5 ways to get better sleep...TONIGHT!!!

by Sarah Winfrey on 12 October 2007 19 comments
Photo: Hamed Saber

I'm not what you would call "A Good Sleeper." Never have been, at least not as long as I can remember. Since going through a day zombie-like is not fun (and not very productive, either), I've come up with some things that work to help me get to sleep and stay asleep. I hope they help you, too!

1. Wind down for 30 minutes before you try to sleep.

What relaxes you? Books? Movies? Music? Whatever it is, get yourself some and spend some time with it. Not too much, mind you, or it's not about sleeping anymore. A half hour spent doing something you enjoy is just about the perfect amount of time to relax before you fall asleep.

2. Check the temperature.

If you're uncomfortable, you will tend to sleep poorly even if you don't wake up because of it. You should feel slightly cool but not cold and definitely not hot. That will be different for everyone, so you may have to negotiate if your partner feels "slightly cool" at a different temp than you do. Put some blankets within easy reach, if getting cold in the night is something that happens to you. For some reason, we don't always notice the temperature when we're fighting to sleep well, but changing it can work wonders.

3. Go to the bathroom, and don't drink anything in the hour before you try to sleep.

Ok, so it sounds a little silly, but if you don't have to get up to use the toilet in the middle of the night, you're more likely to sleep all the way through until morning, and that sleep is more likely to be good. Interrupted sleep is always less restful and less deep than uninterrupted sleep.

4. Make a list of the things you want to do tomorrow.

Often, we lie awake at night because we're thinking or worrying about what the morning will bring. Writing these things down helps us feel like we don't have to carry them around in our heads anymore, which can allow our minds to relax so we can sleep, and sleep well. if you have things come to you when you're lying in bed, or if you aren't plagued so much with things to do but with thoughts or "what if's...," writing can help you too. Keep a pen and paper by your bed and list the things that come to mind or the things you want to think about. Block out some time to spend with them in the morning so you can sleep peacefully all night.

5. Spray your sheets with a relaxing scent.

Not everything aroma therapists claim scents can do is true, but they can help us relax. Lavender is known to be relaxing, but really, it's whatever works for you. Find a body spray in the bed and bath section of your local drug store or supermarket, spray your sheets, and sleep the night away. Don't spray it on too thick, or you'll have to change your sheets to be able to breathe. A light spray from 3 or 4 feet away is usually good to go.

Sleep well, everyone!† I know I hope I do.

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Anne Hill Wiebe

It really helps to keep very regular hours of sleeping, and to not use the bed for any non-bed-type activities. This means don't type on your laptop in bed, don't pay your bills in bed, etc. If you get into bed and are used to mostly sleeping there, bed becomes a sleep cue. Also, your body will be much more cooperative if you always go to bed about the same time and get up about the same time. Sleeping in on weekends is counterproductive if you have sleep problems, it just throws you off.

You can also use sunlight to your advantage to wake up in the morning. Sunlight is biologically programmed into us to wake us up. What you're really trying to do is establish your sleep-wake cycle more firmly, so when the hours of sleep come around, your body is ready to SLEEP!

Guest's picture
Mark

Usually a few beers or a glass of wine will do the trick for me.

The best way to get sleep is to turn off the TV!

BTW I linked this site on my blog, even though this sites not remotely related to my blog. I'm just a fan.

http://youlaughyoulose.blogspot.com/

Guest's picture
Guestalysha

yeah i bet you dont need to be so nasty BTW

Guest's picture
Lisa Neutel

A sleep specialist told me to take a warm bath or shower 2 hours before bedtime, and to wear socks and gloves (thin cotton ones, from the drug store) to bed. This has made a big difference to me.

Guest's picture

That sound like something Michael Jackson does!

Why not make some love with the wifey and after you have both done the deed, smoke some weed and you'll feel the need to retire.

Cheers,

BTW: Sleeping is for the weak! Where did I hear that before?

Guest's picture

This is a really useful post and I'm going to try out some of your suggestions.

I have chronic insomnia. It's 4:30 in the morning for me and I've been up for about an hour. I have to get ready for work in a few hours. I'm dreading the start of the working week with such little sleep. I'll know doubt be cursing my lack of sleep later this afternoon when I hit the wall and feel like curling up under my desk for some zzzzz.

I like the idea of writing things down before bed. I'll give it go.. tomorrow night.

Guest's picture
andy

Speechie... your insomnia is because you are wasting your time online. If you look at the computer and it says anything after midnight, then just go to bed!

Guest's picture
Ken

Sarah, Thanks for the idea of keeping a pen and paper along side of my bed. Cannot tell you how many times I lay awake thinking about the next day. Bad part about it is I get up and raid the fridge hoping it will help me get back to sleeep.

Guest's picture
hivemind

I have a mid-size dog with short legs (corgi) that keeps me company at bedtime. I think we both sleep better. Sometimes I let one of my cats sleep in also, but they tend to cause trouble real early in the morning so I don't do this often anymore. I'm a definate fan of cooler temps with a good feather comforter, and reading from my mini-library stack of books on my night table puts me out pretty quick. Oh yeah, I stay far away from caffiene and chocolate (!) after 8pm.

Guest's picture
valletta

Over the years I've found a few things that work for me (and because of my business I am forced to be a night owl when I am naturally a lark :)

- Melatonin! (only when I know I need some extra help staying asleep, no side effects, great dreams!)

- I always wear an eye mask (I have multiples for my luggage, night stand, etc, so I always have one nearby) - the interesting thing about an eye mask, at least for me, I have a Pavlovian response to it. Just putting it over my eyes makes me go to sleep within minutes!

- Spend ONE minute to email myself a final list of things in my head, to-dos, calls, issues, etc. that I want to tackle the next day, hit send and forget about it until the next morning when I print it out and plan my day.

Guest's picture
sally

well look it is simple sleep isnt one of the things i like to do becase i cant sleep but i found out a wya that helps me take a long bath then go to bed it will calm you down or tou can exersise to get you tired but the best way is to sleep an hour a day this is called a power nap i went off three days with this so let me know if this helps

sally cant sleep

Guest's picture
vincent

In order to get the best quality sleep, daily exercise should be confined to mornings, afternoons and early evenings

Guest's picture
vincent

The main reasons we loose sleep are: Unresolved stress, being too busy, too much caffeine, not enough exercise, too much evening light (TV, computers, indoor and outdoor lights), not enough morning light.

Guest's picture

dont take any pills!
the last thing you need to compound a sleep problem is a dependence on anything.

there are a plethora of ways to get deep, natural sleep.

what kind of condition is your mattress in? do you flip it every 6 months? try it, you'll be surprised how it feels.

try shutting everything off (tvs, cell phones, computers, lights) and read a good book, or listen to some relaxing music. you should drift away into a nice slumber.

maybe squeeze in some time for a good walk/run. if you dont exhaust energy during the day, your body wont know it should sleep.

try this guide:
http://www.getbettersleeptonight.com

its cheaper than sleeping pills, and TEACHES you how to continue getting satisfying rest. worked wonders for some friends ive recommended it to.

and if you were wondering, i have 10+ years experience in the mattress/sleep industry. one thing i know, is how to sleep.

Guest's picture
tiredofbeingtired

Some really good tips here. =)

I want to add make sure you lay off the bedtime snacking about an hour or so before bed. Any late night calories will make it harder to sleep as your body experiences a surge of energy.

Also make sure you have had enough exercise in the day, this is the eaisest way to get a great nights sleep.

I will be adding this site to my blog as I think everybody should read this list! My blog is unrelated http://what-is-an-affiliate-network.blogspot.com/

Guest's picture

Thanks for the sleep tips. Some easy tips to apply.

The last tip is interesting. I agree that aromatherapy can certainly be relaxing. However, actually spraying your bed sheets with a relaxing scent is a new twist.

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Guestalysha

this website is crap lol im 12 so what do i do

Guest's picture
Jason

I always tend to be able to fall asleep after a few drinks, and the relaxing scent tip doesn't work for me at all. Otherwise, good advice!

-Jason
http://www.youlaughyoulose.net

Guest's picture
Sunshine343

I've tried these and #2, works best because it's not "all in one's head". Personally, I find that running a fan works well because it cools down the body temperature (simulates nighttime), creates white noise to block out all those things you can't turn off (noisy neighbors, the dryer/dishwasher, crickets, tv in the next room, pets, etc.), and moves fresh air toward you. Serious breathing issues should be dealt with via a professional system like a CPAP, but a fan is good enough for those 'suffocating' in a mountain of squishy pillows and blankets.

PS: I always sleep better camping and the fan trick does a lot to simulate it. Does anyone else sleep better camping to? I know the ground can be hard but people always say, "I slept like a rock."