How to Sleep Better

Are you a troubled sleeper? I've always had trouble sleeping until I recently changed my work schedule - switching from late night bartending to a 9 to 5 type of thing. I've also take sleep very seriously in regards to my health. I make sure I go to bed early and thoughtfully schedule my wake up times 8 hours from when I go to bed. I also stopped snoozing. Alarm goes off and I get right up, go to the kitchen and drink a small glass of water.

Analyzing my sleep behaviors and developing a sleep routine that works for me has changed so much. I get sick so much less often and my overall mood and patience has improved. Also, I have more energy.

I wanted to share some of the tips that worked for me: 

1. Blackout drapes or a sleepy eye mask

I have the blue one above - it has little hidden pillows on the underside that block out light. I use the mask when I travel or when Cam wants to read with a light on before sleeping. Otherwise, it's no mask and we just close the blackout drape on the window near the bed, which leaves the room quite dark at night but light enough in the morning that I can wake up. 

2. White noise machine

White Noise App, App Store, Free

White Noise App, App Store, Free

I read somewhere relevant that white and pink noise helps the brain quiet down. Most of the time, when I can't sleep it's my brain's fault. It just won't shut up and let me zen out so the subtle sounds from a noise machine, app, fan, air purifier or ac unit is a welcome sleep inducing distraction. 

3. Pillow mist!

Aromatherapy is real, people! I keep on little bottle of this sleepy smelling stuff on my nightstand and give a little spritz when I get into bed. It's nice when things smell nice. Think lavender, chamomile and ylang ylang.. 

4. Consider a Natural Supplement

Cameron swears by the Mercola Melatonin spray. I like the brand and used to use the B12 spray. It tastes good and gets you nice and sleepy. Another natural sleep aid I've used is Bach's Rescue Sleep Liquid Melts. They also make a spray.  They are little spherical capsules that melt under your tongue. Super calming. 

5. Deep breathing

Breath is one of the most powerful tools we have in our control. Breathing gets me through tough workouts, calms me down, lowers occasional Still's fevers or peps me up all depending on the style of breathing, The 4-7-8 method is very popular and I use it anytime I'm feeling like I need to slow down. It's easy. To do it,  take a deep breath in through your nose of 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds and exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds. Repeat 3 times or more. Dr Weil, how developed the method,  has a video describing the method

6. Sleep Schedule

If at all possible, try to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. Try to make the wake up time 8 hours after your bed time. Your iPhone is happy to help you out with this. The clock utility has a bedtime function and will also send you reminders to go to bed. 

7. Exercise

I mostly use exercise to regulate my energy levels. I work out in the morning. Very early in the morning actually since realizing that working up a sweat before I start my day makes me happier and gives me more energy throughout the day. I set out my exercise clothes and make coffee the night before. Then all I have to do is get dressed and reheat the coffee. 

8. Get in Bed and Try

Just try it. It could work, right? Even if I'm not tired but it's time, brush my teeth, hide the electronics, put on pjs and get into bed. I'll read, snuggle chibi or just turn off the lights and try to sleep. Maybe it's like going to the gym and getting there is half the battle?  Probably not but at least I'll be conveniently in bed when sleep takes over. 

9. Write It Down

Is your mind racing? Take some time to write down what's on your mind. Make a list of what it is and what you're going to do about it. Done. Set it aside and try to sleep now that you know you have a plan. Keep a pen and notebook near your bed for when you need it. Let the notebook be exclusively for this purpose. 

10. Lower the Lights

As it gets closer to bed time, we start turning off or lowering different lights around the house. We will start our chill out sofa time with string lights, a paper lantern and table lamp on. As it gets later, we turn one of and another one a bit later. This really tricks my brain into thinking it wants sleep. 

What else?  Got any tips or tried any of these? Leave a comment - I'd love to hear!