We lead super busy lives. From the time we open our eyes in the morning until they close all on their own, we’re constantly on the go. With so much going on and even more to remember, it’s no wonder that so many of us have trouble sleeping at night.
Tossing and turning from dusk ’til dawn is super annoying, but what’s worse is that it’s also pretty detrimental to your overall health over the long term. The next time you find yourself begging for a visit from the sandman, try working your way through these steps. It’s unlikely that you’re going to need them all – You know you best, so pick and choose the ones that appeal to you. If they don’t work, try something else.
Good luck! Here’s to sweet dreams for years to come.
Step 1: Set the mood
LED lights are nice, but their brightness is tricking your brain into thinking it’s earlier than it is. Turning off your bedside lamp and laying in the dark long enough should tell your body it’s time to go to sleep.
Step 2: Turn off your phone
Or tablet or laptop or whatever you choose to lay in bed and scroll through ‘until you get tired’. These devices expose you to blue light which basically tells your brain to stay awake. Try to turn everything off about an hour before you want to be asleep.
Step 3: Cut the caffeine
Even if you’re not drinking java at 8pm, there are plenty of other ways to up your caffeine levels quite dramatically without even realizing it (teas and soda, for example). Caffeine can affect your melatonin levels for hours after you’ve consumed it, so try to stop consuming it around lunch.
Step 4: Don’t be such a lush
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a glass with dinner or an entire bottle over a board game – Alcohol at night is shown to lengthen the time it takes to get to sleep, cuts down on the overall quality of it, and even increase your risk of sleep apnea (which is where you just randomly stop breathing while you’re snoozing).
Step 5: Look beside you
If you share your bed, we hope that it’s with someone you like; you’ll sleep better if it is. If bitterness, resentment, or any other negative feelings are eating you up while you try to drift off, you might want to rethink some things.
Step 6: Pretend you’re five
We give children bedtime routines because we know that putting them to bed at all hours of the night will screw up their circadian rhythms something fierce. The same applies to you – Come up with a bedtime routine you can live with and practice it nightly; eventually, your body will get used to it and drift off immediately.
Step 7: Warm up your extremities
Heat escapes from our limbs pretty quickly; if we’re cold, we’re less likely to be able to sleep. Wrap up with an extra blanket, some socks, or even a hot water bottle and you should find yourself toasty warm and dozing off in no time.
Step 8: Actively fight it
Once you’re cozy and in the dark, it might be worth your while to actively try to stay awake; some people clam that they actually fall asleep faster when they’re thinking about laying in their beds unable to sleep.
Step 9: Take a bath
If that doesn’t work, draw yourself a nice warm bath. The water will warm you up, relax your muscles, and open your pores. Certain essential oils like lavender can help relax you even more. Once the water cools down, wrap up in your fuzzy PJs and head back to your duvet for the best rest you’ve had in a long time.
Step 10: Reflection
Even if you don’t believe in meditation, you’d be surprised by how much quiet reflection of all the thoughts zooming around in your head can benefit your sleep. Make peace with old grudges, forgive that coworker, and focus on a happier, healthier, well-rested you.
Step 11: Audio assistance
Some people need absolute silence to fall asleep, others find that silence to be deafening and need something to help shift their focus. If you fall into the latter crowd, try listening to classical or another relaxing type of music (maybe jazz?) – Your brain will keep listening even after you fall asleep, but the ‘sleep’ button is still your friend.
Step 12: Incorporate relaxing scents
Lavender is notorious for helping with relaxation and in turn deep sleep. People also think that it’s a lovely scent to wake up to. If you have a sunny window you can probably grow some yourself, or you could pay a few extra dollars and invest in some essential oil.
Step 13: Experiment
If you think that counting alpacas back from 1000 and rolling your shoulders in a clockwise motion is going to help you sleep, try it out! As long as it’s something that’s not going to hurt you or another person, it’s worth giving a shot.
Once you’re on a better sleeping schedule, you’re likely to feel better and more energetic almost immediately. What sorts of things do you do to help yourself visit Dreamland?