Do you love bedtime or hate it? If it’s the latter I’m guessing the reason might be that you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. At its worst, bedtime can be a nightmare (excuse the pun.) Considering how important sleep is, you should welcome that time of day so we’ve got some great ideas to help you out in that area.
For myself, I literally look forward to bedtime every day. I’ve turned my room into a mini oasis for Roy and I and just walking into it feels good. At night I have my small ritual of turning down the sheets and brushing my teeth (with this method which can heal cavities). Then I get undressed and curl up under the covers and grab my Kindle that I keep on the nightstand. I usually have two or three things I’m reading at one time… a couple of non-fictions on my current topics of interest and then a novel that I can get lost in. I’ll read a bit in the nonfiction then end up with the novel until I fall asleep. It’s pure heaven, especially after a stressful day.
Unfortunately, sleep problems are fairly common especially when you consider that about 10 million Americans use drugs to help them sleep. A large portion of those who have trouble sleeping is due to lifestyle issues… stress, diet, smoking, caffeine etc. If you struggle with insomnia, or staying asleep, we’ve got some much less harmful ideas to help you out!
Tips If You Have Trouble Sleeping
Most of the product links are to the actual products I use myself or a good quality replacement.
- Darken the Bedroom. Studies have shown that even a small light from a clock can disrupt your body’s sleep patterns. I’ve used these blackout curtains on my windows for years. FYI Blackout curtains come in ALL colors! As I also have some electronics in my room I use black electrical tape to cover the little lights on them. If you have to have a clock consider covering it with a flap of black construction paper that can be flipped up when needed.
- Sleep mask. If you can’t darken your room use a sleep mask. We also have a tutorial on how to make a sleep mask.
- Lavender oil Taking a whiff of lavender oil before sleep. Studies have shown that lavender is wonderful for helping you relax. I normally put some on my hand to sniff as I go to sleep or I’ve put some on a Kleenex and placed it in my pillow. This is wonderful for kids too!
- White noise. I have a fan on me at night which acts as white noise. I love the wind and it helps me sleep. The noise also does. You can purchase little sound machines very inexpensively that have a variety of sounds you can turn on at night. Try falling asleep to the sound of rain or wind…
- Chamomile tea before bed. Warm drinks (non-caffeinated) in general can help you sleep. Chamomile is a relaxing herb so having a cup of that before bed can be very helpful. Sweeten with a little honey if needed.
- Buckwheat Pillow Buckwheat pillows have a myriad of benefits for sleep and many people swear by them. The drawback is they are a bit pricey for good organic ones. Read up on them and see if they might help you.
- The Bedroom. Make your room a place you love being in. You can see how I did this on our Budget Bedroom Makeover Series here.
- The Ritual. Bedtime needs to be a special event and setting up a ritual can help. For example soaking in a warm bath with candles before going to sleep. Put a special lotion on your hands and arms. Wear nice pajamas. Listen to soothing music. Do a short meditation or pray. Many things on this list can be part of your ritual. Doing the same thing every night can be comforting and calming.
- The Right Temperature. Keep the room temp no higher than 70 degrees. Studies show people sleep best in cool rooms.
- Ear Plugs. If you wake easily to small noises a high quality set of earplugs will fix you right up!
- Read a book. Reading makes many like myself sleepy at night. Also, if I wake in the night and my mind is racing I will actually read on my Kindle a little to put myself back to sleep. As it’s back-lit I don’t have to turn on a light.
- Socks. Wear extra soft and cozy socks. If you have trouble with nighttime waking, wearing socks to sleep in can help. Cool room… but warm feet!
- Melatonin. This is a wonderful supplement that I’ve used on occasion with great success. Melatonin is a natural hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain to help you sleep. Taking 1 to 3 mg an hour before bed can help induce sleep naturally. (It has a variety of other health benefits including fighting cancer.)
- Quick Meditation. If you wake during the night do this instant meditation to relax you and help you fall back to sleep. As you lie in bed with eyes closed pay close attention to your normal breathing. As you breath in, silently repeat in your mind “breath in”. As you breath out, silently repeat “breath out”. Do this over and over with each normal breath until you fall asleep. This is a powerful quick form of focused meditation to clear your mind and relax your body.
- Acupressure. Massage your earlobes SLOWLY between fingers for about 30 seconds each before bed. Press the wrist points on each wrist as shown in the picture before bed. Doing both of these should help you sleep better.
If the reason you can’t sleep is tied with worry and not being able to shut your brain off you need to distract it. As I mentioned I do this by reading on my Kindle if I wake up in the night and my brain is trying to worry. I love Dale Carnegie’s quote. You don’t’ have to actually get up. You just have to distract your brain.
If you can’t sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there
worrying. It’s the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep.
Of course a good diet with exercise will also greatly help your quality of sleep. When you don’t get enough quality sleep it effects every aspect of your life and your health. We hope some of these ideas will give you a boost and help you get the much needed rest your body, mind and spirit needs!