Getting more sleep is something I’ve struggled with my entire life. As an insomniac from WAY BACK (I remember sitting up all night when my age was in the single digits), I can attest to the difficulty involved with sleeping better — with or without medical intervention.
While some people just aren’t wired to sleep and need to see a doctor or sleep specialist to improve their sleep habits, I’ve put together a few tips for improving your sleep.
- Set a schedule. Make yourself a bedtime. Make yourself a wake-up time. Follow it, even if that means lying around for a few hours at night, and even if that means getting up groggy in the morning. Resetting your biological clock takes time, but forcing yourself into a schedule does work for some.
- Get boring. Not all the time, I mean. Just within the last few hours before going to bed. Don’t do anything to get worked up. No late-night exercise routines, no exciting TV shows or movies. Don’t pick a fight with your significant other, and don’t write an angry letter to the president of Viacom right before bed. Maybe do a crossword puzzle, take up knitting (if it doesn’t make you cuss), or read a book.
- No screens in the bedroom! No means no! LED light disrupts the production of melatonin, which your body needs in order to know when to go to sleep. You can live without Trivia Crack while you’re trying to fall asleep. This is for your health.
- Tire yourself out. Get enough exercise, early in the day, to tire yourself out and make sleep a lovely proposition for your weary body and mind.
- Use a sleep tracker. These are helpful in many ways. The little gadget I wear tracks my activity and my sleep, and even lets me know my heart rate. It will help you figure out when you’re actually falling asleep. Sometimes it might even surprise you to find out that you’ve slept more than you thought you did!
- Go decaf. Don’t kill me. I know caffeinated people hate the word decaf and the connotation that drinking decaf somehow makes you weak. I know this because I’m a decaf person, and I’m mercilessly made fun of for my decaf consumption. But here’s the thing. Caffeine is said to stick around in your system for EIGHT HOURS after you drink it. So that evening soda just might be messing up your sleep habits. Get your caffeine in early, then switch to water. It’s healthier, anyway!
- Wind down. Take a yoga class, meditate, or listen to classical music. Sit by the fire and write in your journal as you sip (herbal) tea. Do something quiet that doesn’t disrupt your peacefulness. You deserve it.
If you’re interested in learning more about how yoga can help you get more sleep, sign up for a yoga class. If you want to know how to keep these new sleep habits up forever, join my New YOU REVolution workshop on New Year’s Day!
Written by Jena Barber, a terrible insomniac who, through the use of all of the above tips, is averaging an extra hour and a half of sleep at night.