If you are having sleep problems, whether you are not able to fall asleep, wake up too often, don’t feel well-rested when you wake up in the morning, or simply want to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep, try as many of the following techniques below as possible:
Sleep in complete darkness or as close as possible. If there is even the tiniest bit of light in the room it can disrupt your circadian rhythm and your pineal gland’s production of melatonin and seratonin.
There also should be as little light in the bathroom as possible if you get up in the middle of the night. Please whatever you do, keep the light off when you go to the bathroom at night. As soon as you turn on that light you will for that night immediately cease all production of the important sleep aid melatonin.
No TV (or work) right before bed. Even better, get the TV out of the bedroom completely. At the very least avoid the nightly news and anything suspenseful or action packed – it is too stimulating to the brain and it will take longer to fall asleep. Also disruptive of pineal gland function for the same reason as above.
Put your work away at least one hour (but preferably two or more) before bed. This will give your mind a chance to unwind so you can go to sleep feeling calm, not hyped up or anxious about tomorrow’s deadlines.
Keep the temperature in the bedroom no higher than 70 degrees F. Many people keep their homes and particularly the upstairs bedrooms too hot. Applying a cooling foot lotion prior to sleep is another amazing way to soothe the entire body – great trick if you wake up due to hot feet or blood sugar fluctuations.
Avoid caffeine. I know it sounds like common sense but there are hidden sources of caffeine you may not even consider. Be sure your late afternoon/early evening beverage is caffeine free (even some herbal teas) and avoid chocolate or sodas with caffeine (of course, you should avoid ALL sodas but for the sake of this topic of sleep I’m suggesting avoiding those with caffeine).
Don’t drink any fluids within 2 hours of going to bed and go to the bathroom one more time right before bed. This will reduce the likelihood of needing to get up and go to the bathroom or at least minimize the frequency.
Establish a bedtime routine. Do your best to go to bed around 10:00 p.m. and wake up around 7:00 a.m. each day, even on the weekends. This will help your body get into a sleep rhythm and make it easier to fall asleep and get up in the morning.
Creating a routine at least ½ hour before bed signals your body that sleep is on the horizon. This could include; meditation, deep belly breathing (like babies do), a hot bath, shower, chemical free hot tub or sauna, massage lotion into your feet (or have your partner give you a nice relaxing foot rub). The key is to find something that makes you feel relaxed, then repeat it each night to help you release the day’s tensions.
Wear an eye mask to block out light. As said above, it is very important to sleep in as close to complete darkness as possible. That said, it’s not always easy to block out every stream of light using curtains, blinds or drapes, particularly if you live in an urban area (or if your spouse has a different schedule than you do). In these cases, an eye mask can help to block out the remaining light.