I’m here to give you my top tips for better sleep. Because we all deserve that!
I’m going to tell you all about the perfect sleep atmosphere in your room, my nighttime routine, products that I use for better sleep, and the gratitude exercise I do to fall asleep each night. And stick around for the end, I’ll offer my quick fixes for better sleep on the nights that are especially challenging!
Prefer to listen? The podcast episode is below!
My baby is over a year old and still not sleeping through the night. I’m ok with this, though it is painful. Of course, I wish I were sleeping through the night. But I work from home, have a flexible schedule, and have the ability to be up in the middle of the night with him when he needs me. It can be frustrating at times but ultimately, I’ll be sad when he stops needing me in the middle of the night.
I’m telling you all of this so you can understand my current relationship with sleep. It is precious. You can ask my husband how protective I have been over my sleep in the past year and he will probably laugh. Because he knows. I don’t mess around when it comes to sleep.
But sleeping isn’t always easy. I’ve struggled with insomnia in the past. And have struggled with both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism since giving birth. Hyperthyroidism made it impossible for me to fall asleep. I was wired until very, very late. And hypothyroidism made me incredibly exhausted, unable to stay awake, which meant that every moment I could sleep made a huge difference for me.
There are so many reasons why sleep can be challenging for people – whether that’s falling asleep, staying asleep, or just feeling well-rested after you wake up. Hormones, changing sleep schedules, or stress. Whatever the reasons are for you, I’m here to give you my top tips for better sleep. Because we all deserve that!
Atmosphere Tips for Better Sleep
Setting up your room for successful sleep is where this all begins. Think about what is comforting to you. Soft lighting, cozy blankets, and clean.
Let’s talk about lighting. Warm lights have been known to promote relaxation. We have a couple of Himalayan salt lamps on our nightstands that we use in place of lamps. They give off a very pinkish-amber light and have dimmers that allow up to choose how soft and low the lights are. We also have Himalayan salt lamp nightlights throughout the house as well for when I’m up with our baby or if we need to use the bathroom or get water in the middle of the night.
Apart from just setting a wonderful mood throughout the house, there are many other believed benefits to salt lamps. The salt produces negative ions and can help to purify the air in your home. Many people believe that it also helps to promote blood flow, better breathing, and a whole host of other health benefits. I’m not sure if the science is fully there to back any of this, but I recommend getting one (or three) for the vibe alone.
Do you know what does purify the air and is scientifically backed? You didn’t really think a blog called Root and Rise could go without suggesting plants, did you? Plants lower cortisol levels and purify the air. This is your sign to go buy a plant. Or three. It’s for your health, right?
What other items can help make a room feel cozier? Certainly, items like soft bedding, some plants, and calming artwork can do that trick. I also frequently use a linen spray with calming scents like lavender. You can add any elements that feel calming to you. There is no right or wrong answer for that.
Don’t Kill My Vibe
But more importantly, I want you to consider what items have the opposite impact on you. What things keep you engaged, alert, and active? I’m not perfect with this because I am frequently editing my podcast in bed or sitting on my phone before sleep. So there is zero judgment with what is about to come.
But I recommend limiting screens in your bedroom. We don’t have a tv in our bedroom because I know I’d be too tempted to stay up watching shows each night. I mean, clearly, I already struggle with my laptop and phone enough as it is! I’ve also heard that your body and brain start to make associations with what you do in your bed.
If you are using your bed to watch tv, play games, or even worse, work from bed, your brain won’t automatically associate your bed with needing to wind down. I get it though, in this day and age, technology is often used. Like I said, I’m guilty of this too and no one is perfect. The important part is that you are more mindful about how you are spending your time in your bedroom at night.
You Can’t Hide a Mess
Do you know what else will keep me up at night? Even if I can’t see it in the dark? A mess. I haven’t seen my pre-baby level of clean since giving birth. And that’s ok. Your room doesn’t need to be spotless. But if your room looks and feels chaotic, no matter what else you do to set the sleepy mood, it can all be completely undone by the energy that chaos can bring.
Lights and Sounds
Some more obvious reasons that might keep you awake when you need to sleep are light and sound. Get some black-out curtains to prevent any light outside – whether that is the sun or street lights – from getting in and disturbing your sleep. Or a nice sleep mask. A sound machine or a pair of earplugs can help with any noises that might keep you awake. Some people just sleep better with a sound machine and it’s not necessarily to even block out any noise.
The temperature in your room can even play a huge part in your sleep. You know the feeling of not being able to fall asleep because you are uncomfortably hot or freezing. It’s not comfortable. The Sleep Foundation says the ideal temperature for sleep is 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Or 18.3 degrees Celsius for my readers outside of the United States. Some people run warmer or cooler than others, so find what works best for you!
Nighttime Routine Tips for Better Sleep
I never understand how important a nighttime routine was until having a baby. I wrote an entire article about this, Babies thrive off of schedules. They don’t understand time. But they understand routines. Routines create a feeling of stability and can subconsciously set you up for what’s to come based on repetition alone.
But this nighttime routine begins long before the evening. For me, a better sleep routine starts mid-day when I cut off caffeine. When I drink caffeine past 3 pm, it keeps me up at night. You know your body best. And if you don’t know yet – experiment. Note what time you last drank caffeine and what time you ended up falling asleep at night.
Limiting alcohol and trying to be more active during the day can also help to improve your sleep. A lot of the choices that you make in your diet can impact your sleep as well. There are certainly some food or drinks that we all know can help us sleep better, like turkey or chamomile tea. So this concept might not be shocking to you.
Some food sensitivities you might have could also be causing you to experience higher levels of anxiety which will not help your sleep. Consider starting a food journal and tracking what you eat, your symptoms throughout the day, and how it impacted your sleep.
Once the night actually does roll around, I have a pretty loose sleep routine based on how much energy or time I have at night. A relaxing shower is always a great way to start it out. Followed by some cozy pajamas, my skincare routine, and maybe some relaxing tea. I have really bad allergies so I take some allergy medicine at night. Along with some calming supplements.
Reading into it
Then I spray my sheets with that calming lavender linen spray, use some lavender lotion, my favorite chapstick, and hop into bed. Reading before falling asleep has always been my go-to since I was young. Reading helps me to separate myself from my day a little bit. And definitely helps me separate myself from my phone – which always has endless amounts of entertainment for me. TikTok has taken over my bedtime routine, it keeps me up late scrolling and I can feel the bad effects on my sleep.
So I’m slowly shifting back into my healthier, original routine before bed – reading. But you have to be careful with your book selection, you can’t pick anything too engaging unless you have a very strong sense of self-discipline. As soon as that book picks up, you won’t be able to put it down. I’ve stayed up all night reading books before no longer caring about any consequences because i just needed to know what happens next.
Recently, I’ve purchased two books to get me back into my reading before bed routine. One is More Than a Body, a more serious but educational book. And the other is The Mountain is You – filled with shorter excerpts to make stopping at any point much easier. They are incredible and I know for a fact you’ll be hearing more about them from me in the future.
Another thing that I love to do before bed is meditating. Not sit and think about nothing on my own – because my brain is not wired to be able to meditate like that without assistance. I love using guided meditations on Spotify. Be careful where you find these guided meditations though if you are using a platform with ads – an ill-timed and high-energy ad can be very unnerving and damage any progress you made trying to meditate.
There are guided meditations out there for any specific issue you might be facing. Anxiety, grief, stress, anger, you name it – there is someone out there who has made a guided meditation for it. The Calm app is another incredible resource for meditation.
Gratitude Exercise for Better Sleep
My next tip for better sleep is a gratitude exercise. What kind of impact do you think gratitude might have on your mental health and your sleep? Use this trick to help you fall asleep grateful each night:
The Gratitude Alphabet Game
Going through each letter of the alphabet, start making a list in your head of 5 things that you are grateful for.
Since I have been focused on self-love lately, I try to come up with 3 things that I’m grateful for in myself. With the letter “A”, it might be my attitude because I am grateful that I tend to maintain a positive attitude. Or it might be my aspirations that I am grateful for because they drive me forward in life. This may be the only moment I give myself in my day to compliment or love myself, and that is so important.
For the remaining 2 choices, I will choose experiences or people that I am grateful for. I might challenge myself and choose an experience or person that may have been negative for me. Like the recent end of a friendship or a bad encounter in your day. It helps to take a moment to be grateful for what I have learned or how I have grown because of the situation, even if I still hold anger or hurt over that situation.
It’s ok to hold space for the good and the bad feelings. But sometimes I find that the bad feelings start to overshadow the good, this is why taking a moment to remind yourself of the good is so important for your healing. Or, on a more positive note, maybe it is a person in your life that helps bring light and love, and it’s a less complicated gratitude!
It’s important to be flexible when creating your lists. There are no rules! Make it your own and choose things that feel right at the moment, they may even be the same or change the next day!
Usually, I choose a random letter of the alphabet to start with so I am not always continually starting at “A” or on the same letter.
Quick Fix Tips for Better Sleep
As a bonus, I’m also going to give you all of my quick fixes for those really bad nights when you just cannot fall asleep – no matter what you try.
The first is doing a brain dump. I talk about this a lot. Because I do it a lot. Sometimes you just can’t stop those racing thoughts and the best thing you can do is get all of them out of your brain. Spend 5-10 minutes writing down every single thought that comes into your brain. Every thought, worry, fear, or judgment. Get it out.
Similar to brain dumping, the goal is to get all of your thoughts out of your brain and onto a piece of paper or into a note on your phone. Use this when you are stressing over everything you have to do tomorrow, trying to remember all of the things you need from the store or any other cycle of thought that keeps repeating in your head.
Create a list. Write it out. When you start to go through that thought cycle again, acknowledge the parts you have already written down and add any new ones that come up. Eventually, you should get to the point where every thought has been written down and it will relieve the burden of continuing to think about it. Remind yourself that it is written down, you won’t forget, and you can return to it tomorrow. Then let it go.
Along the same trend of writing, journaling before sleep can help you to process any feelings you might be getting “stuck” on. Whether that is consciously or subconsciously. Taking some time to reflect on your day, reflect on your mood, and process anything major happening in your life can allow you to work through some emotions that might be keeping you awake. Not only is this incredibly beneficial to your mental health, but it can be somewhat mentally exhausting – helping you fall asleep easier.
Counting for better sleep
You will be shocked to know that my last tip has nothing to do with writing. It’s counting! Not counting sheep. But closing your eyes and starting to count backward from 1,000. Not allowing any other thought to come into your brain. If you do get side-tracked, which happens to me a ton, start over.
Sometimes it can help me to visualize the numbers counting down to really keep my brain present on the task at hand. This can be mentally exhausting. And incredibly boring. It’s no wonder this helps me fall asleep. I’m literally boring myself to sleep.
Alright, well you just heard all of my tips for better sleep. Sending you all of the sleepy vibes.
You’ve Got a Friend in Me
Check out these articles:
- Daily Gratitude Practice (that helps me sleep!)
- Journal Prompts for Reflecting on your Day
- Mindfulness in Everyday Life
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