Ahhh… the sweet, sweet feeling of getting a good night’s sleep. Have you been able to have that kind of feeling lately?
The best thing you can do to get good sleep consistently is, to eat healthier, exercise regularly, avoid Bluelight, and keep a schedule.
In this post, I’m going to discuss tips on how to get sound sleep at night naturally.
I’ve tried a few prescriptions for sleep. I’ve tried just regular over the counter aids, and I’ve tried various homeopathic aids. They each have their pros and cons, but overall the best things you can do without these aids are listed below.
I’m a pretty light sleeper. It started back when I was in college, and I don’t know why exactly. As a kid, I could sleep through a tornado. Sometimes I would wake up to my parents talking about a smoke detector going off, or a car alarm blaring.
I didn’t hear anything. I think as a kid your mind isn’t racing as much, your overall stress levels are down compared to an adult, and you probably kept a better sleep schedule.
In this post I want to discuss some things you can do to try and get back to the days when sleeping through the night is the norm.
Why Exercising Is Crucial For Good Sleep
The first thing you can work on is getting more exercise. Daily if possible. As a teenager and even into my 20’s I had labor-intensive jobs. Heck, I even did a year of wildland firefighting with the men. Hard work, but overall a great job.
“Sleeping is my drug, my bed is my dealer, and my alarm clock is my police!“
And one thing I noticed is after a day of carrying around an emergency fire shelter (required these days) that weighed about 25 pounds, water to drink, and usually a tool (like a shovel, Pulaski, rake) it was exerting work. But at night after working my tail off, I would sleep so much better. The body is drained and needs time to rest and recuperate.
And I think as a kid I would be out running and playing, I would be tired by the end of the day.
This daily exertion is key to getting a good night’s rest. We don’t have the energy we did as a kid, so we don’t have to be out running all day to deplete our energy, but getting 45 minutes of moderate exercise a day will help deplete your body of energy, and help your body crave the sleep it needs to recover.
If you’re just getting into a fitness routine, you could start slow. Maybe take a couple of 20-minute walks during the day. If this seems easy, make your walk a little brisker, or find a bodyweight exercise program you can do.
In the end, the goal is to get out, preferably get some vitamin D, burn some calories, and get our body used to deplete energy so that it craves sleep.
Why Eating Correctly Is Crucial For Sleep
I love food. And if the food is really good, I like to have seconds. Portion control and I are constantly having battles. But I know that eating correctly, and at the right time, is key to me entering that deep sleep that your body needs.
I’m sure we’ve all eaten something that just sat in our gut for hours. And just getting up off the couch is a chore.
“Sleeping is hard in the summer because the blankets are too warm, but without them, I’m vulnerable to monsters.“
The last thing you want to do is be productive or get errands done. By avoiding these foods that are high in fats, sugar, or just plain eating too much can disrupt your daily rhythm, which in the end leads to poor sleep. This is especially true if you eat a large meal within a couple of hours of going to be at night.
If you’re laying in bed, feeling full of food, it’s uncomfortable, your body is actively trying to process and digest food, and the last thing you’ll be able to do is sleep.
If your bedtime is 9 pm I would suggest being done with dinner by 6:30-7 at the latest. This will give you at least a couple of hours to digest food.
Another tip about eating. If you eat early and feel like you need a snack, eating something like a few carrots, a handful of almonds, or something small is okay, but another thing you can do is mix some apple cider vinegar into some lemon ginger tea after dinner. This will provide a satiety feeling, which may help with food cravings.
I will have to get up and use the restroom if I drink my tea or water too late into the evening. The best results for me have been to drink little to no fluid within a couple of hours of bed.
Others can drink a glass of water before bed and not have to get up. I’m jealous of them, but it just doesn’t work for me. See what works for you in regards to fluids and getting up in the middle of the night.
Obviously, getting up in the middle of the night is a huge disruption so consider this when your drinking or tea in the evening.
Regular Sleep Schedule
This one is really tough for people, but tell me if this sounds familiar. Monday through Thursday, you’re in bed by 10 pm and up at 6 am. Friday and Saturday you’re in bed by midnight (or later depending on girls night) and up around 7:30 or 8 am (or later)?
It’s really hard to go to bed at 10 pm on a Sunday if you’ve only been up for 12-14 hours. You’re just not that tired yet.
The difference between school night (I still use that term in my 40’s) and the weekend is only a couple of hours, but imagine instead of only getting 6 hours of sleep, you were getting 8 hours of sleep regularly. This would be huge right?
I’m not your mother so I’m not going to tell you to go to bed by 10 pm on a Friday or Saturday night, but hopefully, I’ve got my point across.
The one cheat you can do on this is if you stay up late try your best to at least get up close to your normal time on a weekday. You may short yourself a couple of hours one of the nights, but it will be significantly easier to get back into a regular sleep schedule during the workweek.
Avoid Technology Before Bed
The bed is for two things. The first is to sleep, the other is for…..how do I say….affection!! Nothing else. Not eating, watching tv/movies, working on a laptop, or anything that will keep you up.
If your bedroom has a tv in it, take it out. As a matter of fact, I would say stop watching tv altogether, but that is for a different post. You’ve probably heard it before but tv, phone, laptops, give off a Bluelight that tricks your body into thinking it’s daytime and you need to be awake.
By eliminating the Bluelight your body will be more apt to enter into a sleep mode.
If you need something to focus on, try reading. And not the latest spy thriller that will be a page-turner, but something a little more consumable that won’t keep you up. For me, it’s non-fiction books.
If you don’t like reading, get a pad and pencil and write down what you need for tomorrow or write down your thoughts that might race through your mind. Studies show that if you write down what’s bothering you, you’re more likely to slow down your brain and fall asleep.
Why Is Sleep So Important
You probably already know the basics of why sleep is such a necessary part of life, but I want to mention them here anyway.
- sleep is the time when your body repairs itself
- it helps the nervous system
- reduces stress levels
- helps the immune system fight off disease
- repairs micro-tears in muscle tissue, building muscle
- reduces feelings of depression
- improves memory
- decreases the chance of accidents by increasing alertness
- improves your skin complexion
Two Components to Quality Sleep
The first is the mattress you sleep on. Right after college, I used a futon for about 9 months. What can I say, funds were low, and buying a comfortable mattress was pretty low on the priority list. Another thing that was low during those 9 months was my sleep.
To top it all off, it was exactly a 6-foot futon, so to sleep “comfortably” I had to sleep diagonally so that my head or arms wouldn’t hit the wood frame at night. And sleeping diagonally didn’t help that much. My point here is to find a mattress that will help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
A mattress can last up to a decade, so it’s a wise investment. I’ve gotten so used to my pillowtop mattress that when I travel, I have a difficult time sleeping on a cheap stiff motel mattress. This leads me to my second component, which is awesome pillows.
When I travel I try and bring one of my pillows with me. Rarely do I find motel pillows (or any pillows for that matter) that help me sleep. I personally like to have one pillow that I can fold over on itself.
It just seems to keep my neck flat and it really works for me. I also usually have one that is a little firmer. Again that is my preference and what works for me. I’ve heard good things about body pillows from others, and some swear by putting a pillow between their legs while they sleep.
The point here is, get the right set up for you that will ensure you’re getting a full night’s rest.
Conclusion of Quality Sleep
We spend about 1/3 of your life asleep. Do what you need to do to make sure you’re getting the most out of this time. Eat correctly, exercise daily, and use a pillow/mattress that will welcome you to sleep. Insomnia and sleep apnea affects so many people, and the effects last throughout the day.
Poor sleep can severely affect your mood, attitude, and change who you are as a person. You need to love yourself as a person, and getting a good night’s sleep will make that so much easier.
What techniques do you use to fall asleep? Leave a comment below.