Much of what causes people to stay up at night and have trouble falling asleep are things that they can fix themselves without having to use or buy outside aids. Of course, things like having a comfortable bed, or some melatonin before bed can help, but those can only supplement a healthy bedtime regiment.
Here are 5 things you can do, by yourself, to help you get much better sleep…
5) Take A Cold Shower/Bath Before Bed
There are many things that your body does to prepare for sleep. One of them is lowering its temperature. The body drops from its day-time temperature (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by 1-2 degrees in order to preserve energy at night.
In order to help the body slip into this part of its cycle, taking a cold shower or bath can get the body feeling comfortable and ready for sleep.
(Personally, I like to shower at night. I’ll take a normal/warm shower then at the very end switch it to cold. *This has also been known to help your heart).
Also, it can be helpful to maintain a room temperature of around 68 degrees Fahrenheit, to help keep your body stay cool and relaxed throughout the night.
(*There are some beds out there that can keep you cooler at night than others. Read my review of the Casper here).
4) Go To Sleep At The “Right” Hour
Believe it or not, your body does have its own bedtime. Most of us tend not to listen to it, or can’t even pay attention to it due to our hectic schedules, but there is a window of time each night that our body is trying to get us to sleep.
Between 10pm and 2am our body is ready for bed. Our bodies begin producing the anti-oxidant and anti-carcinogen melatonin at around 10pm (after the sun has set). As 2am appraches your body begins to realize that it may not be time to sleep just yet, therefore it begins producing cortisol to keep you up (you don’t want this to happen if you’re trying to get sleep).
Also, between these hours your body will also be producing human growth hormone (aka youth hormone) if you are asleep. However if you miss this window of regenerative sleep your body will have a hard time producing the necessary amount of HGH your body needs to recoup and rebuild, resulting in still feeling fatigued in the morning.
3) Automate Your Bed-Time Routine
We are creatures of habit. So naturally, if we have a bed-time routine our minds will automatically recognize when it’s becoming time for bed.
- Take a warm/cold shower
- Brush my teeth
- Read a few pages from a book
This is an example of my bed-time routine. Since sticking to this routine I’ve definitely noticed it is much easier to get to sleep since my mind recognizes that when I do these activities in order, it means it’s time for bed. Syncing this with a bed-time of 10:00pm-11:30pm has really helped my body get back onto a much healthier sleep cycle, leaving me feeling well rested each morning.
2) Stop Looking At Your Phone Before Bed
If you’re like me, you like to look at your phone at night. Check Facebook, scroll through Instagram, I know the drill, however it’s not just keeping your mind busy and stimulated that’s the problem…
It never feels too good to be blinded by your phone’s screen at night, I’m sure you’ve experienced that. The blinding sensation is partially due to the fact that your screen gives off blue light, similar to the sun’s blue light.
(But the sun is orange, how doe’s it give off blue light?) I know, sounds crazy. Look it up if you don’t believe me.
A way to avoid this is obviously to not look at your phone at night. However, if you just have to open that email, or like that photo, it’s a good idea to put your iPhone into Night Shift. Simply slide up on your screen and you should see and On/Off button for Night Shift.
(I don’t have an Android but I assume they have a similar feature.)
If you have the same problem except you’re on you computer late at night, try downloading a program called f.lux. It’s a software that will sets the color temperature of your computer screen based on the time, and when you are planning on waking up in the morning. You can download it for free here. (Not affiliated with them, just a great free tool I use.)
1) Stop Watching the Clock
If you’re already in bed and all the lights are off the last thing you want to do is keep looking at the clock. I understand if you have to set an alarm, or if you just check the time before you go to bed once or twice, but if you’re in bed and find you continuously keep looking at the time, wondering what time you’re going to fall asleep and how many hours of sleep you are going to get… stop.
Once you’re in bed, there’s no reason to begin stressing out about how much sleep you’re going to get. This stress will likely have your body begin producing cortisol which will keep you up even longer.
Instead, simply realize that you are in bed, and sleep is right around the corner. Focus on your breathing and clear your thoughts and let your mind drift off. If you are able to fall asleep while not knowing the time, you can actually wake up feeling better rested no matter how many hours of sleep you end up getting. This causes a placebo effect that can trick your mind into thinking it got more sleep, simply because it didn’t realize how much sleep it actually got.
(Learn more about Bed-Time Meditation in this article.)
Hopefully you find these 5 Tips helpful. I have implemented every single one and they have had a significant impact on the quality of my sleep, which has lead to much more productive days.