21 Tricks To Help You Sleep Better, Starting Tonight
Troubled, disrupted sleep can be one of the trickiest things to manage.
It affects your mood, your productivity and your overall health and wellness, and there are a myriad of factors that could be causing it. If you have continual sleep interruption and problems, consider seeing a medical professional to come up with a longterm care plan. But if you have the occasional bout of bad rest, here are a few tips to help you get a better sleep… starting tonight.
1. A little bit of lavender
Lavender scent is proven to improve sleep quality, courtesy of its soothing, calming fragrance. Invest in a little lavender spray or stick a few dried out sprigs under your pillow and reap the benefits immediately.
2. Go tech-free
Jennifer Aniston swears by one hour of screen-free time before she gets into bed. The idea is to reduce the amount of blue light your body is exposed to before sleep, reinforcing the message to your brain that it’s time to nod off.
3. Take a bath
A nice, relaxing hot bath will cause your body temperature to drop, immediately making you feel sleepy.
4. Drink some chamomile tea
Like lavender, chamomile is a proven sleep-enhancer and a tisane will be just the thing to help you ease into rest. Just make sure not to drink a huge mug, or else you’ll be waking up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.
5. Try the 4-7-8 breathing technique
According to those who use it, the 4-7-8 breathing technique will help you fall asleep in minutes. All you have to do is breathe in deeply and, each time, hold the breath for either four, seven or eight seconds. By the end of a few cycles, you should feel calm and relaxed, the perfect headspace for a doze.
6. Keep your feet warm
Research has proven that if your extremities (your hands and feet) are cold, you’ll find it harder to fall asleep, courtesy of the reduced blood flow. Keep your feet warm by wearing a pair of cosy socks or heat up a hot water bottle to tuck at the end of your bed.
If you struggle to quiet your brain and fall asleep, you might want to try beditation. Yes, beditation does exactly what it says on the tin: a form of meditation you can practice lying down wrapped up in your soft linen sheets. Beditating will help ease you out of the bustle of a big day and into rest.
8. Get dark
It sounds obvious, but if there’s too much light in your room you won’t sleep well. Invest in good curtains or, failing that, an eyemask to give you total darkness as you rest.
9. Try earplugs
Similarly, too much noise will prevent a good night’s rest. If you have loud flatmates or neighbours, you need a pair of earplugs.
10. Essential oils
Scent can be an important factor in having a better sleep. Try diffusing some sleep-enhancing oils, including lavender, bergamot, sage, jasmine and lemon to help create a positive bedroom environment. (Just make sure to extinguish your oil burner before going to sleep.)
11. Don’t overstimulate yourself
We all love to watch a Netflix show in bed or read a few chapters of our new page-turner. But if you’re doing this right up until the moment you fall asleep you could be overstimulating your brain before bed. Try to give your mind a break before you ease into your sleep cycle and switch off the devices (or put away the book) a good 15 minutes before lying down.
12. Do some stretches
You don’t need to try a full yoga routine, but a little bit of light stretching will help you relax and soothe your muscles before going to sleep.
13. Look at your diet
Here are the big no-nos in the evening: caffeine, alcohol (sorry!) and anything too rich or heavy. All of these are either stimulants (the caffeine) or are hard for the body to process and will prevent a good, restful night of sleep.
14. Add a blanket
This one goes out to the lovers… Have a partner who hogs the blanket? It could be stopping you from getting the sleep you need. Think about making your bed with one fitted sheet but two flat sheets with a duvet on top. This will ensure that everyone gets the linen that works for them, preventing tossing and turning in the middle of the night as you fight over the blanket.
Our brains are a pretty special, powerful organ. If you lie in bed and visualise calm, soothing places or things, like sitting on a Caribbean beach drinking a coconut cocktail, for example, this thinking will have the same effect on your psychology. Try it next time you find yourself too worked up to go to sleep.
16. No pets in the bed
Sorry. But having animals sleeping in bed with you could exacerbate any latent allergies that you have and generally reduces quality of rest. Get your fur cuddles in the evening and reserve your bed for human cuddles.
17. Give your bed a purpose
And on that subject… Your bed should be reserved for two things: sleeping and, well, not sleeping. (You know what we mean.) Everything else, from eating takeaway dinners to answering emails and watching Netflix, should be done elsewhere. This will help your body to understand that when you get into bed, it’s for only two specific reasons.
18. Pick the right pillow and mattress
If you continue to have trouble sleeping, you might need to switch out your mattress and pillows. Investing in high quality products will help you rest better, giving your back and neck the support they need.
19. Tense and relax
Kind of like the bend and snap, the tense and relax is basically a way of squeezing and then easing the tension in your muscles in bed. It’s a pretty soothing routine for your muscles, but when done mindfully it’s great for relaxation before sleep, too.
20. Get a foot rub
Reflexologists swear by the feet and ears as pressure points that help with sleep. A nice foot rub that focuses on the big toes and the centre of your feet could be just the thing to help you get a restful night.
21. Make your sanctuary
A dark room at the right temperature that smells great with a bed made with high quality linen sheets, ready for you to dive in… Sounds like heaven, right? Your bedroom should be a sleep sanctuary, and investing in making sure that it is will help you sleep longer and better every single night.