I have compiled some of my best tips for sleeping better that have helped me personally over the years. I am one of those people who are “night owls” meaning I could easily stay up super late without trying too hard.
I have realized however, that when I do this I always feel significantly worse the next day. Recently I have gotten into the habit of sleeping super late, and that happened because I don’t have really early classes, plus honestly, being in college makes me super lazy and tired sometimes, particularly after I spent a night out.
Now, that I am back home for the summer and starting my internship soon, I plan on getting my sleep schedule back on track and in a very set rhythm.
Without further ado, here are my tips for better sleep that hopefully some of you will be able to incorporate!!!
PHONE OFF BY 10 PM
I know I know, this one is probably the hardest which is why I put it first. However, it is very important that your eyes are not exposed to the harmful blue light coming from your phone, computer or tablet, past 10 pm, or even earlier. I usually am going to sleep by 11:15-11:30, so if I shut my phone off at 10pm that usually gives me enough time to have my melatonin flowing. And, unless I have an alarm set, I mean I shut my phone fully off. This means I won’t be receiving any buzzes or dings throughout the night. If you don’t want to shut your phone off entirely, put it on airplane mode. Not only will the harmful electromagnetic rays coming from your phone will be muted, but you won’t be getting any notifications. The science here is that the blue light from your cellphone basically inhibits your melatonin production. Melatonin is what makes you feel sleepy, and allows you to fall asleep fast and have a nice, deep sleep. If you’re staring at a bright beam of light coming from your cellphone right before you plan to go to sleep, this is definitely going to mess up that melatonin production and you’ll have a harder time falling asleep and getting into a deep sleep. So, phones off! There are other things to do instead.
Do something mind-numbing and relaxing.
If you’re not scrolling through Instagram, what are you supposed to do for those hours before going to sleep? There are a few things I like personally. One is light yoga stretching which I do every single night because I find that when my muscles are stretched out, I sleep better. Another practice you can try is journaling. Jot down some things that happened that day that stood out, write down reasons you’re grateful, goals you have in the future. I do this sometimes, but I find that writing down goals or ideas can sometimes be a bit too stimulating for me (I get so excited and my mind keeps racing) so I read instead. If you can find a good book that isn’t too complicated, and doesn’t have an insane plot that will keep you up all night, that is perfect. I like self-help books or informational books, for example.
So many people are on sleep medications nowadays, and this is truly a depressing fact. Once you get hooked on sleep medication, it is basically impossible to sleep without them which becomes a very dangerous, addictive cycle. These medications are not good for your body; they disrupt your body’s natural circadian rhythm, sleep hormones, and can have horrific side effects like nightmares or night sweats. Avoid them. There are all-natural options out there. One is lavender oil. You can buy sleep balms with lavender in them, light a candle, use some aromatherapy, or simply dab some pure lavender oil on your wrists and breathe it in real slow.
Create a sleep-inducing environment.
It should be quiet when you are going to sleep. If you live in a city or surrounded by noisy people however (this is a fact of life that most of us can’t avoid or get around) then try using a white noise machine or a fan. I personally cannot sleep without a fan, as I have been using one since I was a baby. There are also apps you can use with noise proof headphones, my favorite is the White Noise app. Brown Noise is my personal favorite, but they have so many options. I use this for studying as well. Earplugs also work if you need to block out sound. I just ordered some really high-quality soundproofing curtains for my room which will add another layer of noise isolation in my room. I am very sensitive to noise, so even a car going by can disturb me. Creating a quiet environment in my room is essential to feel at peace.
Create a good relationship with your bed.
I’m sure you all have heard this tip somewhere, and that is to only get in your bed if you are sleeping or making love. And yes, there is science behind this! Basically, your mind forms this habit with the bed where it knows that once you are getting in, those two things are the only options. If you are lounging in your bed all day on your phone, computer, or doing work, your body will have a harder time falling asleep because it doesn’t recognize the relationship I just talked about. So, as tempting as it is to get in bed with your computer, try really hard to break this habit. Even if you are sitting on the floor of your room, doing some stretching or yoga, that is fine. Just don’t get in your bed and lay there for hours and then expect to fall asleep right away (this doesn’t work for me).
Bring your breathing down.
If you had a stressful day and your mind is racing, it can be super helpful to do some breathing exercises. There is actually this specific exercise called the 4-7-8 breathing exercise that is shown to help your brain relax and allow you to fall asleep faster. What you do is inhale through your nose for four counts, hold your breath for seven counts, and exhale completely through your mouth to 8 counts. You do this a few more times. It’s very important to follow the seconds as exact as you can, and practice makes perfect with these kind of exercises.
Thanks for reading; hope these were helpful!