My Best Tips for Better Sleep
Last month was Better Sleep Month. I mentioned how I try to get about 7 hours of sleep each night. Here I would like to review some tips for better sleep that will get you on track to a better nights rest.
These suggestions can be used individually or all throughout your nightly routine. Find what works for you. Combine some of the tips to see if they will work together to get you that peaceful night’s sleep you crave.
Exercise for a Good Night’s Sleep
I have mentioned before how important it is to exercise. It is essential to having a happy and healthy life. Also, without enough of it you actually won’t sleep well.
Daily exercise helps you to release stress naturally and prepares your body for a good night’s sleep. One study showed sleep is considerably better if you get a minimum of 150 mins of exercise a week. You will also feel more alert during your day. (source)
Usually it is not recommended to exercise a few hours before bed. This way it allows enough time to wind down before it’s time for sleep. Many times our brains are racing after a work out. That means they will be racing in bed while we try to get some Zzzzs.
However, for some it does seem to impact their quality of sleep when exercising before they turn in for the night. You may have to find the correct balance for you. Everyone responds differently, and may have a different nightly routine. Always establish one that works best for you and your needs.
It is important to know that even very little exercise can help improve sleep. Ten minutes of aerobic exercise, such as, walking or biking can greatly improve your sleep for the night. Thank goodness because I’m still on a limited workout routine.
Drink a Cup of Tea
This is an excellent way to relax and something so simple to do. Just heat up the water (an electric tea kettle is great but if you prefer an old school stove top tea kettle go for it) then add your favorite tea. There are many options to sweeten it up in a healthy way if you need to. I personally use a packet of Truvia with mine.
We have a large variety of teas so the most difficult part is picking out just the right tea and flavor.
There really are so many options that sometimes it gets to be a little daunting. The WONDERFUL part is once you decide, the hard part is over, and you can just relax.
First, making sure you choose teas that are caffeine free is imperative. Caffeine is the enemy when you want a restful night of sleep. Look for herbal teas, because they are naturally caffeine free. You can also look for a “fruit tea,” and or a tea that has gone through a process for it to be decaffeinated.
Drinking a cup of tea aids in soothing your body and mind. What are a few good recommendations?
- Lavender and Chamomile teas are some of the most popular. You can find them as separate flavors or even together. Definately soothing.
- Valerian is not just a supplement you can take to promote sleep, but you can find it in a tea. This is an excellent way to relax.
- Sleepytime tea from Celestial Seasonings brand can be found at most grocery stores. There are a few options. It’s easy to pick up while you shop with the intention of rest later that night.
- Yogi teas are another popular brand and easy to find. They have a whole line of bedtime, restful, and stress relief teas to choose from. My personal favorite is their Soothing Caramel Bedtime tea.
- The Might Leaf brand of tea makes an excellent chamomile citrus blend. It’s so refreshing it soothes you on the spot (from what my friends say). This is just one choice you could try.
- Teavana created a Serenity Wellness Tea that would work for sure. Plus other herbal teas to choose from.
Have some fun picking out what works best for you. A good cup of tea will help you chill out and unwind. An excellent prescription to enter into dream land.
Take a Warm Bath
I think one of the best tips for better sleep is a warm bath or shower. With only a few moments you can turn your bathroom into your own personal spa. It can be a great part of your nightly routine (or perhaps a couple times a week) that promotes better sleep and helps reduce stress & anxiety.
A few tips for the perfect bath are:
- Make sure your bath is not too hot. Warm water will relax your body, but if extremely hot it could cause dizziness.
- You could dim the lights or even turn them off all together.
- Light a candle to create the perfect ambiance.
- Add Lavender or Rose oil to help create a relaxing effect.
- Put on some music that makes you feel good.
- Read a good book.
- Apply a face mask while you soak.
- DO ALL OF THE ABOVE.
There are so many ideas that you could try while taking a bath. The important thing is to relax and get sleepy.
Use Essential Oils
Essential Oils can be used for a variety of things such as: house cleaners, natural remedies & medicines, weight loss, cooking, skin & beauty, and of course spa & relaxation (just to name a few). Where there is relaxation there can be sleep.
The two essential oils that I have used most for relaxation and sleep are:
Lavender – Is one of the most functional essential oils there are. The uses for lavender are countless.
I have used it mainly for its calming and relaxing qualities. I dab this on the bottoms of my feet at night. And I have a lavender stick that I rub on my chest at night too.
Cedarwood – Has a woodsy scent, a relaxing and soothing aroma. Another one I have used on my feet at night, mainly because I find the smell a bit stinky, but works great!
A few other essential oils you can try would be: Roman Chamomile, Ylang Ylang, Vetiver, Marjoram, Sandalwood, and Bergamot. Remember to experiment with what works for you. Some you may not like, but on the other hand a few that you never thought you would might work perfectly.
How to use essential oils for sleep
- Inhale directly – just smell them. It sometimes doesn’t take much for an essential oil to work.
- Diffuse them – You can disperse the oil by using a diffuser. This will send the oil into the air as a micro-fine vapor. Be cautious if you have pets.
- Apply topically – You can apply essential oils to your: head, temples, behind the ears, ankles, bottom or top of the feet, neck, back, and abdomen. Massage the oil in a circular motion into your skin. You can repeat if needed.
You can also digest essential oils, but must be very cautious. You can only do this with pure essential oils. Not all companies that make them can promote this use.
Note: Be aware that essential oils are highly concentrated. They are extremely potent, and must be use carefully, with the correct education and in amounts that are safe. Always do your research before you begin to use essential oils.
We know our bodies need sleep, but sometimes it’s hard to get – especially quality sleep. Meditation is another of the tips for better sleep.
Meditation is a state of mind. It is the practice of the body and mind working together to bring peace and health. This doesn’t mean just take a quick moment to breath and be done. It is about slowing down your mind, and your body together.
Meditation has been recommended for years, and for many different reasons. It has be used to help with stress relief, depression, physical fitness and for modifying behaviors associated with anxiety and other mental conditions. Of course it is also used in yoga.
Why use meditation for sleep? Have you ever noticed you can be so exhausted, but as soon as your head hits the pillow your mind races. Your mind is all of a sudden over active. Mediation can help you to de-stress. It can help you to focus your racing thoughts so you are bale to fall asleep faster, plus stay asleep. Meditation doesn’t require much. All you need is yourself and a quiet place. Anyone can do this to help get a good night’s sleep.
How to Meditate
Begin with a quiet place. Most likely this will be your bedroom since you want sleep, but if throughout the day you want to reduce stress you can mediate as well.
Next, make sure you are comfortable. If you are not then it will be much harder to relax and calm your racing thoughts. Remember, you want to rid yourself of the day’s stress and bring on calming sleep.
- Mantra – mediation can begin with a mantra. This could be a word you recite over again, or perhaps some thing you are grateful for. This will be something that brings peace. This will help your mind to be clear as you focus only on a single word or phrase.
- Counting – With this style count backwards from 100. Don’t worry so much if you lose track. Just start over again and continue to count backwards.
- Abdominal breathing – place your hands on your tummy while you breath in and out. You will focus on the gentle movement of your hands as you practice breathing. This allows your mind to not focus on your busy thoughts, but what your body is doing at the moment.
- Visualization – This technique helps you to focus on one single thing. This could be a a specific color, a place that you have been to and like, or maybe a place that brings peace. May sure you focus on something that calms you. Choosing something that brings frustration or bad memories is not a good visualization tool. This will be different for each person.
Tips for mediation – Remember it’s not about doing it perfectly or what you think it’s suppose to be. Meditation is about relaxation and the connection between your mind and body. If you choose a mantra make sure it is positive, this will help you to keep focused. Try different types of mediation. What works one night may not work the next. Change it up a bit when you need to.
I personally like to color so this color therapy kit would be a perfect addition to my many awesome adult coloring books.
Bonus Tips for Better Sleep
You may have heard this before, but it’s worth saying again (and again if needed), absolutely no electronics before bed. I know many of us are guilty of this, myself included, but it is so important to begin practicing the art of turning our phones, tablets, computer, and T.V.’s etc off.
The National Sleep Foundation has shown that we are in the midst of a 50-year decline in sleep duration, and one study found that 90% of Americans use their gadgets within the last hour before bedtime at least a few nights a week. (source)
It is recommended to start dimming the lights and leaving your electronics behind a minimum of an hour before you want to sleep. This will help to release natural melatonin into your body.
Side note: Speaking of melatonin, I take it to help sleep when I’m struggling. The only Melatonin I have found to work is the 10 mg fast dissolve linked here.
Instead of using your phone or other devices you could try to read a book, listen to music, and any of the 5 tips to better sleep that I have already suggested. Make sure to turn your phone on silent (or at least vibrate), and make sure you can’t see the light if you get a notification. Otherwise, you will always be on alert and never truly be able to relax. Tell me how I know!
Here are a few items that go along with the tips for better sleep discussed today.
- Fitness Tracker – check in each morning and find out how you slept.
- Essential oils – buy a few to begin with to see what works. Keep adding more types as you go.
- Teas – Try all different kinds and see which ones are your favorites.
- Electronic kettle & Teavana Perfectea Maker
Since last month was Better Sleep Month, I added a few more ideas on how to sleep better. Enjoy!
What are your top tips for better sleep?