When I was little, I hated going to sleep. It felt like such a waste of time to me. I complained to my mom that the idea of a third of my life being devoted to sleep seemed sacrilege (and I’m sure I used those EXACT words).
Then I hit a time in my life in my later adolescent years where I WISHED I could sleep. Sleep evaded me like it was my worst enemy. Racing thoughts, packed agendas, and general nagging worries kept me awake for hours at night, woke me up in the middle of the night, and sometimes got me out of bed hours before I needed to be. Needless to say, it was not a fun few years.
If there was any positive to those restless few years, it was that I saw firsthand the disruptions poor sleep had on my life. My focus was rattled, my emotions were difficult to wrangle, and I felt exhausted most of the time. These negative effects motivated me to want to improve my sleeping habits.
It took some experimenting and commitment, but improve them I did! <hallelujah, celebratory jig, etc>. Here are some of the tips that worked best for me:
Drink a cup of chamomile tea. Drinking this tea specifically is associated with an increase of glycine, a chemical that relaxes nerves and muscles and acts like a mild sedative. I’m all for a natural way to feel more relaxed!
Meditate. I use my headspace meditation app most nights because I prefer guided meditations, but sometimes I’ll change it up and just cue up an hour of soothing sounds from any youtube meditation video.
Exercise earlier in the day. If you exercise at night-time, you’ll ramp up your brain more and it might make it harder to sleep.
No screen time a half hour before bed. Honestly, this one is hit and miss for me, but I find that when I’m able to actually keep my phone off for that half hour before falling asleep, I feel more rested in the morning when I wake up.
Limit yourself to one cup of coffee a day. This one is so challenging for me but I absolutely find that when I limit my caffeine intake to one cup of coffee a day I sleep significantly better than when I have 2 (or 3… or 4…) cups.
Invest in a good mattress. I used a tempur-pedic cloud supreme for a while, but I’ve recently switched to Casper, which is a bit firmer and I like it better. When I first went to purchase my cloud supreme a few years back, I was DISTURBED by how expensive the price point was, but with time I’ve decided that sleep is a worthwhile investment. If you can spare the change for better sleep, do it.
Do a brain dump before going to sleep. I do this if I’m feeling anxious or have more than usual on my plate. I set a timer for 20 minutes and I jot down everything I need to get done as well as everything that’s weighing on my mind – big, little, and in between. Laying it all out on paper is so cathartic and helpful for me and it almost always results in an easier, better sleep.
Alright, team, those are my favorite tips. What do you do to fall asleep better? Any tips that weren’t on this list? Do you have difficulties with sleep in general or are you naturally just a good sleeper?
Looking forward to your thoughts,