Use these 10 simple tips to fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and get a better and more restful night of sleep.
My husband can fall asleep in the blink of an eye and I consider that a superpower.
Sleep has always been a struggle for me.
I struggle to fall asleep, which is why I relied on melatonin for years (if you’re doing the same, make sure to read why you should stop taking melatonin every night!).
Where my husband can sleep whenever and wherever he feels like it, I have to be much more intentional about my bedtime routine and the sleep environment of my bedroom.
The tips below have helped me so much to be able to fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep throughout the night.
Make sure you don’t skip the 2 bonus tips at the end. Most of the 10 tips are the more common tips for a strong sleep foundation that you’ll hear just about everywhere.
They are important and so necessary but I was doing all of those things and still struggling to sleep, so the bonus tips are the keys that have worked for me!
#1 – Turn off screens an hour before bedtime
Whether it is the television, the computer, or your cell phone, those screens emit blue light that tricks your body into thinking it’s light enough that it should be staying awake.
This is probably the most difficult one for me because there is always another person to text or Facebook message and I love relaxing in front of Netflix!
There is a nighttime setting on newer iPhones that takes some of that blue light from your screen’s glow which helps, but if you really want to fall asleep quickly, shut off the screens an hour before bedtime.
They also sell glasses now that help to minimize blue light. I use these anytime I work on my computer, but especially in the evenings!
#2 – Count your blessings before you sleep
When your head hits your pillow at night, it’s easy for your mind to still be running at 100mph, even when your body is completely still.
And those thoughts can easily get carried away with “what ifs”, doubts, and regrets that can stress you out and keep you awake.
Instead of letting worries whisk you away, choose to dwell on the things in your life you are thankful for.
Relive the wonderful moments of your day, savoring the joy with all of your senses. That deep feeling of gratitude will bring you peace and happiness that will help you drift off into dreamland.
You can also keep a journal on your nightstand where you can write down anything you want to remember, so you can write it down and focus on sleep, knowing that you have it recorded when you need it.
#3 – Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
This is probably the best thing I’ve done for myself in regards to my sleep.
I’m a natural night owl, so I used to stay up late binge-watching TV shows and getting sucked into good books, which I would obviously regret when my alarm went off the next morning.
I’d tell myself I’d just catch up on sleep on the weekends and sleep in on Saturdays.
That left me going to bed and waking up at different times every day.
Our bodies like routines and they do their best to adjust to them. If your sleep schedule is all over the map, your body is never going to know when the proper time to sleep is.
Get yourself into a routine of going to bed and waking up at approximately the same time every day (yes, even on weekends!).
You might not feel the results immediately, but with a little bit of time, this makes a huge difference!
#4 – Have a relaxing bedtime routine
Bedtime routines are common with kids. We bathe them, read them stories, and pray with them to calm them down and get them ready to fall asleep.
Bedtime routines are just as important for adults!
I don’t know about you, but my mind is in hyperdrive all day long and it takes me time and intentionality to calm those thoughts down in the evenings to be able to fall asleep.
Come up with some relaxing activities you can do before you climb into bed:
- do some gentle stretching
- take a bubble bath
- write in a
journa l pray
- listen to some calming music (I’m quite partial to The Piano Guys)
#5 – Don’t look at the clock
For some twisted reason, my first inclination when I can’t fall asleep at night (or I wake up in the middle of the night) is to see what time it is. It’s like I feel the need to know exactly how much sleep I’m missing.
Watching the clock makes things worse.
Looking at the clock to see the time to dwell on how much sleep you are missing out on is not helpful at all. It will just leave you tense and frustrated as you watch every minute tick by.
Move your phone out of arm’s reach so you aren’t tempted to check it all night long and turn your alarm clock to face away from your bed.
Honestly, I haven’t been bold enough to move my phone out of arm’s reach yet, but I don’t check it at night anymore. When I wore my Fitbit, I would always check that the next morning, though!
#6 – Dim the lights
I never paid attention to this until a friend of mine commented one evening about needing to turn on her lamp instead of using the bright/harsh overhead light in her living room.
It’s no wonder we struggle to fall asleep when we spend all evening in brightly lit rooms with flashing TVs and then expect to be out the second we turn off the light!
It’s a process, settling down for the night. Just like the sun slowly goes down outside, your lights should gradually dim inside.
Use warm, soft lighting inside after the sun goes down. Try to use lamps instead of harsh overhead lights in the evenings.
Also, one of my favorite tools for waking up in the winter is this wake-up light that slowly gets brighter to wake you up by simulating the sunrise.
#7 – Use lavender
Lavender is my absolute favorite scent! It not only smells amazing but it is also a calming scent that is proven to help with insomnia.
#8 – Exercise regularly
Sick of feeling tired all day every day?
I know that feeling well.
I know it sounds counterintuitive, but add some workouts into your week! Regular exercise not only helps you sleep more soundly at night, but it also helps you to feel more awake and alert during the day.
Even just 10 minutes of aerobic activity can make a big difference, so get up and go on a walk, a run, or a bike ride, and do it regularly for more restful sleep!
Check out these helpful posts:
- How to Exercise When You Don’t Feel Like Exercising
- 4 Exercise Excuse Busters
- Tips for Exercising in the Winter
#9 – Have a lighter dinner
Big, heavy meals rev up your metabolism and make it harder to fall asleep.
And there are all kinds of other side effects like heartburn can make you uncomfortable, leaving you tossing and turning at night.
Try not to eat large meals within 2 or 3 hours of bedtime and be careful of that nighttime snacking!
Stay away from caffeine in the evenings (unfortunately, that includes chocolate), but there are healthy late-night snacks that won’t disturb your sleep.
#10 – Keep it cool and dark
Your body naturally cools down as it sleeps, so when you keep your bedroom at a cool temperature, ideally between 60 and 67 degrees, it helps your body adjust and fall asleep more quickly.
And all of those little lights in your bedroom that don’t seem like a big deal (like that glowing red light on the smoke detector, a power strip, or a computer charger) add up quickly, so try to darken your room however you can.
Cover as many lights as you can in your bedroom.
Use blackout curtains on your windows to block outside light and try a sleep mask to keep things as dark as possible.
After years of using one of those cheap, floppy masks, I now use (and LOVE) this sleep mask.
And check your thermostat before you go to bed, keeping things cool, to create the best sleeping environment possible for a restful night.
Bonus Tip #1 – Use a weighted blanket
My husband bought me a weighted blanket for my birthday this year and I am officially in love.
I used to get up to go to the bathroom 3-5 times a night and with the weighted blanket, that number has gone down to 0-1.
It cuts down on my restlessness and I don’t wake up from tossing and turning anymore. I can stay asleep longer in the mornings, too.
And, as an extra bonus, it’s great for calming anxiety!
It took about a week for me to get used to it and now I never want to sleep without it again.
I use the 20lb weighted blanket by BUZIO and absolutely love it!
Bonus Tip #2 – Use This Lotion
I cannot say enough good things about this magnesium sleep lotion.
I started using it when I was pregnant and struggling hard with insomnia and it was miraculously helpful during and, surprisingly, long after my pregnancy. I truly can’t recommend it highly enough!
When I’m doing everything else on this list and it’s still not working, this lotion *almost* always works and has me sleeping peacefully in no time.
It doesn’t work on the worst nights of my insomnia but it works beautifully most nights!