Sleep is one of the most important things for me to feel on top of my game. Without enough of it, I’m more moody, more prone to eat junk, and more irritable. I’m also less productive and less happy. Without enough sleep, I drag through the day in a daze. It’s difficult to feel good when you’re in a sleep deprived haze. My mind doesn’t feel sharp but foggy. Because of all this, I prioritize it over exercise, work, socializing, staying up and watching Game of Thrones with hubby, and even bathing! If you want even more reason to prioritize sleep, Arianna Huffington has a lot to say on the matter. I’m no sleep expert, but the following tips on how to sleep better work for me almost every single night.
How to sleep better: 7 Things I do to get a good night’s sleep
1. Set a “Get in Bed” alarm every night.
As soon as I heard of the idea of setting an alarm on my phone to remind me every night to get to bed, it made perfect sense. People set an alarm in the morning to wake up because work is important to them. Well, something as important as sleep deserves it’s own alarm. Without an alarm, I’m constantly looking at the clock, and usually, by the time I realize it’s time to go to bed, it’s already too late. For a long time, I didn’t even know when I should be going to bed!
When do you set your “get to bed” alarm?
I get up at 4:30 to make coffee and lunch for my hubby, and my little one, Noah, wakes up around the same time. So for me, I set my “get to bed” alarm at 8:30. I’ve already done my night routine of washing my face, flossing my teeth, etc. by this time. (I do it right after I put Noah to bed at 7:30 so I don’t have to do it when I’m already tired after watching Game of Thrones with hubby). I set my alarm for 8:30 because I want to actually be asleep by 9pm, to get 7 1/2 hours of sleep. This gives me a 30 minute buffer time to do any of the following-cuddle in bed with Nate, talk, get intimate, and look at my to do list for the next day or read the Bible/meditate/do my gratitude journaling.
So my suggestion is to figure out when you have to wake up and go back 8- 8 1/2 hours and set your “get to bed” alarm for that time.
What if I don’t have a set time that I need to get up?
Get to know your body’s rhythms. I know most people will think my 4:30 wake up time is bonkers, but my husband, my baby, and I are all morning people. We get the most done in the mornings, so waking up early allows us to really get the most of our days. From 4:30-7:30 I do my chores, exercise, cook, clean, shower, do my hair and makeup, and choose my outfit for my photo session. I work on my blog from around 8-1 and by around 2 or 3 I’m pretty much useless.
Maybe you’re a night owl. Great! I think the best thing, as much as is possible given your work and family demands, is to honor your body’s natural rhythm. Maybe your power hours to get things done are in the evening from 8-midnight. Maybe you can’t get to bed until 2am. That’s fine. Just try your best to work in 7 1/2 hours of sleep from that time on and don’t feel guilty “sleeping in.” Just because you wake up later than a lot of people, doesn’t mean you’re “sleeping in” if you’re just getting the sleep you need. If your family and work demands allow it, keep your sleep schedule pretty consistent, even if that means a 2am sleep time and a 9:30 wake time. In this situation, just put your “get to bed” alarm at either 1 or 1:30am (depending on if you’ve done your night routine already or not) and honor your bedtime.
Of course I got the idea from my favorite podcast, Happier. Here’s the episode if you’re interested.
2. Cool room, thin sheets, warm covers.
When it comes to how to sleep better, environmental factors in your room make a difference. We sleep with the room at 64 degrees! Studies show that people sleep better in a cooler room. We have a thicker outer duvet on our bed on top and a thin sheet underneath. I like to make sure the bed isn’t snug. My feet don’t like the feeling. I like the covers to be unattached to the bed. The thicker outer duvet is great for covering up the lower half of the body and the thin sheet is great for covering the upper body. Don’t forget to cover your shoulders! It’s hard for me to sleep when my shoulder is uncovered. Also, both of my feet have to be in the covers. Warm, unbound feet, thinly covered shoulders, and a cool face. This is the perfect setting for falling asleep. My absolute favorite sheets are from Macy’s. Charter Club sheets are so silky feeling on your bare legs. I’m curious about their Sleepcool line for anyone who runs warmer, or if you’re like me, is married to a heater. haha.
3. Low pillow. I like down.
I guess I’m just a super picky sleeper. Every time we go to a hotel or visit a relative overnight, I bring my own down pillow. Regular pillows are always sooo high, and I can’t sleep when my head feels like it’s being pushed forward. If you haven’t tried a down pillow, it might make a huge difference in your sleep like it did for me. My hubby is the exact same way. We like the down pillows because they are very low, but they give you just enough neck support so you’re not actually laying flat. I fluff mine before bed so I get just enough pillow to fit into that gap between the shoulders and the head. The rest of the pillow puffs up on the sides of my ears. It’s like your head is getting a big hug from a fluffy cloud. I also sleep on my back.
4. Sleep mask.
Even when the room is pitch black, I have to have my sleep mask. This one looks the best from everything I’ve come across. It’s the closest thing to what I have which is so old it’s no longer being made. I’m super picky when it comes to a sleep mask too. It has to have a very loose band. Most eye masks are sooo tight! It also has to not let any light in.
5. White Noise.
Babies love it. You will too. It will lull you to sleep. I turn on the fan on full blast but keep the air flowing away from me. I even have an app on my phone for when I’m traveling. It’s very hard for me to sleep without white noise.
6. Worry list/stress list.
Sometimes it’s hard to sleep because you have so much on your mind. You feel like you need to think about it, whatever it is, because if you don’t, you won’t come up with solutions. How to sleep better when your mind won’t settle down? What I do for this scenario is to keep a stress/ worry list. Whatever it is you’re worried about, free your mind and allow yourself to get some sleep by using the power of procrastination. By writing down a worry/stress list, you acknowledge what’s wrong that’s going on, but you clear your mind to think of it at a later time. You’ve put it out into the universe. You will get to thinking and ruminating about it some other time, but right now your sleep is important.
7. Have sex. I mean have an orgasm.
If you have a spouse available, have sex! And try not to pick up your phone afterwards. Immediately after an orgasm is the best time to fall asleep, so don’t waste that time by checking your phone.
How to sleep better when you’re alone?
If you don’t have a partner, or your partner is already asleep, it’s time to talk solo sex. If you don’t know how to get an orgasm on your own, it’s time you figured it out. I’m serious! Sleep is that important, and an orgasm will help you get there faster.
That’s it! I’m curious, do you use any of these tactics? What helps you fall asleep fast and have a better night’s sleep?
Do you want more tips on how to sleep better?
I wrote about how to use your Fitbit to encourage you to sleep more as a new mom.