Sleep is everything. Cause you do not want to see the nasty piece of work I become when I haven’t been sleeping well. That’s why I never leave home without these 5 must-haves for a good night’s sleep.
I am just coming out of a long season of awful sleep. A thyroid cancer diagnosis and surgery, pregnancy and a new baby, and my husband’s job loss have all interfered with my sleep in the past 9 months.
Honestly, I only made it through some of those things with a lot of prayer.
But when it comes to going back to sleep after late-pregnancy bathroom breaks or middle-of-the-night feedings, I was willing to try any voodoo necessary to fall asleep fast.
These are my top 5 tricks to fall asleep faster and sleep better.
- Find a sound machine that sounds like the real thing.
The ocean sound is my jam. (Spending a summer working in Florida and listening to the ocean with my windows open at night really spoiled me.) Anyhoo, we have tried several sound machines over the years, and this one, which is only $17 on Amazon, is the best. And as a bonus tip, these are great to put in kids’ rooms to block out noises from other parts of the house.
- Keep your bedroom cool.
The ideal temperature for optimal sleep is 60-67 degrees. Which would be awesome, but the only time I sleep in a room that cold is at a hotel. (Anyone else love the free-ish air conditioning at hotels?) But if you aren’t at a hotel and don’t want an electric bill that’s $500, my trick is to use an oscillating fan pointed toward your side of the bed. Especially in the hottest summer months.
- Limit screen time 2 hours before bed.
This one is hard, I know. The two hours before I go to bed is my time– the kids are in bed, and I have enough peace and quiet to watch a TV show or read. The compromise I have discovered is to listen to podcasts and lay down my phone with the screen facing down or read paper books and magazines. I try to watch TV on the actual TV versus my iPad or phone. Because a TV screen is typically further away from your eyes, it doesn’t have the same effect as having a blue light screen right in front of your face.
- Keep a notepad by your bed.
On occasion, I can’t fall asleep because I can’t stop thinking about all.the.things. Seriously, it’s like I’m trying to solve all the world’s problems as I lay in bed. That’s why I started keeping a notebook beside my bed. If I have an idea or something I can’t get out of my mind, I write it down so I can deal with it the next day. Recent research findings back this idea up. Writing down those thoughts allows your brain to release them.
- Find your best bed and bedding.
It’s going to take some time and research, but the reward is worth the effort. Figure out what your favorite type of pillow is– feather, contour, memory foam, one for side sleeping vs. back sleeping vs. stomach sleeping. What type of fabric do you prefer your sheets and blankets to be made of? And definitely, don’t ignore the rule about replacing your mattress every 8 years. We waited 12 years to replace ours, thinking we were sleeping fine. But man, could we tell a huge difference when we got the new mattress. (If you’re curious, we went with a Tuft & Needle one.)
You’ll notice that I didn’t include any tips about the amount of light in your room or using scents to sleep better.
I think light is a matter of preference. I prefer complete darkness, so either blackout curtains or an eye mask are a must for me. But some people may prefer having a nightlight so they can see better. Try both and see what you like best.
When it comes to smell, lavender has long been said to have a calming and relaxing effect, which would help you fall asleep faster. I have tried lavender linen sprays and essential oils but haven’t seen a huge difference. But again, give it a whirl and see if it helps you.
Do you have any other go-to tricks that help you get a good night’s sleep? I’d love to hear about them on the Defeating Busy Facebook page.