When I first became a parent, sleep was hard to come by. I quickly learned that it wasn’t necessarily how much sleep I got, but the quality and my routine that made a huge difference. Here are my top 10 tips for getting a better night sleep.
We all know how important sleep is, but maybe you feel helpless because you just can’t fit a couple more hours of sleep in your schedule. You’re in luck! You don’t need a full 8 hours of sleep every night to feel rested and energized. The quality of sleep you get is almost more important. While, getting less than 6 hours of sleep every night will take it’s toll, getting 8 hours of broken, tossing and turning sleep, is the same thing.
How to Get a Better Night Sleep
1. Stop those turning wheels.
The first thing you need to do is decide what makes your mind turn. That is my problem. I’m always thinking about what I need or want to do and end up cutting into the precious little time I have to sleep. To help you hit your pillow and fall asleep faster, you need to know what your Achilles heel is.
Does thinking about work, school, your children’s education, an exciting event keep you up? Whatever it is, stay away from all things that have to do with it for at least 2 hrs before you head to bed. If it is a conflict with someone in your life, try to write down what you want to say to the person in order to resolve that conflict.
2. Release extra energy.
Another reason your mind won’t stop at night is extra energy. Let it out a couple hours before going to sleep. You don’t want to do it too close to bed time because that will fill you with adrenaline.
This doesn’t have to be a full work out, but something that gets your heart rate up like jumping jacks, go on the trampoline with your kids, run in place, have a quick dance party, clean, whatever you can do to expend that energy and help your body feel tired at the end of the day.
3. Plan your Sleep.
This has worked wonders for me! Go to sleep and get up at the same time each day. Try to get within a 1/2 hour. This ill help program you to feel sleepy when it is time to go to bed and wake up refreshed and ready to go. So if you can only get 6 hours, make sure that you are taking those 6 hours the same time each day.
Here’s an excuse to sun bathe. Try getting at least 30 minutes of sunlight exposure during the day. Open all the windows you can. You might even consider getting special full-spectrum light bulbs if you live in a place that doesn’t get much sun or even take a trip to the tanning bed once a week.
5. Avoid Alcohol.
It may make you feel drowsy, but alcohol can rob you of deep sleep and dreaming. When the effects wear off, you are more likely to wake up in the middle of the night. Instead, try a natural remedy like RESCUE Sleep Liquid Melts available now in the US at CVS, Walgreens, Whole Foods, Sprouts and wherever you find natural products.
These provide natural relief of occasional sleeplessness caused by stress and repetitive thoughts. I like these because they are gentle and safe, non-habit-forming and there are no side effects. There’s no taste and they just dissolve on the tougue. It seemed to help me fall asleep fast. After taking them, I barely remember hitting the pillow. Get a BOGO coupon to try it for yourself!
6. No Food or Drink
This can be almost as bad as alcohol. I know that it is one of my weaknesses for sure! Eating right before bed can cause indigestion and I’m more likely to wake up to have to go to the bathroom. If you have to have a snack, keep it small and stay away from bread. Try nuts, meat, a banana, or a handful of granola.
7. Makeover your Environment.
Make your bedroom your sleep sanctuary. Never have a TV or computer in your bedroom. You want your brain to associate your bed with sleeping and that is it. Also keep it very dark, this not only helps you sleep, but your body will produce the correct melatonin levels needed to regulate hormones and reduce the risk of certain cancers.
8. What makes you bored?
Watching TV is what the majority of Americans do right before bed, but this is a big mistake. The light supresses melatonin production and stimulates the brain. Even steer clear of eReaders that are backlit. Listen to a really boring audio book, music or grab a really boring chemistry book to read.
9. Relax and Breathe Deep
There are lots of different relaxation strategies you can use to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep. One way is to practice deep breathing. The 4,7,8 trick to falling asleep is the most popular and it works for me most of the time. You just breathe in for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7, and breathe out for 8. Try doing this several times when you are laying in bed.
Another thing that I do is to relax my body. I start by tightening every muscle in my body. Then slowly from head to toe, I relax the muscles.
10. Catch up another day.
Sundays are reserved for long naps in our family. Right after lunch we lay down and catch up on some lost sleep. If you can’t dedicate a few hours to nap on one day, try breaking it up into smaller naps on several days. A 30 minute power nap will really help!
What helps you relax and sleep better? Please leave a comment!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.