Last updated on December 8th, 2020 at 10:08 am
This post is about some of the sleeping tips that can help you if you can’t sleep. After doing a bit of research on how to sleep better at night naturally, I found out these actually worked for me, so I hope they help you as well! These ideas will help you create a healthy bedtime routine and better evening habits, so that you wake up early and rested in the morning.
In case you haven’t read any articles or books on the topic and I’m the first to tell you this: Sleep is important. Sorry I screamed.
The Importance Of Sleep
While you’re sleeping, it’s the time for
- your brain
- your immune system
- your blood vessels
- your entire body
to clean up what’s that’s been built over the previous day, recover and rebuild itself. That’s how important sleep is. It’s basically rejuvenation and renovation. If it wasn’t for sleep and rest we’d basically just be falling apart.
Sleep Deficiency Risks
Sleep deficiency and irregular sleep patterns, on the other hand, have many negative effects on your health, your mood and productivity (source).
For example not getting enough sleep for a while can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or stroke. (source)
The Change For Me
For me, while I’ve loved my morning routine for years now, my evening routine has suffered a lot.
For the longest time before going to bed I would do something relaxing, but then go to the kitchen and fix myself a sandwich, even though I’m not really hungry and very aware it’s 10 pm and I shouldn’t be doing this. Sometimes I’d go to the store to buy Pringles.
And then because I wouldn’t get a good sleep and would wake up super early, I’d be tired and eat like a trash can the next day. Which turned into 15 pounds weight gain in one year.
The other “bad thing” I’d do in the evening was that I would sit myself down at my desk to “work”, which I wasn’t because I’ve already been up for 17 hours and my brain is not very alert. Next day, tired and very unproductive.
Thankfully, one step at a time, I started getting my sleepless nights under control. And I mean, ONE step at a time. I started going to bed and waking up earlier – while getting 7.5 hours of sleep.
How To Sleep Better
Update 2020: It’s been about 2 years since I wrote and last edited this article. Who would believe the world can get even crazier…It did. And it’s messing with the sleep habits and sleep schedules of many of us around the world. Including myself.
So, I found some more things that help me whenever I can’t seem to fall asleep and feel a bit anxious. If you wake up in the middle of the night for whatever reason and can’t seem to go back to sleep (believe it or not this seems to really common these days – many people in my personal life, many of you have complained of the same issue) try one of these.
1. Spend more time outdoors during the day.
Don’t know what it is, but spending more time outside makes me tired in a very good way and I sleep so much better during the night. There’s actually research on this and it shows that spending more time in nature will improve the quality of your sleep and your life. So, even if it’s cold outside, aim to spend a bit more time outdoors – walking, gardening, just get out there. During winter I aim for at least 30-minutes to an hour walk. I’ve been skipping it lately and it shows – I go to sleep at 1 am and wake up at 6:30 am. It’s remarkable how much we’re connected to nature, after all – we are from nature and we need to keep that in mind with everything we do. How we eat, sleep, move and spend our time.
2. Counting breaths
If you wake up in the middle of the night, try counting your breaths. This seems to work with helping me get back to sleep and calming my mind. To be counting breaths you’ll need to shift your focus from whatever is keeping you up at night to something as simple as noticing that you’re breathing.
3. No Caffeine In The Afternoon
That means, even decaf coffee. Dark chocolate? Also gone. I didn’t think caffeine affected me too much in the past, but once I stopped drinking that late-afternoon coffee – I started feeling and sleeping better.
4. Stop Eating Early.
5 pm might be too early for many, but at the moment, here it gets dark at 4 pm. What I’m trying to do here is eat in accordance with my circadian rhythm. Following your natural circadian rhythm is very important in preserving your health. Circadian rhythm disturbances can lead to low grade chronic inflammation, which is the common denominator for most chronic diseases (source).
I did feel hungry the first day or two, but after that, it gets so much easier. And I feel lighter and somehow happier.
Plus this way it’s easier for me to do intermittent fasting. I can start eating at 9 or 11 in the morning – depending on how many hours I want to fast that day. I highly recommend not eating at least 3 hours before bed to get better sleep and to feel rested the next day.
5. No Work After 8 pm
Because I’m working from home and my life and work have kinda merged into one big mess, I needed to set some boundaries. And one of those boundaries is that I’m not going to work after 8 pm – so I have to relax and recharge for the next day. And get off that computer already.
6. Do Something Relaxing one hour before bed
To me the fool-proof way to go to sleep really quickly is to read a book. When I’m kinda tired one page is all I need. Sometimes I don’t even make it till the end of the page. So right before I go to sleep – book. I also found out some relaxing bedtime yoga stretches and journaling can really help me wind down and sleep better.
7. Wake Up At The Same Time, Even On Weekends
I mentioned this in my article on how to wake up early. It’s important to get your body into a rhythm. When you wake up at the same time every day after only a few days you’ll also start feeling tired around the same time every evening and you’ll create a routine, a more regular sleep pattern.
8. Following a regular workout routine
Regular exercise has benefits that are pretty unbelievable. It can improve your brain health, your cardiovascular health, bone health, it’s a super effective tool anyone should use. Following a regular workout routine might also help reset your circadian rhythm and your sleeping schedule. Create a workout schedule – whether it’s walking or a more intense type of exercise, follow a routine, do it every day and do it at the same time.
9. Go To Bed The Moment You Feel Tired
Let’s face it, when you’re tired you’re not helping anyone. Not yourself, not your family, not your work, not your fitness. You’re just trying to skip something that’s inevitable and that you need. And that thing is sleep. So the moment you feel tired, instead of keeping yourself up, because you’ve got work to do – get some rest and go to bed.
10. Set The Environment
It’s super important that the room you sleep in is dark, so you get into that deep sleep. Also keep it quiet and not too warm (although I do love to sleep in a warm place – so something I’m still working on!).
11. Stay away from your phone
As much as possible. Turn it off completely 2-3 hours before bed and let it charge in another room. Don’t touch it if you wake up at night.
I really hope you found some new ideas that can help solve your sleeping problems! Sleep is one of the most important things we can do for our health – it’s recovery and rejuvenation. It should be a top priority on our lists. Make sure to share this with a friend if you did find it helpful and let me know – what helps you sleep better at night?