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How to Sleep Better: Top 7 Sleep Hacks For The Best Rest

By Feb 5, 2015 July 17th, 2015 4 Comments

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Now that I have come to accept the importance of sleep, I’m focused on figuring out how to sleep better, every single night. It turns out that getting ready for bed isn’t just a matter of brushing my teeth and putting on pajamas. There are little things I can do all day long that will affect how well I sleep at night.

I’ve collected some of my favorite sleep hacks to share with you today, because I hope we can all sleep better in 2015!

Everything you need to know about falling asleep, and how to sleep better at night.  I love the breathing exercise in # 6.

How to Sleep Better: Top 7 Sleep Hacks For The Best Rest

With all of these tips on how to sleep better, you have to find what works best for you. I’ve found that most of these are little changes, but they add up to make a big difference in my sleep and health.

1. Get Moving During The Day

Exercise isn’t my favorite thing, but it is an important thing – especially when it comes to sleep. Moderate exercise can even help insomniacs improve the quality of their sleep. Don’t worry. I’m not saying you need to head to the gym for three hours a day (unless that’s your thing), just add a little more physical activity into your daily routine, and see what kind of difference it makes. Getting better sleep and more physically fit in one step makes this tip a double win.

2. Nap Strategically

An afternoon nap can be a beautiful thing, but if you do it too late in the day, your body won’t be ready for sleep when bedtime comes. You don’t have to cut out naps completely, though, just be strategic about it. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 20-30 minutes for an afternoon nap to help improve your mood and alertness. If napping helps you, put it on your calendar between 2 and 3, and make it part of your daily routine.

3. Cut The Caffeine

Did you know that the effects of caffeine in your body can last up to six hours? When I learned this, it made me look at that after dinner cup of coffee in a whole new way. The good news is, once I started getting more sleep at night, I didn’t need all that extra caffeine to make it through my day anyway.

Learn how to sleep better so you can wake up happy every day with these 7 sleep hacks.

4. Let The Sunshine In

The amount of sunshine you get during the day directly effects whether you’re able to sleep better at night. People who are exposed to sunlight during the day tend to be happier and more physically fit, but the biggest reason to get more sun in your life is the sleep benefits.

Our bodies are set up with a circadian timing system that helps to regulate our daily cycles of activity, sleep, hormone release, and other bodily functions. Your body needs the sunlight and the darkness to help it know when to sleep. When studied, office workers who received more natural white light exposure during the day slept an average of 46 more minutes at night.

Bloggers: This means you need to open up the curtains, set your computer up near a window, and walk outside a few times each day. Do it for the circadian-rhythm-induced sleep. Do it for the exercise that also leads to better sleep. And do it for the writing inspiration you might find while you are out there. 

5. Just Say No To Blue Light

What’s the last thing you do before going to bed? Edit one last blog post? Check your email? Text your best friend? Watch a little TV? Your computer, cell phone, tablet, and television produce light that is blue, and your body interprets that light as sunlight. It is usually before bed, when we should be easing our bodies into sleep that we spend extra time with blue light right by our eyes, confusing our circadian timing system, and making our bodies more awake.

If you are like me, you aren’t going to give up your evening electronics time. So what is the answer? Turn off electronic devices for the last hour before bedtime. This is a great time to get in a little extra reading, although you will need to do it with an old-fashioned book to get the best results.

To further eliminate the blue light in your evening hours, invest in blue-blocking glasses, and wear them for three hours before bedtime. In one study participants not only slept better after wearing blue-blocking glasses, they also showed positive mood improvement. You can also add software like f.lux to your computer, or an app like Twilight to your phone or tablet, to limit the amount of blue light your devices give off after sunset.

6. Work Your Routine

Going to bed at the same time every night (yes, even on the weekends) will help you to get better sleep. But the time before bed is important, too. Figure out what relaxes you, and do it every night before bedtime – a warm bath, a good book, quiet music, relaxation exercises, and warm, non-caffeinated tea are all great ideas. Doing the same things each night helps to cue your body that sleep time is coming.

I like 4-7-8 Breathing. It is a really easy exercise to do.

  1. Exhale all your air.
  2. Inhale through your nose while you count to four.
  3. Hold your breath while you count to seven.
  4. Exhale through your mouth while you count to eight.

Go through this breathing cycle four times while lying in bed. It helps to press your tongue against the roof of your mouth while you do it. This helps me to relax. When I first started doing it, I counted pretty fast, because it felt like I was running out of breathe, but after a couple of weeks, I found that I could count slower.

It can also help to write out a to-do list before you lay down. This clears your mind before bed, so you aren’t stressed or busy thinking about tomorrow when your mind needs to relax.

7. Set Up A Sleeping Sanctuary

The environment around you can greatly affect if you are able to sleep better night after night. Start with a dark room. Make it cold (between 54 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit is best) and snuggle under a light blanket. Wear socks on your feet to make sure they stay a little warmer than the rest of your body. When your feet get too cold, the blood vessels constrict to keep in heat, and this can keep you awake. If you sleep better with a little sound, opt for a white noise machine or calming music instead of the television. Everything about your bedroom needs to be relaxing.

If you really want to sleep better at night, plan ahead and make your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary.

Having a good mattress and pillow is a big part of setting up a sleep sanctuary. I’m still loving the new mattress I got in December. (In partnership with IntelliBED, this post will contain affiliate links.) The intelliBED mattress has eliminated my back pain and made me look forward to going to sleep at night. But the most important thing is that it feels comfortable as I’m trying to fall asleep at night. Comfort is a big part of relaxing, and I need that in my life. Also, the intelliBED mattress is non-toxic and hypoallergenic. It is good to know I’m not breathing in harmful toxins as I’m sleeping.

I told you that Tiffany has been telling me to get more sleep for years, and now it is your turn to hear from her! On February 19th, Tiffany and I are going to be joined by a sleep expert for a healthy sleep webinar. We hope you will join us for the fun, and then be inspired to take a nice (early afternoon) nap when it is finished.

GRAB YOUR COUPON CODE NOW!

Are you ready to sleep better every night? If your answer, is YES, I DEFINITELY AM, then head over to the intelliBED website now. When you enter the coupon code, Sitsgirls, you will automatically receive 10% off of an intelliBED mattress.

What do you to do relax before bedtime? Leave some ideas in the comments.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of intelliBED. It includes affiliate links.

4 Comments

  • Ashlee says:

    I started doing two drops of Lavender essential oil on my pillow at night and I’ve slept like a baby ever since!

  • Lynn Webber says:

    The part of blue light really helped! Now I tried all of the free blue light blocking apps on my computer and smartphones (F.lux, Eye Care, etc). You know I am so addicted to my phones so I am getting a lot of blue light.

    I’m also trying T’aime blue light blocking glasses (http://www.taimeopt.com/), which states to block 97% of blue light. They really lessened the pain/strain in my eyes, as the lenses turned the screen from a harsh light to a warm easy light.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I know that I struggle with doing “blue light” at bedtime and it does interrupt my getting to sleep. It seems like that is one of the only times that I get, but I need to move it to another time or eliminate it! Great tips! Thanks for sharing.

  • jennifer says:

    My big tips that helped me are:

    Chamomile tea (I love Sleepytime)
    Sleep mask (HUGE fan)
    And diffusing lavender
    Epsom salt bath before bedtime
    Magnesium supplements