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Do you ever have trouble falling asleep?
Or staying asleep?
Sleep problems affect millions of Americans every single night. And lack of sleep can cause a host of health problems. Just look at some of the ways that sleep deprivation affects the body. It can:
- Weaken the immune system
- Cause memory problems
- Create hormonal imbalances
- Contribute to irritability and moodiness
- Lead to weight gain
- Affect blood pressure and heart health
So, clearly it’s essential that we make sure we are sleeping well each night – both in quantity and quality. Here are some of my favorite tips for getting a better night’s sleep. These are the ones I turn to when I’m having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
1. Create an Environment Conducive to Sleep
One of the best things you can do to ensure a good night’s sleep is to make your bedroom sleep-friendly. If your bedroom is too hot or not dark enough, it’s going to be much more difficult to get into a deep sleep. Try these tips for creating a space that makes sleep much more likely to happen:
- Make sure it’s completely dark – Even the smallest amount of light can interrupt good quality sleep. Make sure phones are turned off and away from your bed. Install good window coverings or blackout shades if you live in an area with street lights or other lights coming in. Or try a good quality sleep mask! These are a great and inexpensive way to block out any light in your bedroom. I love this one!
- Keep it Cool – No one can sleep in a hot and stuffy room! Depending on your personal preference, the best temperatures for deep sleep are between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. I always sleep best when it’s chilly in the room, but I have enough blankets to keep me warm!
- Diffuse Calming Essential Oils – When you diffuse essential oils, you are dispersing the molecules of that oil into the air. By breathing in those molecules, you are able to experience both the physical and psychological benefits of the oils. My favorite oils for sleep include lavender, cedarwood, vetiver, ylang ylang, and Roman chamomile. All of these oils are known for their calming, stress-relieving properties. By diffusing these in your bedroom at night, you can help to create a soothing atmosphere that will help you easily drift off to sleep! For my favorite diffusers, check out this post.
2. Take a Relaxing Bath
Taking a hot, relaxing bath is a wonderful way to wind down and prepare for deep sleep after a long day. By adding Epsom salt and essential oils to your bath, you can make it even more sleep-friendly. Epsom salt contains magnesium, which is known as the “anti-stress mineral.” It helps to relax the body, soothe sore muscles, and prepare the body for deep sleep. Try adding the essential oils mentioned above to boost the effectiveness of the bath even more! Check out these super simple DIY Bath Salt Recipes.
3. Reduce your Exposure to Blue Light
Blue Light is the light that is emitted from TV, computer, and phone screens, and studies show that this light greatly impacts your body’s production of melatonin and can cause serious imbalances in your sleep cycle. One solution is to reduce the amount of time you are on these devices in the evening, making sure to power down 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime. Another solution is to install software such as f.lux, which dims the blue light coming from your computer in the evenings. The genius of the this program is that it acts like the sun, giving full brightness for your screen during the day, and creating a softer, dimmer light for your screen at night. I have this installed on my laptop and love it!
4. Pray & Read Scripture
Sometimes it’s hard to go to sleep because we have so much on our mind. We may be worried over finances, troubled relationships, or a job situation. Taking time to pray over your current situation and meditate on God’s promises can do wonders for calming your mind and helping you get to sleep. You can also try journaling your prayers. The simple act of writing down prayers and concerns helps to get the worries out of your head, onto paper, and into the ever capable hands of our loving God. A book I just love and keep on my nightstand is God’s Peace When You Can’t Sleep. It contains a topical list of every emotion or difficult situation you might possibly be facing, and then it contains a devotional, multiple Scriptures to meditate on, and prayers to pray. I love it!
5. Make a To-Do List for the Following Day
Another way to calm our minds before bed and keep from worrying is to create a To-Do list for the following day. If you’re concerned or stressed about all you have to do, simply create a list of all the things you need to get done tomorrow. Then look at your list, and highlight the top 3 most important things you must do. That will be your focus tomorrow. If you don’t get anything else done, you will feel like you’ve accomplished a lot by focusing on these 3 things. Remember, getting it out of your head and onto paper can drastically reduce your stress and help you get a better night’s sleep!
6. Create a Sleep Rollerball Blend
Another thing I keep on my nightstand is my Sleep Rollerball Blend. In a 10 ml roller bottle, I put 5 drops each lavender, cedarwood, Serenity blend, and vetiver, and then I fill the rest with fractionated coconut oil. Each of these oils helps to calm the body and the mind, and it smells so good! I rub it on the bottoms of my feet and over my heart. This calming ritual works wonders to help me prepare for deep sleep.
7. Try a Natural Sleep Supplement
Sometimes we just need a little extra help when it comes to falling AND staying asleep. That’s where a natural sleep supplement can be very helpful. I have tried a number of them over the years, most of them containing melatonin. While melatonin supplements are a much safer option than prescription sleep aids, they can still cause mild side effects (such as headaches and vivid dreams). My favorite supplement to use when I need additional help getting to sleep is doTERRA’s Serenity Restful Complex. This wonderful blend contains no melatonin, but instead has lavender, l-theanine (a natural amino acid), lemon balm, passion flower, and German chamomile. It’s non-habit forming and works wonders! I’ve had some of the best sleep ever using this supplement! For ordering info, click here.
8. Do Light Stretches
Feeling stiff and achy will definitely interfere with our ability to sleep well. Performing several light stretches before bed is a great way to loosen tight muscles and help alleviate stress we may be holding in our neck and shoulders. Check out this article for a list of helpful stretches you can do before bed!
9. Eat a Small Protein Snack
If we go to bed hungry, we may experience a drop in blood sugar levels later in the night that will interfere with our sleep. A great way to prevent that is to eat a light snack that focuses on protein. Try a piece of whole grain toast with almond butter, a hardboiled egg, or a handful of almonds. Be careful not to overdo it though, because eating too much before bedtime will also interfere with quality sleep. We want to give our digestive system a break while we’re sleeping. So if you’re hungry before bed, keep your snack small and focused on protein!
10. Read in a Non-Fiction Book or Magazine
I’ve found the simple act of reading before bed makes me sleepy. Of course, I’m talking about non-fiction books or fiction books that are fun and relaxing reads (no suspense or thriller novels!). It’s a great way to quiet the mind, relax the body, and learn some new information at the same time. This is a great time to get caught up on your favorite magazines as well. You can drift off to sleep with new decorating ideas, recipes, and DIY projects!
I hope you have found some great ideas to help you get a better night’s sleep tonight! What are your favorite ways to unwind for the evening and prepare for sleep? I’d love to hear them!