Often times, when I lay down to go to sleep, my brain becomes super active. The opportunity to unwind and relax is disrupted by all the things on my to-do list, memories from the past, and random things I forgot about. Since sleep is such an important part of self-care and our wellbeing, I’ve created a list of tips for getting a good night’s sleep. Now whenever that nighttime anxiety kicks in and those distracting thoughts show up, I implement a few of the following bedtime strategies.
Tips for Sleeping Well #1 Unplug
Unplugging at least 30 minutes before bed is tough to do but critical. The blue light from the screen and the seemingly mindless scroll is making it difficult for our brain to get into “rest mode.” Our mind is being overly stimulated right around the time it needs to be winding down. Blue-light blockers and the “night setting” on your iPhone can help; however, unplugging and disconnecting from our phones is more effective.
Tips for Sleeping Better #2 Keep a Notebook
Keep a journal or a notebook next to your bed to record any persistent thoughts. Typically, when I’m trying to fall asleep, I have those things that I want to remember the next day. Instead of ruminating or hoping that I remember, I simply write them down. This stops the stress and it ensures that it won’t be forgotten.
In addition, journaling thoughts that are bothering you or keeping you up is a great way to release them. Giving yourself an outlet to express yourself and giving your thoughts a home is a great tip for sleeping better. If you want to start a journaling practice but aren’t sure where to start, check out this blog post on journaling. It also provides various journal prompts to get you started.
Tips to Sleep Better #3 Lavender
Lavender works as an anxiety reliever and natural sleep aid. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine found a lavender essential oil helped college students get a better night’s sleep and participants reported improved energy during the day.
Typically when I use lavender, I use a body lotion or I apply a roller ball on my wrists 15 minutes before bed.
Sleeping Tip #4 Binaural Beats & Soothing Sounds
Another one of my favorite tips for getting a good night’s sleep is listening to soothing sounds and binaural beats. If you aren’t familiar with binaural beats, they are a form of sound therapy that helps relieve stress, increase focus, and even boost confidence. Listening to calming music before bed has a direct effect on the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps your body prepare for sleep.
According to an article posted by Psychology Today – relaxing music triggers changes to the body to mimic a sleep state. For example, a slower heart rate, slower breathing, and lowered blood pressure are all physiological changes that make possible the process of falling asleep and staying asleep. Music also has a soothing effect on our emotional brain, easing stress and anxiety.
Tip #5 for Better Sleep Meditation
Meditation is one of the best tips for sleeping faster and better. For many people, sleep difficulty is related to stress. Typically at nighttime, our minds like to run through the day and tomorrow’s to-do list. Guided sleep meditations help the participant relax into the present moment by calming their mind and body simultaneously. You can find numerous sleep meditations on youtube or through a meditation app like Calm, Headspace, or the Insight app. If you’re looking for more information on meditation and where to begin, check out this blog post on common meditation myths.
Sleeping Tip #6: Read
Similar to meditation, reading helps you relax before bed. When reading a good book, your mind is distracted from the daily stressors and things that cause you worry. Reading is more beneficial than watching T.V. or scrolling through your phone because there is no blue light being emitted. Blue light often tricks your body into believing that it is daytime, thus keeping you awake for longer. Reading before bed also boosts your creativity and intelligence.
Tip for Better Sleep #7: Develop a Routine
Our body and brain thrive off of routine. That’s why creating a routine is so critical for quality sleep. So how do you get a better sleep routine? Around the same time every night, have a few “wind-down” activities. For example, 30 minutes before bed, plug in your phone, brush your teeth, and grab a good book. By doing this routine every night, your body will become accustomed to it. You’ll notice that you’ll start getting sleepy around the same time, and these habits will trigger your brain to start winding down. When we are constantly changing our bedtime and nightly activities, our brain doesn’t know what’s next. It’s constantly alert and assessing what it needs to do.
Other Helpful Resources
I hope you enjoyed reading about my favorite tips for getting better sleep. I truly believe that if you commit to doing even one of these things, the quality of your sleep will improve. Do you have a favorite tip for sleeping better? If so, send me a message over on Instagram or Facebook! I’d love to add it. Finally here are a few additional resources you may find helpful.