Sleep Solutions: Want To Improve Your Sleep Habits?

Of course! Who Doesn't?

by Lisa Ledoux
Young woman pressing snooze button on early morning digital alarm clock radio

In the last post, we looked at how our bedrooms and physical senses affect sleep quality, along with suggestions for turning your room into a calming oasis that aids sleep.

In this post, we’ll look at additional factors, such as lifestyle habits and changes, that can help you sleep better.

And if you practice suggestions from both articles, you’ll be a sleeping machine! 🙂

Life Is But A Dream…

Sleep is so important for a healthy lifestyle, as it plays a huge role in both physical and mental well-being. But maybe you’re finding that achieving a good night’s sleep is tough.

And considering the benefits:

  • improve concentration, productivity, and mood
  • reduced risk of developing chronic health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

-it’s something we all need.

This article will explore the various sleep solutions available for you to improve your sleep habits, from simple changes to more advanced medical treatments.

1.) Establish a Consistent Pre-Pre-Bedtime Routine

One of the best ways to ensure a great night’s sleep is by establishing a consistent pre-pre-bedtime routine.

?? What?? A pre-pre-bedtime routine? Yes. It’s what you do to prepare for tomorrow, before your nightly bedtime ritual.

This doesn’t mean warm baths and meditation, it means setting yourself up for the next day so you don’t have to stress about tomorrow morning while trying to fall asleep.

Things like:

  • having your bedtime and morning alarms set
  • having your clothes (and the kids’ if applicable) set out, including work-out clothes
  • lunches made (ugh…lunches…)
  • the car gassed up in the evening (send a teenager to do it!) 🙂
  • having your purse, keys, and wallet ready to go
  • having your next day’s supper planned and the prep ready the night before (slow cooker out, veggies chopped, meat ready to pull out and thaw, marinating, etc.)
  • going over your calendar to be prepared for any appointments, commitments, activities

By including such necessary tasks into your evening routine- your pre-pre-bedtime routine- you’ll have much less stress on your mind by the time you start your actual bedtime routine.

2.) Focus on Deep Breathing Exercises

As you prepare for a peaceful slumber, it’s important to create a calming and relaxing pre-sleep ritual.

And you can do this with some easy deep breathing exercises and stretching into your nightly routine.

Deep breathing can help slow down your heart rate and ease tension in your body, while stretching helps relieve muscle stiffness and improve circulation.

Woman relaxing at home with facial mask and calming candle lights for a relaxed therapeutic atmosphere on a Friday night.

4.) A Skincare and Beauty Routine

A skincare and beauty routine not only benefits your physical appearance but can also have positive effects on your mental well-being.

Don’t you feel good when you begin, or consistently stick with a good skincare routine?

If you’re a bit overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, or are confused by beauty products- don’t be- I’ve got the perfect solutions for you here:

Engaging in self-care activities, such as skin care, can reduce stress and anxiety levels because taking care of your hygiene requires you to be present and in the moment, and relaxes your mind.

And massaging your face and scalp helps to alleviate tension, encouraging relaxation and better circulation. This can lead to improved sleep as tension and stress in the body fade away…

5.) Reading Before Bed

Reading before bed is a great way to wind down and prepare your mind for sleep.

Choose a book that is engaging but not too intense, and avoid reading on screens that emit blue light which can interfere with your natural sleep cycle.

As you read, focus on the story rather than any worries or to-do lists for the next day.

Sleeping. Senior woman lying in bed, reading a book before sleep

Reading stimulates the mind and imagination, making it an ideal way to divert your thoughts from everyday stressors and promote relaxation.

6.) Chronic Sleep Issues

If you struggle with chronic sleep issues, there are various medical solutions available.

Over-the-counter sleep aids such as melatonin supplements and herbal remedies can be helpful for occasional insomnia.

However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before trying any new sleep aids, as they can interact with other medications and may not be suitable for everyone.

Prescription sleep medications and therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I)* may also be recommended by your doctor if you suffer from chronic sleep problems.

*CBT-I involves identifying and addressing unhealthy thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to poor sleep and has been shown to be effective in improving sleep quality over time.

7.) Guided Meditation Apps

Guided meditation apps and podcasts offer an accessible and effective way to create a calming atmosphere that can help reduce stress and anxiety- especially if you don’t know where to start!

These resources provide gentle guidance to help set the tone for a peaceful meditation session, with soothing voices and tranquil music to aid in softening and silencing the mind.

Just a few minutes of time to devote to meditation can be a powerful tool for cultivating a sense of calm and centeredness in your day-to-day life.

8.) Set an Intention for the Night’s Sleep

As you settle into bed tonight and close your eyes, think of something that you’d like to accomplish by morning.

Maybe it’s finishing a chapter of the book you’ve been reading or waking up with a positive attitude. Whatever it is, know that you’re capable of achieving it.

By setting the intention, you’re giving yourself the gift of clarity and purpose, so you wake up with a sense of motivation.

So take a deep breath, let go of the day’s worries, and envision the positive outcome you desire. Sweet dreams!

9.) Exercise

African american woman with curly hair stretching at park, determined working out during dusk.

Regular exercise can have a significant impact on sleep quality.

It reduces stress and anxiety, invigorates blood flow, and reduces the risk of chronic health conditions.

Physical activity can also tire out the body, making you more likely to fall asleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night.

Avoid exercising too close to bedtime, or it’ll leave you too energized to fall asleep.

Instead, complete your workout a few hours before bed to give your body time to wind down.

10.) Yoga Before Bedtime

Yoga is a mind-body practice that has been shown to have a positive impact on various aspects of physical and mental well-being.

One of the benefits of yoga is its ability to promote relaxation and reduce stress and anxiety levels which makes it an ideal bedtime practice.

Yoga helps to slow down the breath, which can help calm the mind and reduce racing thoughts. This can make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.

11.) Warm Milk or Tea, Water (stay hydrated)

Warm milk or tea before bed can also be an effective sleep solution for you.

There are several natural sleep aids found in milk, such as calcium and tryptophan, which help the brain produce the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.

Chamomile tea contains the antioxidant apigenin which has sedative properties and is believed to promote relaxation and sleep.

Really, any non-caffeinated beverage will do, but careful of drinking too much before bedtime as frequent bathroom trips also disrupt sleep.

12.) Journaling Before Bed

Journaling is a great way to reflect on the day’s events and clear your mind before bed.

By jotting down your thoughts and emotions, you release them from your mind and prevent them from keeping you up at night.

When you write in your journal, try to focus on the positive aspects of your day, expressing gratitude for the good things that happened, and processing any negative emotions in a healthy way.

13.) Avoid Stimulants

Stimulants like caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol can disrupt your sleep cycle and make it hard for you to fall and stay asleep.

Asia woman in red satin nightgown pouring hot water at night

Caffeine, found in coffee, tea, and chocolate, is a stimulant that can increase alertness and keep you up late if consumed later in the day.

Nicotine, which is in cigarettes, vapes, and other tobacco products, is also a stimulant that makes it difficult to fall asleep.

While alcohol initially makes you feel sleepy, it disrupts sleep as the body metabolizes it, leading to the inability to enjoy a full REM sleep.

Avoid these stimulants entirely if possible, especially within a few hours of bedtime, to have a good night’s sleep.

13.) Prayer Before Bed

Prayer is a spiritual practice that has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health and well-being. But did you know that prayer can also help you sleep better at night?

It can!!!

It provides a sense of calm and relaxation, easing worries and anxieties, and creates a sense of gratitude and positivity, which improves mood and sleep.

Prayer can help you feel more connected to something greater than yourself, providing a sense of meaning and purpose, which can lead to a more restful sleep.

14.) Tough Love

Let’s face it, sometimes we need some tough love to break our bad habits and establish healthier ones.

Phones, TVs, tablets, and computers all interfere with your brain’s production of melatonin, and scrolling through social media or watching nighttime TV disrupts your body’s natural sleep rhythm, making it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.

So, try establishing a no-screen policy before bedtime and a consistent wake-up time (no snooze button!). Instead, use that screen time for activities like beauty care, reading, meditating, or journaling.

Your body operates on a circadian rhythm, and irregular sleep patterns can throw off your body’s natural clock- leading to grogginess, fatigue, and difficulty falling asleep at night.

young beautiful and confident Asian Chinese student girl researching and studying at home preparing exam with laptop computer on bed writing late at night

With consistent bedtime and wake-up time, your body recognizes when it’s time to wind down and wake up.

And So…

I hope there were some points in this article you were able to look at anew, or incorporate for the first time.

I’ve found that using tactics from both articles helped me immensely, especially the 1st tip.

Having a really robust pre-pre-bedtime routine has been amazing for my time management, peace of mind, and my productivity. It’s how I’m able to do what I do today.

I hope these tips will help you as much as they helped me!

Good Night and Sweet Dreams!

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