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2 Tips to Get the Sleep Your Body Craves

16th October 2013

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Not getting enough sleep? You’re not alone. Many people don’t get as much sleep as they’d like. Whether you have too much to do, or you just can’t seem to shut your brain off, here are some tips for better sleep and why it matters.

flickr image: Dennis Wong”

Kick everyone out of your bedroom.

Take this short quiz:
What do you do in your bedroom?

a) Sleep
b) Exercise
c) Work
d) Watch TV
e) Chores
f) Use a mobile device—smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc.

If you answered anything besides ‘a’, you could be sabotaging your sleep. Studies show that using your bedroom for anything besides sleep and, ahem, other nocturnal activities teaches your mind that the bedroom is a place for thinking and doing.

You don’t want that.

You want your mind to think bedroom = sleep.

Otherwise, when you’re lying in bed at night, you’ll be thinking of all the things you could be doing, instead of, well, sleeping.

Have you ever been lying in bed, about to fall asleep, when you have an idea that is so amazing, you have to get up and write it down?

When it happens occasionally, it’s probably due to your brain accessing the subconscious and making connections you might not have made when you were completely awake. But if it happens a lot, you may want to consider if maybe you’ve taught your mind to think when it should be sleeping.

To retrain your brain, quit working/exercising/watching TV/etc. in your bedroom. It sounds hard, especially when you carry a smartphone around with you everywhere you go, but it’s a crucial step in getting the sleep you need.

Get on a routine.

Do you ever stop to think why we don’t do the things now that were good for us when we were kids? Think about all the things the adults in your life told you when you were growing up.

Stand up straight.
Eat your veggies.
Brush and floss.
Take a nap.
Play nice.

Most parents develop a bedtime routine with their children. But as we get older many of us let bedtime routines slide, or are so busy, we’re lucky if we get our teeth brushed before we fall, exhausted, into bed.

But a bedtime routine, done the same way every night, is a great way to wind down and send your body the message that it’s time to get sleepy.

We’re not talking just a bare-bones must-do list here, but a relaxing, comforting ritual that you enjoy. It should be non-stimulating—no action movies or intense workouts here—and should be done at the same time every night, even on weekends.

Here are some ideas:

10-15 minutes of gentle stretching or yoga
Sip some calming chamomile tea, or warm almond milk with honey
Massage tension out of muscles—try a vibration machine on low frequencies
Write in a journal or tell a friend about your day
Take a hot bath
Rock in a rocker or porch swing

If the thought of tossing all your electronics out of your bedroom and starting a nightly routine seems overwhelming, don’t despair. Even implementing just one of these tips will greatly improve your sleep, provided you are consistent.

If you aren’t getting enough quality sleep, your health and quality of life suffer, and when you suffer, you aren’t able to do all the great things you’re in this world to do, so take a little time to prepare for the sleep of your life.


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