that the older you get, the less sleep you need.
Regardless of all that, I still do what I can to make sure I prioritise the sleep I get every night. I have learned to listen to my body and know what it needs and when it needs it. So for those of you who aren’t getting a good night’s sleep, or want to make sure you are doing everything you can, here are a few tips you can use to make sure you’re getting the best sleep possible.
Use Less Screen Time
If any of you exist on the internet – which I have to assume you do, otherwise someone would have had to print off this blog post and give it to you to read. To be honest, if that did happen, that is so cool and thank you for printing off my blog post to give to your friends. You’re the best.
For all the other people who do exist on the internet, you’ll know that blue light messes with our heads.
I’ll try not to get too technical but essentially blue light keeps your brain from recognizing bedtime. Going back to caveman days, our circadian rhythms told us when we needed to sleep and when to be awake. When the sun (light source) went down, we went to sleep. When the sun came up, we woke up and started our days. Hence, night = sleep, day = awake. It’s pretty simple.
But now with our phones, TVs, iPads, and other forms of light emitting devices, using them tends to mess with our own natural rhythms. This is why a lot of us have troubles falling and staying asleep. And why sleeping pills are used. And, well, it’s created a lot of mess.
If you ever read a book or article about getting better sleep, this tip will almost always be on it. And it makes sense. However, I feel it’s not practical.
In the world we live in, no one is going to sit in a dark room for 2 hours before they go to bed every night. Literally the only thing I can think of that you would do at this time is read. And I love reading, but come on. That ain’t gonna happen every single night until the end of time. And I know enough stubborn people to know that they won’t either.
But what you can do is turn the blue light off of your devices. There is usually a night time setting you can use nowadays to help eliminate that. And you can try to use less screen time later at night. Again, I’m not saying get rid of all of it, but try to use less.
Just pick a time for your cut off point and don’t use your phone any more after that. Or just eliminate it during the week. I don’t know. I’m not a sleep coach. But just make some kind of positive change in this department and it will help you immensely.
Develop a Nighttime Routine
This is where my planning and routine making really pays off.
My nighttime routine does vary, from day to day, on weekends, and seasonally. However, generally speaking, I get in my pajamas, wash my face, brush my teeth, get my water, turn the TV on and get into bed. Sometimes I turn the humidifier on (in winter months) and sometimes I have a cup of chamomile tea before bed. Whatever it is, I am very aware I am about to go to sleep.
Have you heard of Pavlov’s dogs? It’s just like classical conditioning. Except you do it to yourself.
Develop a routine you can stick to on most nights when you’re going to bed. Not only can this make you look forward to sleep, but your body will know what’s coming once you do the specific routine.
Chamomile tea helps to calm you down which can put you in a natural sleepy state. The smell of lavender is used often as that has calming effects as well. I personally love putting eucalyptus oil in our humidifier as that helps me sleep.
Only Use Your Bed to Sleep
Ok so this is very similar to what I mentioned above – the classical conditioning thing.
In college or uni, I think most of us would study and do homework in our beds. We would eat our meals in beds. We would watch TV, sit on our phones, we’d have friends over and use our bed as a couch. I mean the bed was used for everything.
As you get older, and hopefully your apartment or home gets bigger, you generally only sleep in your bed. And that’s good – keep it that way.
However, some of us read in bed before going to sleep. Or have the TV on while falling asleep. Erm, me. Yes I do both of those things.
You’re supposed to look at your bed and think “sleep” and nothing else.
I’m all about doing what I can to ensure a good night’s rest, but I can tell you right now, I’m probably not going to stop falling asleep to Friends every night. And the nights I want to read a book before I go to sleep, I’m going to sit in bed to do it. There’s something so calming and peaceful about closing the book, turning the light off and drifting off to sleep and I’m not giving that up.
And you know what? If D decided to get up before me some day and bring me breakfast in bed, I would not throw a fit and take it into the kitchen. I would most definitely just eat the breakfast in my bed. And I would enjoy every second of it.
However, as a general rule of consensus, it’s best to limit your bed to sleep and keep it there. Just try to be cautious about what you do in bed and limit all the other activities that are not necessary to be done in bed.
Go to Bed at the Same Time Every Night
This is one of the most important but also most difficult things to do.
I mean it’s hard for me to do this and I don’t even have children yet, so I can’t imagine how unattainable this could possibly be for people who do.
I try to go to bed around the same time every night on weekdays. Although on weekends, I definitely stay up later because I enjoy the night time and I get to sleep in the next day. If I could choose, I would love to be able to stay up to 11 or 12 and get up at 8 or 9. My current job doesn’t allow this unfortunately though.
I’d suggest you do you. Do the best you can. Figure out what works best for your body and your schedule. Try to go to bed at relatively the same time if you can help it. But if you can’t help it, then oh well!
Our bodies do function best on routines and rhythms. At least mine definitely does. So it’s important to know that and know how to best take care of ourselves. Everyone is different though and what works for me may not work best for you. It’s all about trial and error.
Take my advice, and any other advice, with a grain of salt and do what feels best for you. Listen to your body. It does tell you what it needs often and once you start paying attention, you can learn from it and adapt your routines and needs around that. It is quite simple.
I hope some of these tips will be helpful in helping you getting a good night’s rest. Like anything else, try adapting these for a month. If it’s not helping, perhaps try to reevaluate why you feel like you can’t sleep, or aren’t getting the best sleep.
I am in no way a doctor or claim to be giving medical advice so if you have a serious problem or issue, of course I would suggest you see a medical professional.