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How To Get Quality Rest When You’re Having Trouble Improving Your Sleep
Having restless nights due to stress from school or work?
These tips for better sleep and relaxation techniques will hopefully help cure your insomnia and help your overall mental health.
It’s 7-9 hours, by the way
Note: If you’d like to submit a sleeping tip of your own, you can do so here. If accepted, we will add your tip to this post and link back to your site.
So, what if you could fix your sleeping pattern and get your perfect sleep tonight?
Unfortunately, there’s no overnight solution, but this will be the next best thing to one.
We went ahead and scoured the internet looking for the best information possible.
Everyone deals with racing thoughts, insomnia, poor sleep habits, not being tired enough, etc. even us, from time to time, which is why we use these sleep tips daily to get the best rest possible.
Getting your ideal sleep cycle and maintaining it isn’t an easy task.
Your schedule changes, sometimes you have to deal with jet lag, and unforeseen circumstances disrupt your habits. Even with these obstacles, your sleep shouldn’t take a huge toll.
To reinforce and give you the ease of mind that you’re getting the best possible guidance to your sleep journey, we reached out to experts on this subject and also got contributions from everyday people who have their own remedies that work for them.
Ready for your best night of sleep?
The Fundamentals Of Sleep
Before we get to the sleep tips section (you can skip below if you’ve read this part. If you haven’t, we recommend you stick around) let’s quickly go over why it’s so important and how quality sleep can help you avoid a lot of health problems in the future.
Below are the conclusions made in “The Importance of Healthy Sleep.
Recommendations and Future Priorities” by American Thoracic Society ad hoc Committee on Healthy Sleep.
Good-quality sleep is critical for good health and overall quality of life.
- The amount of sleep needed by an individual varies significantly with age across a person’s life span.
- Children are not merely smaller adults regarding sleep and differ importantly from adults, thereby requiring specific attention to sleep maturational processes.
- Disparities exist in sleep health partly due to modifiable factors for adequate sleep quality and quantity such as having a safe, predictable place for sleep and being able to devote adequate time to obtain sufficient sleep.
- Short sleep duration (≤6 hours per 24-hour period) is associated with adverse outcomes including mortality.
- Long sleep duration (>9–10 hours per 24-hour period) may be associated with adverse health outcomes.
- As such, the committee believes that the optimal sleep duration for adults for good health at a population level is 7–9 hours, although individual variability exists.
- Drowsy driving is an important cause of fatal and nonfatal motor vehicle crashes.
- Occupational demands are a frequent cause of insufficient sleep and can contribute to accident risk in the workplace.
- Sleep disorders are common, cause significant morbidity, and have substantial economic impact, but are treatable.
- Many individuals with sleep disorders remain undiagnosed and untreated.
So what can you start doing to make sure you’re on track to good-quality sleep?
Important And Actionable Sleep Tips You Can Start Using Tonight
1. Schedule Your Sleep
Remember being forced to go to sleep at a certain bedtime when you were little?
Sleeping and waking up at the same time everyday (this includes weekends) is essential in establishing and reinforcing a sleep-wake cycle.
2. Dealing With Persistent Thoughts
Most people have trouble relaxing due to persistent, aggravating, or stressful thoughts at some point in life.
Of course, some people are more prone to negative emotion and neuroticism and have a greater tendency to suffer from this annoying phenomenon.
One of the worst consequences of persistent thoughts is they can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.
It’s important to understand what these thoughts are for…
The brain contains the memories, beliefs, and opinions that we call the Self.
But the brain is also an organ, and like any other organ, it has a function that it will perform when your system is properly stimulated.
Just as the gut produces digestive fluids, the brain produces simulations of situations that it deems to be both dangerous and likely to occur.
They are the way the brain warns you and tries to help you prepare for trouble.
So, what should you do?
The way to deal with persistent thoughts is to change your behavior and your approach to life in such a way that you are not likely to be threatened by the situations represented in those thoughts.
These relentless thoughts are telling you that something about you is making you vulnerable, and that something needs to change.
3. Cover Your Eyes
Today, there are artificial bright lights everywhere.
They have a similar effect as sunlight on our systems in that they prevent our pineal gland from releasing melatonin which enables us to prepare for sleep.
Even if there is a distant street light flickering half a block away, it can hinder your ability to sleep soundly.
Even though there are artificial lights around that we can’t get rid of, we can still cover up our eyes.
Some people use a sleep mask, while others prefer just using a black t-shirt.
The advantage of a t-shirt is that it fills in the gaps that the bridge of your nose can make when you use something more rigid.
4. By Any Means Necessary (Sleeping Pills)
Sleep, next to laughter, is the best medicine.
Our bodies do most or our healing during deep sleep.
That means, if you aren’t getting at least three hours of deep sleep each night, you are going to wear down rapidly.
Not sleeping is worse for your health than smoking or eating badly.
If absolutely nothing is working for you- maybe you have severe anxiety or work a middle of the night shift, sleeping pills can be a good option.
Most of the time, using sleeping pills will help get you into the rhythm and habit of sleeping better.
So you will not necessarily need them for the long term.
If you find yourself needing sleeping pills for more than six months, you should talk to your doctor.
5. Turn Off Your Electronics
Another sleep tip can be seen with the majority of people in our modern world owning some sort of electronic device they use everyday.
It can be very hard to let go when you’re trying to make sure you didn’t miss out on something important right before you go to sleep.
Electronics disrupt your sleep, especially if they emit blue cool light.
6. Turn Off The WiFi
Wireless devices use microwave radiation to transmit digital information.
This radiation does have some ill effects on your health.
It can hinder the healing process that is engaged during sleep and can cause minor cell damage.
Also, for people with Internet addictions, having the WiFi on is just an invitation to stay up longer or to get up and go online.
If you are intrigued by the previous tip, you should consider downloading your lectures so that the WiFi stays off.
Also, we understand that, if for business or other practical reasons you simply cannot turn off your wireless devices- try to keep them at least five feet away from you while you sleep as studies have shown wireless signals can disrupt proper sleep.
7. Wear Yourself Out
Today, a lot of people do not expend the amount of energy that our bodies are optimized to expend each day.
If you work in an office or telecommute, this probably pertains to you.
It’s really important to proper sleep that we get enough regular exercise each day.
Getting a gym subscription can be great for many people.
Others may simply go for a long walk each day, or work in the garden.
Here’s the trick:
Think of this as a way to get back to nature- if possible, or to do more of the things you enjoy.
Spend time hiking or just strolling on the beach.
If you live with a disability that affects your mobility, special exercise equipment may suit your needs.
A gym membership and a personal trainer can help out with that as well.
8. Don’t Go To Bed On A Full Stomach
During sleep, the digestive function is one of the many activities that your body stops doing in order to divert resources to healing, repair, and resetting processes.
If you go to bed with a full belly, you can stop this switch-off, or inhibit it.
If you’re starving and need a little something on your stomach, a piece of fruit is probably best since fruits are the easiest thing to digest.
If you’re using sleeping pills, having some fruit is a good idea to help protect your stomach from the irritation pills can cause.
9. Create Sleeping Rituals
One sleep tip is that when the alarm goes off, you wake up to hit the snooze button.
When your doorbell rings, that means someone’s at the door.
With this in mind, create signals that tell your body it’s time to fall asleep:
-Play some ocean sounds looping in the background
-Light some incense
-Clean up your desk right before you want to go to sleep
Once you form these habits by doing them over and over again, your body will naturally get drowsy because your body will begin to associate these psychological activities with going to bed.
10. Avoid Cool Lights Before Going To Sleep
Anything that emits light in a blue wavelength will disrupt your sleep, because it naturally signals your brain that it’s daytime.
If you use your computer or smartphone a lot in the evenings, there are apps available that will mimic a warm tone which blocks out blue light making it easier to fall asleep.
11. Listen To An Audio Lecture
If you’re a curious person, or are self-improvement oriented and have trouble falling asleep, listening to an intellectual lecture can be a great solution.
There are thousands of free lectures available on YouTube and elsewhere online entirely for free.
Here’s the best part:
You can learn something valuable and intellectually enriching while distracting yourself from whatever is keeping you awake.
12. Love Your Bedroom
If your bedroom is untidy or unpleasant in any way, it can keep you from feeling totally comfortable in it.
Like any room, your bedroom should be uncluttered, facilitate ease of movement, and be optimized for its intended purpose.
Put some effort into making your bedroom as simple and beautiful as possible.
It should be a sanctuary for two activities: sleeping and sex.
What’s the bottom line?
TVs, clutter, and other distractions do not belong in there.
13. Avoid Caffeinated Beverages And Midnight Snacks
Avoid caffeinated beverages, especially coffee, 6 hours before you go to sleep as they will disrupt quality sleep significantly.
Some nights you’ll need that extra boost to stay alert, but it is highly recommended that you don’t make it a habit.
14. Learn To Meditate
Meditation is an ancient practice where we learn to take control of our fretful, quivering minds.
By starting a meditation practice you can learn to control your impulses- impulses that can keep you awake.
It can also offer a powerful solution to those persistent thoughts which can be so disruptive.
Best of all:
By learning to be meditative- we can use meditation while we lay in bed waiting to fall asleep.
If you are the sort of person who tends to lay in bed for long periods of time before falling asleep- meditating in bed can help tremendously.
If you can learn to enjoy meditating, then doing it in bed can make laying down and being still much more appealing than it was before.
15. Become A Fan Of Your Dreams
Sleep tips can be gathered in the original serial drama; dreams can bring meaning and wonder into our lives- especially if we learn to watch them closely.
Use a dream journal to keep track of your dreams and make a regular practice of following them throughout your life.
This, like meditation, can bring a whole new appeal to the idea of laying down and being still.
16. Stop Focusing On Sleep
Rather than stressing yourself out about your need for sleep, focus more on simple relaxation when you’re feeling restless.
Practice deep breathing and different meditation strategies to relax your body and your mind.
Here’s the thing:
While relaxation is not as effective as sleep is, it provides helpful benefits and could lead to sleep if properly relaxed.
17. Clear Your Head
Racing thoughts keeping you up?
Instead of fighting those thoughts, get a piece of paper or a journal and write them down.
A lot of times it’s your mind reminding you of important things you need to take care of.
Here’s the best part:
By writing down the reminders, you’ll have the peace of mind that you won’t forget.
More Sleep Tips From The Experts
18. Get In Touch With Your Nervous System
Probably the most common reason you can’t get to sleep is that you’re feeling too worked up.
Your mind won’t shut off.
And whether you’re aware of it or not, if you have “busy brain”, your body is too tight as well.
Yet there is an easy way to get to sleep and it’s elegant in its simplicity.
It’s used naturally by many people, often unknowingly.
A few things about the ultimate master of sleep – your nervous system.
The nervous system is on a mission – every day, no matter how much stimulation you encounter in the form of conversations, exciting or stressful events or even lounging around on vacation – the nervous system will persist in getting back to a balanced, stable state called “homeostasis”.
The more resilient the nervous system, the easier it is to bounce back and let go of the charge resulting from the day’s events.
If your nervous system is compromised, it will hold onto that charge, which means a part of your brain will stay ‘on guard’ and awake, even though you’re dead tired.
How do you defuse that charge?
Use the “language” that the nervous system speaks, where the vocabulary consists of your body’s sensations.
In other words, take time to sense into your body and give your nervous system a chance to unwind.
Because the letting go process is triggered anytime you sense into your body.
Folks who practice yoga do the same thing, as do folks involved in body-based meditations, tai chi, or Aikido.
The lucky few who find a body-based therapist will enjoy tons of tools, tips and tricks for falling asleep, and in time, their nervous system will be self-regulating naturally again. Myshrink.com
19. Get Rid Of Artificial Lighting
The best sleep tip is to filter out the blue light 2-3 hours before you go to bed.
I use the Twilight app on my smartphone, f.lux on my laptop, I dim the lights in the living room and bedroom, and on top of that I wear blue light blocking glasses. You can find them Here.
20. Start Winding Down
I give myself at least 30 minutes to calm my mind and relax my body before I go to bed.
An evening routine and a regular sleep rhythm helps massively with your sleep.
I enjoy a yogi evening tea with 15 grams of collagen and a sip of apple cider vinegar.
I do the following to calm down my mind:
I journal about what I’m going to do the next day, and I mentally look at things I did well that day, what I could do better, and what I’d do to be the best version of myself.
To relax my body:
I foam roll my upper back, and I do some stretching and yoga exercises.
At the moment, I’m experimenting with taping my lips together so I’ll only breathe through my nose.
Thanks to the SnoreLab app, I know that it works perfectly fine.
In the morning I feel fully energized and ready for the day ahead.
Those are the most important sleep tips for falling asleep easily and sleeping well.
I aim for 7.5 hours a night.Ninjalifehacks.com
21) Get Rid Of Evening Hunger
Hunger in the evenings is a big reason why many people have a hard time falling asleep at night.
Instead of a sleeping pill or a late night snack, grab yourself some non GMO, hormone free gelatin to fill you up and help you fall asleep faster.
Gelatin contains an overabundance of the amino acid glycine which has been shown to be an effective way to improve both quality and quantity of sleep, decrease anxiety and reduce fatigue.
Not only that:
Gelatin blooms, or swells upon contact with water and gives your tummy a feeling of fullness without the bloat, which helps to make deep sleep a breeze.
22) Utilize Candle Light
Spending your evenings by candlelight is one of the easiest, romantic, and affordable ways to help you drift off to a deep, restful sleep.
Candle light does not interfere with your body’s melatonin production nor disrupt your natural circadian rhythms the way blue light emitted from smart phones, tablets, TVs and fluorescent light bulbs do.
On top of that:
The lack of chatter from all your devices calms the nervous system making it much easier to drift off once your head hits the pillow.
Simply turn off all electronics several hours before bedtime, enjoy the soft, warm glow from the flickering candlelight and look forward to being asleep as your head hits the pillow.
23) Daily Exercise
45 minutes of daily exercise makes counting sheep a thing of the past and encourages fast, deep sleep.KellieOlver.com
24) Set A Regular Bedtime
Your body will get used to this routine.
Turn off technology after 8pm.
I usually end each night visualizing what my day will look like the next day – if you have a partner it’s really important that you adapt to each other’s routine.
If you go to bed early, you and and your partner should work out a routine where he/she is not coming in and out of the bedroom while you’re asleep.
It takes practice! 30everafte
25) Maintain A Sleeping Schedule
Creating a strict sleeping schedule is one of the best ways to get proper rest during the night.
To set this schedule, set the time to when you naturally start feeling sleepy and set the alarm to wake up the same time every morning.
Here’s the trick:
For maximum results using this sleeping tip, you will need to maintain the same schedule on weekends though the temptation might be there to stay up later at night or sleep in the next morning.
26) Put Away All Electronic Devices
Do this at least one hour before bed.
Putting away all electronic devices before bed will aid in decreasing anxiety and in helping our bodies to release melatonin.
Practicing this will assist us in not harming our sleep.
What’s the bottom line?
Let us control our devices and not let our devices control us.
27) Turn On Soothing Sounds
A fan or sound machine can be used to drown out any noise or disturbance that may prevent you from falling asleep within 15 minutes of lying down.
28) Avoid Certain Foods And Drinks At Night
In order to get better rest while sleeping, try as best as possible to avoid large meals at least 2 hours before your bed time.
If you are affected by heartburn, then avoid spicy and fatty foods for dinner.
The drinking of caffeine and alcohol are highly likely to disrupt your sleeping patterns.
On the other hand:
Foods that are better to consume closer to bedtime are foods that aid in relaxation such as milk, chamomile tea, avocados, etc.
29) Make Your Bedroom More Sleep-Friendly
Making your bedroom more conducive to sleep is a great way to ensure a good night’s sleep.
Use thick drapes at your window to block out any light or sleep with an eye cover.
If noise wakes you easily then sleep with an ear plug.
30) Create A Relaxing Bedtime Routine
Engaging in a calming activity before bed can help to relax you.
Reading a book, listening to soothing music, or taking a hot bath.
31) Be Consistent
Your body’s regulatory system depends on a routine, so setting a sleep schedule and sticking to it as much as possible is one of the most important things you can do.
Circadian rhythms affect your hormone levels, helping you stay alert during the day and drowsy at night.
Any disruptions can negatively impact your internal clock and cause your hormones to get out of whack.
32) Give Yourself Time To Unwind
Allow yourself an extra half-hour to unwind and relax before going to bed.
Take a bath, read in a quiet setting, or listen to soothing music.
Don’t watch TV, play on your smartphone, or read the news- all of which can cause stress and stimulate your mind.
33) Exercise Early In The Day
Exercising regularly can help you control your stress levels, improve your health, and burn off some of the energy that might keep you up at night.
Avoid exercising within several hours of your bedtime.
Your natural rhythms need time to slow down and prepare your body for sleep.
34) Set The Mood
Light can disrupt your body’s melatonin levels, which are needed to fight cancer and regulate your body’s circadian rhythm.
That’s why keeping your bedroom dark and quiet is necessary for a good night’s sleep.
35) Avoid Caffeine Late In The Day
Don’t drink coffee or any other product containing caffeine at least four hours before your bedtime.
Not only that:
It’s important to avoid a pre-bed nightcap, as alcohol tends to disrupt sleep.
36) Don’t Just Lay There If You Can’t Sleep
Get out of bed and leave the room for a while.
Doing something else will often make you sleepy.
Here’s the thing:
If you lay there, you’ll likely focus on the fact that you’re still awake, which makes insomnia worse.
Insomnia can cause mood swings and an inability to cope with stress, so overcoming it before it seriously impacts your mental and emotional well-being is key. http://peggysealfon.com
37) Get To The Gym
Anyone who spends an hour+ in the gym four times a week will sleep like a baby.
Insomnia usually arises from inactivity (just as anxiety does).
People who sleep easily, and for 8 hours or longer, but feel tired/nap during the day, probably suffer from sleep quality and sleep apnea, which can be easily prevented with a cpap. http://www.astralreflections.com/
38) Turn Off All Of Your Screens
This includes: phones, computers, and tv’s.
Do this at least an hour before bedtime.
Here’s the deal:
While we all like to feel connected, display brightness can send a message to our brains to wake up and stay active.
Give your mind a chance to calm down by shelving your I-brains.
39) Focus On Your Breathing
Take ten slow, deep, mindful breaths.
Although we can’t directly lower our heart rate, slowing down the breath can help to activate our parasympathetic nervous system, which reduces stress and calms the body.
40) Yoga Poses
Specifically, legs up the wall pose.
Lay on the floor with your hips about a foot away from the wall and put your legs up the wall.
Not only does this restorative inversion reduce fluid buildup in your legs, it relieves daily postural stress by letting your upper body relax into the support of the floor.
Take five minutes in this pose and notice the difference that you feel.
41) Youtube Playlists
There are a lot of youtube playlists and compilations full of relaxing sounds that will make falling asleep easier.
As someone who spends 10 hours a day behind a computer screen, this has been my go to technique to fall asleep fast.
The soothing relaxing sounds calm my head from all the clutter of browsing the internet all day.
42) Find Your Comfort Zone
I personally sleep under two layers of comforters and light a candle as part of my bedtime ritual.
The only way you’re going to have an easy time falling asleep is if you create the routines that make it easy to relieve your stress that keeps you awake.
I found this while I was in college, and it helped me throughout stressful weeks.
It calculates the optimal times to fall asleep so that when you wake you you’ll feel refreshed without disrupting any other sleep cycles which is what causes you to hit that snooze button over and over again.
Getting your ideal sleep shouldn’t be a hassle which is why we made this to make things significantly easier.
Because we want this to be the only sleep guide you’ll ever need we will continue to update it monthly, and if you didn’t see a sleep tip that you think results in better sleep, let us know in the comments.
Below are some additional resources you can start adding into your sleep rituals to help you get a better night’s rest. Didn’t see something that should belong in the sleep tips? Let us know in the comments below!
F.lux: A desktop application that gives your computer a warm tone to block blue light.
Sleepyti.me: Bedtime calculator that tells you what time you should go to sleep to to wake up without feeling tired.
“Caffeine Effects on Sleep Taken 0, 3, or 6 Hours before Going to Bed” http://www.aasmnet.org/jcsm/ViewAbstract.aspx?pid=29198
“An Official American Thoracic Society Statement: The Importance of Healthy Sleep. Recommendations and Future Priorities”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5442970/
“The Sleep and Technology Use of Americans: Findings from the National Sleep Foundation’s 2011 Sleep in America Poll” –http://www.aasmnet.org/jcsm/ViewAbstract.aspx?pid=29249