We all know — we need to get more sleep. We hear it everywhere we go. Need to lose weight? Get more sleep! Stressed out? Sleep more! Getting sick all the time? You need to rest!
So, duh. Sleep rules, we don’t get enough of it, and we need to fix that.
But life is stressful and full of computer screens. Our modern lifestyles are not very conducive to a solid night’s sleep.
So I — a bona fide insomniac for three years running, I’m sorry to say — have compiled a list of the 7 things that have helped me the most. Some might be old hat, but one or two should be brand new.
Especially #7. That guy’s awesome.
7 Ways to Get a Better Night’s Sleep
1. Turn out the lights. Your sleeping chambers should be pitch dark at night. Like, can’t see your hand in front of your face. No more night lights or leaving the door open a crack. I’m talking blackout curtains, getting rid of any electronics with glowing lights, sleep masks, and whatever else you have to do to achieve optimal blackness. You’ll be way less likely to wake up in the middle of the night.
2. No electronics, especially before bed. Make your bedroom an electronics-free zone. No smartphones. No laptops. If you like to read or use a sleep app, put your device in airplane mode. Avoid looking at a screen at least an hour before bed. It messes with your melatonin (which is what makes you sleepy).
3. No sugar at night. Blood sugar (too high OR too low) is a major culprit behind disturbed sleep. Try to avoid sweets at night. And if you know you’re hypoglycemic, eat a few bites of protein before bed. Like a slice of turkey or a handful of nuts.
4. Eat more protein. This goes back to the blood sugar (see #3 above), but it also helps muscle recovery, appetite, and seratonin production. (Seratonin isn’t just a happy-making neurotransmitter; it’s also essential for a good night’s sleep.)
5. Separate covers. If you share a bed with someone, lots of problems can ensue. Separate covers can eliminate a big one — the motion transfer you feel when your partner tosses and turns. Snuggled in your own personal covers, you won’t even notice. Also, bonus: this lets each sleeper cover up according to his/her temperature preferences, which can vary wildly from one person to another.
6. Keep it cool. We sleep better when we’re a little cold. Try to keep your room a couple degrees colder than feels comfortable. You can always turn the heat up in the morning, or let the sunshine in to warm things up.
7. Andrew Johnson apps. This guy is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. (Don’t tell my husband.) A gentle Scottish man talks you into a deep relaxation, then whispers sweet nothings to your subconscious mind, helping you to sleep, drink more water, or…actually I don’t really know what he says, because I’m always out cold by this point. It’s like having Shrek read you a bedtime story.
There we go!
Have any sleep strategies I missed? Share them in the comments below.
Sleep can be some elusive, slippery prey. But with these tools in your arsenal…
I think you’re about to catch some.