Sleep is an area that I struggle getting enough of. I love to wake up early and also consider myself a night owl… so when it comes to sleep, that poses quite a problem.
I am a work at home Mom with 3 kids. I don’t get much time to myself which is why I like to wake up early and go to bed late. It’s literally the only time of day I’m not taking care of someone. I’m willing to bet that I’m not the only one who does this.
While that time alone is so important, so is sleep. In fact, many would argue sleep is even more important than my oh so important me time!
Sleep is not something I’ve always paid much attention to because honestly, I didn’t realize how important it actually was until after I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. A few doctor appointments and lots of research later, come to find out, the sleep I’d been skimping out on was probably doing quite a number on my body.
Even though it’s not something that comes easy, it is something I am working on. Constantly.
I’m going to share a few tips for how to get better sleep with you today. Many of these tips are ones I’m implementing myself to make sure I’m getting enough zzz’s.
10 tips to get better sleep
1. Stop caffeine by mid-afternoon
If you find you are wired at night, but you are drinking caffeinated drinks in the afternoon, that could be the reason you aren’t ready for bed earlier. Then you wake up tired, so you drink your caffeinated beverage of choice to keep you awake all day, and the cycle literally never ends.
Try replaced your caffeinated drink with decaf tea or coffee, sparkling water or an electrolyte drink that you enjoy.
2. Diffuse essential oils
I diffuse oils all day at my house, but I especially utilize them at night or when I’m feeling lots of stress. I like to put lavender on my wrists and décolleté after washing my face and diffuse it by my bed.
Some other oils I enjoy diffusing to wind down are Peace & Calming, Valor and Stress Away.
I’ve tried so many diffusers and I always go back to the Young Living diffusers. They are pricier than the ones you can buy on Amazon, but I think they last and work much better.
3. Sleep in a dark bedroom
Do you have a lot of additional light in your bedroom from electronics? That could be keeping you up at night. I’ve gotten to the point I can’t even have the baby monitor video facing me or it keeps me from falling asleep.
Many alarm clocks give off sleep disrupting blue lights. Try finding a simple old school alarm clock that gives off a red, amber or orange light instead. (Are you using your phone as your alarm… we’ll chat about that in a second.)
Also, try blackout curtains if light from the street is shining in your bedroom. If you have kids… blackout curtains are a must in my opinion!
4. Use a white noise machine
When I was in college I discovered white noise. I lived in a sorority house and it was the only way I could get a decent nights sleep because everyone had different bed times. Back then, I used a small fan to generate the noise and it worked great for me.
Now that I’m a Mom, I use a white noise machine with my kids and can’t imagine not having them. They are great for blocking out noise so sleep won’t be disrupted.
I no longer need a white noise machine for myself, but I know this is very helpful for a lot of people.
5. Take a magnesium supplement
Oh, magnesium how I love you. I was introduced to magnesium during my second pregnancy when I had back pain that led to surgery. I couldn’t take an over the counter anti-inflammatory and magnesium was recommended for me to try.
Little did I know the importance of magnesium at the time. It is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and is essential for good health. This could be a blog post of it’s own, but for today, here is how it can help with sleep.
“On a chemical level, magnesium aids this process by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, the system responsible for getting you calm and relaxed.” Source
I personally take Magnesium Glycinate every night. Speak with your doctor or chiropractor about how adding a magnesium supplement could benefit your health.
6. Stay off your phone before bed
I get it. It’s so easy to get into bed and open up Instagram and scroll, scroll, scroll. Not only does this effect your sleep because of the blue light I mentioned earlier, it also is a total time suck and before you know it, you’ve wasted precious time you could have been sleeping down a rabbit hole looking at your friends cousins aunts grandmas daughters family.
Don’t call me crazy. You know you’ve done it, too.
Our cell phones are quite a problem in my opinion. We lose track of time and it can be a big reason why we aren’t getting adequate rest. So, my suggestion (and something I’m working on) is plugging my phone in in another room, or across the room, and staying off of it before bed.
Just try it for a week and see what happens. Reducing my screen time in general is something I’ve been working on. If you want to reduce your screen time you can set screen time limits on your phone. I wrote a post about it here.
7. Turn down your thermostat
I’ve heard of people doing this but I’d never really tried it until a few weeks ago, by pure accident.
One morning all 5 of us slept in much later than usual. By over an hour. I woke up in total shock that my 6am son was still snoozing past 7am. Come to find out our heater had stopped working in the night and the house was much cooler than we usually sleep… it was 60 degrees and a bit chilly!
Since I’d heard of people sleeping in cooler temps, I gave it a try the next night and decreased our usual household temp by 2 degrees. Again, everyone slept a bit later.
Since then, I’ve found that when we sleep with the house around 67 degrees at night, we all sleep a bit better. Come to find out according to research, setting the thermostat between 65-70 can promote more restful sleep!
Do you sleep with your thermostat turned down?
8. Read a book before bed
This is one of my favorite ways to unwind before bed. I’ve taught my son to do this as well and we recently bought him a small book light so he can read on the top bunk while little brother snoozes below.
Reading is an effective way to help me relax, and I enjoy it. When I read before bed it allows me to end the day doing something I enjoy doing as well which makes me feel happier.
I recently downloaded the Calm app and have been trying to incorporate this more. This is something that comes highly recommended to me by my RD, Lindsay O’Reilly, to help me reduce stress.
Stress is something I struggle with so finding ways I can cope is helpful.
I even found some kid meditations in the app and have used them with my boys. There are a lot of meditation apps out there, another one people recommend is Headspace.
If you don’t want to use an app, just turn on some relaxing music and take a few moments to work on deep breathing and allow yourself to calm your mind. This is also a perfect time to diffuse essential oils.
10. Commit to a sleep schedule
Of all the tips I could share, this is the most important, and probably the hardest.
If you want better sleep, you have to make the commitment to make it a priority.
- Set a bedtime for yourself, just like your kids.
- Establish a nighttime routine and stick to it.
- Commit to 7-9 hours of sleep a night, and be relentless about working towards making it a habit.
- If you are an early morning exerciser like me, tell yourself you have to earn it by getting the amount of rest your body needs first. Exercise is important, but sleep is even more so.
If you really want to know how to get better sleep, I think this is the most crucial tip… commit to it. Be willing to find out why sleep is a problem and continually work, and search for answers, that can help you get the amount of sleep you need.