Learn How To Sleep Better With These 7 Tips
Sleep is important for a whole bunch of reasons from being a crucial element in rest and recovery of your body to optimal mental clarity throughout the day. One of the most surprising reasons to get a good sleep is that sleep quality actually has a massive influence on the body’s ability to burn fat and build muscle! I know, crazy! If you struggle with knowing how to sleep better, this one’s for you!
I’m far from being a sleep guru. I love staying up late and I always seem to get really good ideas at night time. But, ever since I started trying to get a better sleep, my days have been so much more productive. And I mean really trying – not just “trying” to go to bed early only to give in to the temptation of my phone or Netflix before realising 2 hours later that I really should be asleep… Yea, we’ve all been there. Numerous times.
Build a solid routine
Repeating the same thing over and over again isn’t really my thing. In saying that, I must admit that since I decided to create a night-time routine (and stick to it), it’s been so much easier to fall asleep! So that’s my first tip – creating a routine. Following the same routine every night creates a pattern that your body, and more importantly your mind, will recognize as the time to start winding down.
First thing is first, no phone!
The first part of your routine should start one hour before bed. It should include turning off your phone, laptop and TV. I know you’ve heard this a millions times but why does it make such a difference to your sleep quality?
It comes down to hormones. When your body is getting ready for sleep, your cortisol levels are relatively low and your body will start releasing melatonin, the “sleep hormone”. The blue light from the screens actually interferes with your body’s release of melatonin. Harvard research studies found that every hour spent looking at blue light at night-time, your body’s melatonin release is suppressed for about 30 minutes.
This is explained in WAY more depth in this video.
Sleep promoting tea
A lot of the time I don’t feel tired enough to sleep. I’ve usually had a long day and want a really great sleep. So I started having some sleep promoting tea before bed. There are so many sleepy teas out there but you don’t need to get fancy. My favourite one to use is chamomile tea. On days that I have had a tough workout or need an extra good sleep, I usually take some powdered magnesium too. Both promote sleep and I always feel so refreshed once I wake up after having both together.
Wash away the day
My next tip is to have a shower right before bed. I have found that having a shower right before bed really relaxes my body and my mind. A shower before bed for me is like a meditation. I feel like I am washing away the day, and whatever stresses I’ve experienced. I find that the heat helps to make me feel really sleepy. Applying a lavender body moisturiser afterwards will help you unwind even more.
It’s all in the oils
Using oils has made a huge difference to my sleep quality and learning how to sleep better. I’ve used a variety of sleep oils and calming oils in a number of ways. I have found the thing that works best for me is using an oil in the diffuser that I have next to my bed. I usually use peppermint oil to help me breathe better in my sleep, in combination with lavender oil to help relax me.
You can also mix lavender oil or any variety of calming oils into a carrier oil, such as coconut oil and apply directly to your skin. The best areas for this are behind your ears, in your elbow creases, behind your knees and on the bottoms of your feet.
Clearing your mind of thoughts and worries
Right before I am about to get into bed, I like to take 10 deep breaths or listen to a guided sleep meditation. I find that slowing my breathing really calms my mind and gets me ready to relax into a deep sleep. I will usually take 10 deep breaths and focus on feeling the air entering and leaving my body. I normally do this before I start reading. Alternatively, I will listen to one of my favourite guided sleep meditations after I’ve read, once I am ready to fall asleep.
My mind usually runs at a million miles an hour. This kept me up. When I was trying to figure out how to sleep better, I couldn’t put my finger on what was stopping that from happening. It’s honestly because I wasn’t giving my mind a chance to relax.
In order to clear my mind of all my thoughts that would otherwise keep me up, I like to journal before bed. Sometimes it’s a recap of the day. Other times it’s writing what I am grateful for or writing out my ideas and planning. Journaling can be anything you want it to be really.
Read a book
Ever since I started reading before bed, I have been falling asleep so quickly once I turn the light off. I understand how hard it is to stay off technology before bed, but it really is crucial for a good night’s sleep. Author of Sleep Smarter, Shawn Stevenson suggests that you replace the technology with something of equal or greater value to you. For me, it’s reading or spending time with Harry. To you, it could be something different. But finding that something, and then doing it is important.
Doing each of these things as a part of my night-time routine has made a really big difference to how quickly I actually fall asleep. Since learning how to sleep better and actually following all these steps, I have honestly noticed a massive difference in how I feel throughout my day. Plus, getting a better sleep, and following my post-workout routine, has been helping my muscles recover a lot faster after a tough workout too!
I would love to hear your tips for a good night’s sleep so please share in the comments!