For a lot of years, I lacked enough sleep to function properly. I’d wake up every hour or every two hours. in the night I would go to bed after midnight and get up at 6:30 for school. I’d leave the tv on all night. I would play on my cell phone for two hours after getting into bed. I’d drink soda before bed. For years, I lacked sleep without knowing why. I thought it was mental. I couldn’t shut my brain off, and that’s how it would always be.
As I’ve gotten older and gotten more into a routine, I’ve realized how wrong I was. I could have slept, if I’d taken better care of myself in those years. I’m glad I realized how important mental, emotional, and physical health are at such an early age. (I’m only 24.)
Here are my steps to sleep better:
- Don’t prop your head up. I’ve tested this one myself. I always thought I just had to have my head propped up on two pillows in order to sleep. Now, I sleep on one pillow. I have found that I wake up more in the night if my head is propped up. My body thinks it needs to be awake because my head is basically in the upright position.
- Pee right before you get into bed, and don’t drink any liquids afterward. If you don’t want to wake up at 3:00 am having to pee, go right before bed and leave the glass of water on the kitchen counter.
- Wear yourself out during the day. I get up at 5:15 every morning to get my workout in. Yes, I’m tired when the alarm goes off, but I really do sleep better on the days I get up and get moving first thing. The workout helps me wake up, but it also sets me up for good sleep later that night. Get up early, work out, eat well, and stay busy.
- This piggy-backs off of #3: Do not nap during the day. You’ll regret it when you’re wide awake at 11:30 pm.
- No caffeine after 4:00 pm. Everyone is different; I actually avoid caffeine after noon! I’m very susceptible to it, and I’ll be up literally all night if I have caffeine in the afternoon. I also don’t drink soda, so this isn’t terribly hard for me. I have hot tea in the mornings and call it good.
- Get all of your “morning chores” done before you go to bed. Before getting into bed, I like to sit out all of the things I’ll need in the morning; like toothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss, lotion, allergy medicine, clothes to wear to work, workout clothes, etc. If I get it done before I go to bed, I can’t worry about it while I’m in bed. I have found that if I know I have a lot to do the next morning, I’ll lie in bed and think about it for an hour trying to fall asleep.
- Do not sleep with your cell phone on the mattress next to you. I sit mine on a shelf that’s next to my bed but just far enough out of reach that I can’t check my phone without a bit of stretching. I also turn mine on “do not disturb” after 10:00 pm.
These are just things that have helped me find a good night’s sleep over the years 🙂 I hope they work for you too!