Insomnia sucks. It causes you to be unable to focus, irritable, ugly, unhappy, distracted, and fat — and many other things you might worry about and keep you even more awake at night.
And forget about the night person alibi, this isn’t about sleeping at night. It’s about sleeping when you want to, because face it you know that sleep is important, that’s why you’re reading this article.
Sleep experts call this list the “sleep hygiene.” We call it your awesome guide to live happy and healthy – because those things and sleep are connected.
1. Have a regular bedtime routine/mantra
Doing the exact relaxing routine before going to bed is surefire way to get you to sleep. Select activities that relax both your body and your brain. A hot bath, a quick meditation, a good read of your favorite book is just some of the things people find to work.
2. Optimize your bedroom for sleeping
This may sound commonsensical but truth is not a lot of bedrooms are designed to help you sleep. Keeping your room cool and dark will certainly induce sleeping. Having black curtains would also help if outside lights from your window bother you. If all else fail, get some eye mask.
3. Ditch your phone as an alarm clock
More and more people are now using their phones to serve as an alarm clock. While there is nothing innately wrong with that, the problem arises if you already have trouble sleeping. That phone has Facebook, Instagram, games and all – stimulants that will only keep you unable to sleep.
4. Practice meditation, yoga and deep breathing
Meditating, assuming relaxing yoga poses and taking slow deep breathes signals your body that it’s now safe and time to relax.
Family therapist Vikki Stark on Psychology Today explained the phenomenon:
“On the inhale, visualize the clean, fresh air coming into your lungs, traveling around your body and cleansing all your cells. On the exhale, imagine all the toxins and negativity being safely expelled into the atmosphere, leaving your body restored. Focus on this steady, calm inhale-exhale, and I guarantee that you will start to feel more peaceful and relaxed. But it’s not going to happen the first time you try it. It’s an exercise so you need to practice it to get the best effect. Keep going till you feel your body let go.”
5. Relax your feet
Relaxing your feet induced a calming sensation throughout your body. It’s the best way to release your workday stress. Lie down and put a pillow under your feet for maximum benefits.
Director of the Institute of Naturopathic Sleep Medicine in Seattle Catherine Darley moreover advises application of what she calls progressive relaxation technique for your toes.
“Curl your toes tightly for a count of seven, and then relax,” she says in Health.com. “Repeat through each muscle group, working up from your toes to your neck.”
6. Do mental exercises
Counting sheep or chicken is so pre-internet. Dr. Vicky Seelall, a sleep expert said that it’s better to count backwards starting from 100, in multiples of three – kinda reminds you of that hypnosis technique you see in pop culture.
Do it slowly and don’t stress yourself. The trick is to follow a rhythm that your mind and body can relax to.
7. Get out of bed
This might appear counterintuitive but according to Cleveland Clinic’s Sleep Disorders Center doctor Harneet Walia if you can’t sleep after 30 minutes of lying in your bed then you should get up do something, preferably what we mentioned on Number 1.
“You’re basically training your body not to sleep in bed, but to lie there and not sleep,” Walia tells US News. “And your mind can get conditioned to that.”
But that something shouldn’t an act that would even make you more awake, so stay away from your phone. Try something truly relaxing like meditation or reading a paper book.
8. Calm your mind
Don’t think about problems or things you have to do tomorrow or anything in the future. If you keep those in your mind there’s no chance you will be able to sleep. The solution? Put everything in paper. Grab a piece of paper and write; it’s sort of a way to put it out of your head.
Take note write it. Not type it using your phone or computer. Writing it will help you relax.
9. Hide your alarm clock away from you
Your alarm clock’s purpose is to wake you up. But if you can see it from your bed it will only remind you that you have to wake up early tomorrow and that you won’t have enough sleep – at the length that you really want to.
Cleveland Clinic’s Sleep Disorders Center doctor Harneet Walia says that solution is to get your alarm clock away from you, or at least don’t place it as if it will be watching you sleep (or at least try to).
10. Think of happy thoughts
Happy thoughts relax your mind and that’s the first step in trying to have a good sleep. Think of a moment that made you smile, or a beautiful vacation – reminiscing those things will distract you from disturbing and work or school-related thoughts that will just keep you awake all night.
11. Get tired or enough exercise during the peak of your day
Your body will not rest if you don’t really need to. So you need to make your body desire that sleep. That’s why you need to work and get tired during the day. The more physically active you are the better sleep you will have.
12. Buy a better pillow and mattress
Medium-firm pillow is the best pillow for sleep. It can support your head and neck perfectly. A natural latex mattress on the other hand supports your back and doesn’t give you achy joints when you wake up. Your body must love the very place it rests; it’s all part of conditioning.