Sleeping is something so essential for living a healthy lifestyle, but many of us rarely get a good night’s sleep. There are a variety of reasons for this, but today’s modern lifestyle really doesn’t lend itself to preparing our bodies for a restful, healthy slumber. Here are 12 ways you can incorporate good habits or changes in your nightly routine to help you sleep better at night.
12 Ways to Get Better Sleep
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Drink cacao tea after dinner.
I’m the kind of person that usually needs a bit of chocolate after dinner. But when I do indulge, I find the sugar right before I’m supposed to sleep can keep me up. When I discovered this cacao tea (with zero caffeine) from the Cacao Tea Co., I was ecstatic. Although this tea does provide a bit of an alertness boost, it’s not enough to keep me awake after I drink it. I like to drink it right after dinner, giving me my much needed chocolate fix. The warmth is very soothing and helps me to relax. The gentle mental boost typically just allows me to focus on the tasks I need to take care of to prepare for the next day, and then I’m ready to get in bed and relax.
Take an epsom salt bath.
This is one of my absolute favorite ways to relax before bed. A warm bath will soothe and relax all by itself, but when you add epsom salts, you go to a whole new level of relaxation. Epsom salts contain magnesium, which helps to relax you and relieve anxiety, as well as relieve sore muscles. You can add your favorite essential oils to the bath for an even more relaxing soak. Try to soak for at least 20 minutes.
Invest in a quality mattress.
Mattresses make a huge difference in the quality of sleep you get. Most people, as they get older, will need a firmer mattress. And you are supposed to purchase a new mattress every 8-10 years. While a new mattress has historically been a pricey purchase, there has been a recent surge in quality mattresses, like Saatva, being sold online for a fraction of traditional mattress prices. Even Amazon sells really well-reviewed mattresses! I bought each of my kids their mattresses from Amazon and have been very pleased.
Keep your room dark.
A dark room is essential for quality sleep. When you keep a light on, even the light from your clock, it can wreak havoc with your REM cycle. Install some blackout curtains over the windows and make sure all electronics are turned off (or use black tape to cover any lights, if necessary). And try not to play on your phone or tablet within an hour of bedtime.
Try using a sound machine.
I have never been able to sleep without some sort of white noise. When I was little, we had those giant box fans in our rooms that we pointed to the wall and put on full blast for noise. When my kids were born, I put white noise machines in their nurseries to drown out noise from the outside, and they slept like rocks. Now I have graduated from the giant box fan to a small and powerful white noise machine on my bedside table. I can’t live without it! When I travel, I use this app to get the white noise I need to sleep well.
Ban the TV.
I am a firm believer that TVs in the bedroom do more harm than good. Having access to a television in the bedroom leads to more TV watching later into the evening. Not to mention that the light from the TV will disrupt your sleep cycle if you watch it right before bed. I have to admit, when my husband died, I put a TV back into our room because the silence was killing me. I noticed immediately, though, that my sleep suffered. It is better to eliminate the TV altogether and make your room as tech-free as possible.
Sex and sleep only.
When my husband and I got married we chose to make our bedroom a place for sleep and sex only. It was a sacred getaway for us; a haven in our house that soon grew noisy and busy with babies and toddlers. When you make an effort to dedicate your bedroom for sex and sleep, you are more likely to get more of both. Which, if we’re being honest, makes everyone more happy in the morning!
Read a book.
Instead of scrolling Facebook while you lie in bed or read an e-book on your tablet, grab an actual, old-fashioned, paper and ink book. I know, the idea seems so 1980s, but reading a physical book is so much better for your sleep than you think. Studies have shown that reading from a tablet or e-reader inhibits melatonin levels from dropping like they should. Studies also show that people who read from tablets or readers have shorter REM cycles. So do yourself a favor and pick up a good old-fashioned book!
Keep your room cool.
Did you know that the optimal temperature for good sleep is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit? I was a bit shocked to learn that! But it makes a lot of sense: when you’re lying in bed ready to sleep, your body temperature decreases to initiate sleep. Keeping your room between theses temps helps with that process. One way I keep my house at ideal sleep temperatures is by setting my Nest thermostat to drop to around 67 an hour before bedtime. The amazing thing about the Nest is that if it is too chilly or warm for me on any particular evening, I can use an app to adjust the temperature without getting out of bed. Hooray!
Invest in quality linens.
There’s something so luxurious about slipping in between a pair of soft, cool sheets after the end of a long day. I used to scoff at the idea of spending more than $20 on sheets but I soon realized that poorly made sheets makes for scratchy sleep conditions. They also wear out really fast. Now I save to invest in really great quality sheets and it’s worth every penny. These are some of the best-selling sheets on Amazon because they are soft and durable and they’re really inexpensive.
Try essential oils.
I am a huge fan of essential oils for just about anything. But using them for better sleep is really a no-brainer. Even the biggest oils skeptics will swear by them helping get better zzzz’s. The most common oils to help with sleep are Lavender, Vanilla, Rose or Geranium, Sandalwood, and Citrus. These help to calm the body and mind and ready your brain for some deep shut-eye. Some of my favorite, easily accessible, and affordable oils are from Plant Therapy.
Start taking these supplements.
Two of the most effective supplements I have found for helping me get better sleep are magnesium and CBD oil. Magnesium, specifically in the form of Natural Calm, helps to relax the body and prepare you for sleep. It also helps your, ahem, bowels stay regular. I also take CBD oil every night before bed. My absolute favorite brand is Life’s Balance. CBD oil, or Cannabidiol is a natural compound found in the cannabis plant. It has medicinal effects but does not make a person feel high. There are no psychoactive properties in CBD-rich cannabis plants. For me, taking CBD oil has not only helped me to sleep soundly at night, it has helped to relieve my chronic back pain, and it helps to keep my anxiety away. In short, at least for me, this oil is my saving grace and holy grail. I will never not be without it!