These are crazy times we are living in. There is so much uncertainty and negative emotion in the world today. This leaves most people feeling anxious and stressed, which impacts every area of your life. I want to teach you how to improve one of these areas that are often overlooked, but can make a very positive change in your life. How to sleep better.
I’ll be honest, I suck at sleep. I am someone that struggles with getting a good night’s sleep. Sometimes I sleep just fine and other times I am surprised I even make it through the day. So, this is something I too am working on.
If you have been struggling to get a good night’s sleep, these tips on how to sleep better are going to get you back on the right track.
If you don’t believe that this is going to help you, I challenge you to give these tactics a shot for a few weeks.
See for yourself.
Why Sleep Is Important
Sleep is vital to our well-being. It is what rejuvenates our mind and body, to improve our mood, health, and brain functions.
By learning how to sleep better, you will be able to more effectively handle stress and anxiety.
This is easy to see.
Just think of the last time you got a great night’s sleep and how you felt the next day. You probably felt like you could take on anything the day threw at you.
Then, compare it with a day that you didn’t sleep well. Maybe you were cranky and couldn’t think as well.
There is a big difference!
Sleep has been shown to help heal and repair your heart and blood vessels. Getting enough sleep is also important for thinking, talking, and reflexes.
If you are chronically sleep deprived you could be at a higher risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and kidney disease.
If you stop sleeping you could start to experience hallucinations after just a few days and after about 11 days, you could even die.
That is just how important sleep is for your body.
To understand a little bit more on why sleep is so important and why you need to learn how to sleep better, I want to explain the stages of sleep.
For our purposes here, we are going to talk about light sleep, deep sleep, and REM.
You spend the most time in light sleep, which consists of 50-60% of your time asleep.
During light sleep you muscles begin to relax and your heart rate and breathing slow down.
This stage helps to transition your body into deeper sleep.
It has also been show that this is the sleep stage where your body processes emotions (like stress) and memories, as well as your metabolism regulating itself.
This is the stage you need to hit to feel refreshed the next day because it helps with physical recovery.
Even though this stage makes you feel refreshed and ready to take on the day, you spend only about 20-30% of your time in deep sleep.
I struggle with getting enough deep sleep, so I can tell you from personal experience, deep sleep does make a big difference.
Without deep sleep, you are more likely to feel depressed, gain weight, and even get sick easier.
Finally, REM sleep, where you spend an average of 20-25% of your sleep time.
REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement. In this stage, you breathing actually becomes faster and your blood pressure and heart rate increase.
This is the stage where most of your dreaming occurs.
REM sleep is vital because it stimulates the portions of your brain that are essential to your memory and learning.
How Are Sleep And Stress Related
Sleep and stress are directly linked to one another.
Stress can affect how much sleep you get and the quality of that sleep. And lack of sleep can also increase your stress.
But good sleep, as mentioned earlier, can help you better process and deal with stress.
With everything going on in the world today, and all of the added stress that comes with it, it is even more of a reason to learn how to sleep better at night.
How Much Sleep You Should Get
How much sleep you need really varies from person to person.
But on average, you should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
That is the time that you actually spend sleeping, not just laying in bed.
Which means you need to make sure you are giving yourself enough time to get between 7-9 hours.
How To Track Your Sleep
Knowing how you sleep can make all the difference, which is why you want to track it.
Tracking your sleep can really help you learn how to sleep better. It allows you to see what your sleep patterns are and if you are consistent.
There are a few ways you can do this. Some people will actually do a sleep study at a hospital to be monitored. That is always an option.
You can also journal your sleep on your own.
You would write down when you went to sleep and when you wake up. You can jot down how many hours you slept that night.
It is also a good idea to write how you feel that day. If you are refreshed or tired.
That can help you determine how your sleep is and how much you really need.
My favorite way to track my sleep is with my Fitbit. Check out my post, Why You Need A Fitbit to learn more about tracking and all it can do for you.
This is a great way to accurately track you sleep and actually see the sleep stages you are in.
As I said, I have trouble sleeping sometimes, so this has been helpful for me to learn how to sleep better because I can see that I wake up a lot through the night and I need more deep sleep.
That means I can focus on things that will help me stay asleep and fall into a deeper sleep.
Tips On How To Sleep Better
Here we get to the goodies on how to sleep better. Try some of these. Try all of them. Whatever you want.
Just know, if you use some of these tips, you could see just how much better your sleep can become.
I highly suggest trying out a bunch of these to see what works best for you.
Even if it isn’t something you think you would like, like yoga or meditation, it might be just what you need to learn how to sleep better at night.
So, what do you have to lose.
1. Make Your Room Comfortable
A great place to start is making your room comfortable. Make sure you have a nice mattress and pillow. Invest a little bit if you need to.
You want to make sure that your body is comfortable. Back or neck aches are not going to help you sleep better.
A good rule of thumb is to replace your pillow every 1-2 years.
We just went over how important sleep is, so you know the investment is worth it.
Also make sure your room doesn’t have excess light or sound.
This should be a peaceful place to unwind at the end of the day.
If making it comfortable means painting it a calming color or getting a cozy blanket, then make those changes.
2. Decluttering Your Room
If you want a simple way on how to sleep better it is decluttering your room. This goes with the making your room comfortable.
If your room is messy and unorganized, it can cause stress for you. Even without you realizing it is causing you stress.
So, if your closet is spilling onto your floor, take some time to straighten things up. Get your shoe collection in order and consider getting some bins for organization.
If you need more ideas on how to organize your closet, check out my post on How To Get Organized To Improve Your Health.
3. Weighted Blanket
If you have a lot of stress and anxiety, this could be the key for you on how to sleep better.
A weighted blanket is designed to mimic the feeling of being held. It provides warm gentle pressure on your body.
This helps you to de-stress, relieve anxiety, and relax.
If you are someone that has trouble falling asleep, this can help you falls asleep more quickly and helps you sleep better overall.
When you feel calm and relaxed, it is much easier to fall asleep.
There are many different sizes and weights for blankets. The one featured below has a lot a great reviews and not just from Amazon.
I do not personally have a weighted blanket, yet. But I know others that have them and they has told me it really does help.
4. Make A Sleep Schedule
This is very important because it allows your body to get in a routine. It helps reinforce your circadian rhythm, which is your bodies awake/sleep cycles.
If you do not currently go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, this is a habit you should start now.
Once you get into the routine, your body will start to feel tired when it is time to go to bed. And be ready to wake up when it knows it is time to.
5. Schedule Idle Time Before Bed
This is a super easy how to sleep better tip. Life is stressful and busy, so adding some time at the end of the day to, in a sense, be lazy, can help you sleep better.
By adding some lazy time before bed, it helps your mind and body to calm down. That way when you lay down for bed, your thoughts aren’t racing and your body is already working on lowering your blood pressure and slowing your breathing.
This makes it so much easier to fall asleep.
Idle time could include meditating, listening to music, or reading a book.
6. Cut Alcohol After 6pm
Depending on your sleep schedule, the actual time you should cut off alcohol will vary.
Make sure that you stop drinking a few hours before bed.
There are many people out there that believe they fall asleep easier when they have alcohol.
That is true that you might be able to fall asleep faster, but the problem is, alcohol suppresses REM sleep.
From the information you read earlier, you know that REM sleep is important for your memory and learning.
7. Skip The Snooze
If you are like most people, you might be one that hits the snooze button a lot.
If you want to learn how to sleep better, learn to set your clock for the time you need to wake up and get up when it goes off.
Snoozing can lead to grogginess instead of feeling awake and refreshed.
I am one that typically gets up right away when the alarm goes off. I can say from experience that if I do hit the snooze, I can tell that I feel more tired than usual.
If you are a snoozer, type this tip to sleep better!
8. Finish Eating Before 7pm
Again, depending on when you go to bed, this time will change. Finish eating a few hours before bed.
This is very important for those who experience heartburn.
Eating late can aggravate your heartburn, making it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Also, if you are someone that likes a sweet treat after dinner, you want to make sure you are done eating well before bed.
The sugar in your dessert could make it difficult for you to fall asleep as well.
9. Avoid Caffeine After 3pm
Many people enjoy coffee, soda, and energy drinks that are packed with caffeine.
I love coffee and enjoy having a soda on occasion.
I have tested this tip and I can say, it is a great way on how to sleep better.
Caffeine disrupts your sleepiness. It makes it harder for you to wind down at the end of the day.
I know if I have a coffee or soda later in the day, when it’s time for bed I am still energized.
I have had people tell me that they feel they need caffeine to get through the day.
The thing is, if you work on getting better sleep, you might not need that caffeine at all.
10. No Screens After 8:30pm
In a world filled with electronics and social media, this is not a bad thing.
Not only can social media be a cause of stress, by seeing so many “positive” things while you might be having a tough time, but the light is also bad for you.
The reason for this is that electronics emit blue light.
Blue light from your screens lower the production of melatonin, which is a hormone that regulates sleep.
A lower production of melatonin throws off your sleep cycle.
Make sure to shut off your phone, computer, and TV, at least a half hour before bed.
11. Cut Out Naps After 5pm
Are you someone that likes to take a nap?
If so, you should be giving yourself about a 4 hour buffer from when you are taking a nap and bedtime.
Taking a nap too late in the day or for too long can interfere with your sleep.
Taking a quick 20 min nap when you get home from work can be refreshing, but if you can make it to bedtime without one, it could help you sleep better.
12. Sound Machine
This is a how to sleep tip that is perfect for some people but not others.
Some people need some noise while they sleep, while others need complete silence.
I know many people that keep a fan on for some background noise.
Getting a sound machine can be very helpful. Even if you aren’t sure if you would like sound, it is something to consider.
Sound machines have many different sound options to choose from and just keeping it on while you wind down for bed can help calm your mind.
Plus, you can get a nice sound machine for pretty cheap, so there is really no reason to not try it out.
13. Keep Your Bed ONLY For Sleep And Sex
If you are someone who likes to lounge in their bed all day, this could be hindering your sleep.
Even watching TV in your bed for a while before you go to bed can cause issues.
Keep your bed for what it is meant for. Sleep and sex.
By doing this, you are going to help your body associate your bed with sleep.
Therefore, when you go lay down, it is going to be a message to your brain and body that it is time to sleep.
So, you will be able to get your body into sleep mode much faster.
14. Be Mindful
I can say from experience that this is a good how to sleep better tip.
You can’t expect your body or mind to go from energized to sleeping within a matter of moments.
Make sure you relax an appropriate amount of time before bed. Try deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.
I have tried some nighttime yoga to help myself relax my mind and body for bed. It was only about 10-15 minutes and it really did help me.
I know it helped because I haven’t been doing it the past couple weeks and I can tell I don’t fall asleep as fast for sure.
This is something I plan on getting back into again.
Like most of these tips, you might not realize they are the thing that is going to work for you until you give them a shot.
So, even if you don’t think you would like being mindful and trying yoga or meditation, it is wise to still give it a chance.
15. Get a Workout Routine Going
Working out is great for your body in many ways and now you can add sleeping better to that list.
Studies have some that moderate exercise can help you fall asleep faster and help you get deep sleep.
Exercise also improves your mood and decreases stress, which also promotes a better night’s rest.
As for when you exercise, there is a debate. Some say you should in the morning while others think later in the day or before bed.
Do what is best for your body.
Once you get into working out, try it in the morning and later in the day to see how your body reacts.
From there, you will be able to determine when is best for your body to exercise.
The other awesome part of this tip is that you can exercise for 30 minutes today and you could experience the benefit of better sleep tonight.
This is not something that takes weeks or months before you see results.
16. Cover Your Clock
This is an interesting tip on how to sleep better that most people don’t think about.
And once I explain it, you may have an aha moment.
First, if your clock is digital, the numbers might be a bright color. That extra light can be just enough to bother your eyes and make it difficult to fall asleep. Covering it can get rid of the extra light.
The other reason you want to cover your clock is so you aren’t constantly looking at it.
Continuously looking at your clock and watching the minutes pass puts a lot of pressure on you to fall asleep quickly.
I have been guilty of this before. I have woken up in the middle of the night, look at the clock and calculate how much time yet I have to sleep before I have to get up.
Remember, the key is to relax your mind and body to sleep better.
So, cover your clock and stop thinking about the time.
17. Keep Room Temp Around 70 Degrees
The temperature of your room can make all the difference in your sleep.
The average temperature that people find comfortable for their room is 70 degrees.
So, if you aren’t sure how hot or cold you like your room, start what that and go from there.
I know I sleep better when our room is cooler. I like to snuggle up under the blankets to feel cozy.
That means in summer, if it isn’t cool enough in our room, we have to bust out the fans to make it more comfortable and put a light blanket on the bed.
18. Take a Hot Shower or Bath Before Bed
I like this tip on how to sleep better because you can pair it up with other tips.
What I mean is, you could take a hot bath and read a book or meditate at the same time.
If you are a shower person, you could try working out later in the day or do some yoga before you shower.
Taking a hot shower or bath before bed can help you relax and sooth your body.
You can fall asleep more quickly from the hot water changing your body’s core temperature, so that it is lower already when you go to bed.
19. Make A List
This is something I learned I have to do. I feel like my mind is always going and if I don’t want to forget something, I will keep thinking about it to make sure I remember.
That includes at night when I am trying to sleep.
Start writing down your to-do list to reduce your thoughts at night. If it is written down, you don’t have to worry about remembering it.
It is a good idea to keep a notepad by the bed, so if you feel yourself starting to worry about something you need to do the next day, you can just write it down.
I can tell you this one has been a game changer for me. Once I write it down I am free to forget it.
It really does help unwind the mind.
20. Try Melatonin
How to sleep better and melatonin are always linked. I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked if I have tried melatonin to sleep.
Melatonin is a hormone in your body, but there is also a natural supplement you can take.
It can help you fall asleep faster and doesn’t leave you feeling groggy the next day. It is also not habit forming.
When I have used it in the past, it really did help me fall asleep fast, but I would still wake up in the middle of the night and sometimes it felt like it would take me even longer than usual to fall back asleep.
If you have trouble falling asleep, it is for sure something to try and is pretty cheap as well.
21. Try 4-7-8 Breathing Technique
There are many different breathing techniques out there. The purpose of them is to lower your heart rate and relax the body.
The optimal heart rate for sleep is 60 beats per minute or lower.
The 4-7-8 breathing can help you get to the optimal level.
How it works is, you inhale for 4 seconds, hold that breath for 7 seconds, and exhale slowly for 8 seconds.
You repeat that as many time as you need to.
I know there are people out there that don’t like to count out their breathing. You can really get the same effect if you take deep breaths slowly and release them slowly.
That focusing on breathing is actually a relaxation technique as well, so you get that added benefit too.
22. Get More Sunlight
We talked a little bit earlier about your circadian rhythm being your bodies sleep/wake cycle. So, it tells your body when it is time to sleep and time to be awake.
Sunlight and bright light during the day is important because it helps keep you circadian rhythm health.
By keeping your circadian rhythm healthy, you will experience more energy during the day and improved sleep quality and duration as night.
It is recommended to get 30-45 minutes of sunlight each day. So, go for a walk, do your exercise outside, or just sit and read a book. There are many easy ways to get the sunlight you need while benefiting you in others ways as well.
23. See Your Doctor
As always, talk to your doctor.
If you think you may need medication or something like a sleep study, they will give you the best information that is right for you.
Always get checked if you think you have a sleep disorder or if you have any other concerns about your sleep health.
How To Sleep Better At Night
We have just covered everything you need to know about sleep and tips to get a better night’s rest.
To get better sleep, start by understanding just how important sleep is, so you make getting better sleep a priority.
You need an adequate amount of sleep in light sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep.
By getting restful sleep, you can better manage your stress and anxiety, while improving your mood and health.
And give these tips a try, even if you aren’t too sure about them. Like making your room comfortable, organizing it, getting a weighted blanket or sound machine, exercise routinely, try a hot shower, melatonin, or even yoga and meditation.
There are many ways on how to sleep better. Try these tips and you might just find your better night’s sleep.