5 Tips for Better Sleep

I LOVE sleeping and thoroughly enjoy a solid nap. Getting quality sleep is a top priority for me. I have tried many techniques over the years to figure out good hygiene. “Sleep hygiene” refers to a series of healthy sleep habits that can improve your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. According to Harvard Health, one in five Americans sleeps less than six hours a night—a trend that can have serious personal health consequences. Sleep deprivation increases the risk for a number of chronic health problems, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

If you have trouble sleeping, the following strategies may help you get more ZzzZzzzs.

1. Get the phone out of the bedroom

My husband and I haven't slept with our phones in our bedrooms in about two years. It was the best decision! We used to spend WAY too much time on our phones while in our bedroom. We would also use our phones as our alarm clocks which meant our screens were the first thing we were seeing in the morning. All of that extra screentime was draining and we had to reevaluate. We definitely had the thought, "without our phones, how will be wake up!?" This is the reality of the times we are in. We laughed and realized we figured out ways to wake up when we were growing up without a fancy phone. We bought an old school alarm clock for a few bucks and voila! We now have a Google Home in our bedroom that wakes us up... that's a whole other story. Our sleep has drastically improved and we spend WAY less time scrolling through our phones.

2. Think about the next day

I like to take a few minutes to mentally think about what my next day has in store. This helps me not feel so panicked when I first wake up in the morning. Who else can relate to waking up at 3am and worrying about everything under the sun? Later to realize none of that stuff mattered the next morning. For me, taking the time to run through a quick checklist before bed actually helps calm my mind.

3. Hygiene!

I'm embarrassed to say, but I went years without washing my face before bed. Someone once told me every time you don't wash your face it adds years to your skin life. That comment was enough to motivate me to wash my face! There's research to back that up -- according to "Sleep", we’re exposed to free radicals in the environment all day, and makeup tends to hold on to them. They can cause the breakdown of healthy collagen, which eventually leads to fine lines and wrinkles. If you don’t wash your face before bed, your skin will have to fend off those free radicals all night long.

So, washing your face before bed is important and simply feels so good. Now, I feel like a goddess when I crawl into bed with a silky clean face. It's the little things.

4. Check your caffeine consumption

Drinking a cup of coffee in the morning is my definition of heaven on earth. Too much of any form of caffeine later in the day can seriously cramp my sleeping schedule though. Caffeine is a stimulant so it can keep you wired even when you want to rest. Everyone handles caffeine differently so experiment with your limits if you're having a hard time sleeping. I totally cut out caffeine in the afternoons and evenings - it has done wonders for my sleep pattern.

5. Zen out your space

This is my favorite tip! Imagine walking into your room. Look around. Is it designed to help you feel relaxed? Clothes everywhere, an unmade bed, phone in the room, or even dirty dishes... that's what our bedroom space use to look like and it was NOT relaxing. Every day is not perfect but my husband and I now try to create a peaceful bedroom space. We have plants, cozy blankets, books, a few pictures, twinkling lights, and not too many clothes on the floor (come on, this is real life). Creating your version of a peaceful space can help you mentally shift into "zen" mode before bed.

Disclaimer: this is not our bedroom pictured below but I love this space! Happy sleeping.

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