20 Top Tips For A Successful Night’s Sleep

Posted By Tiffany on Jan 23, 2016


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Updated from original publication on October 27, 2015, as part of the series called 31 Days of Methods In Madness. To read all the articles in the series click here.

 

Is there a proven method to better sleep? See this list of 20 Top Tips For Successful Sleep for remedies!

 

I’ll admit it, I’m tired. I think most of us are. We live in a sleep-deprived country. Some don’t appreciate the need for sleep, others don’t seem to have the ability to get a good night’s sleep. Is there a proven way to get better sleep?

 

I really do think the chemical makeup of a person affects their sleep patterns which dictates how much sleep a person needs, as well as how much sleep you are able to obtain.

 

Experts agree that we should get 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep per night. I diligently try to get a solid 8 hours, but I’ve suffered bouts of insomnia since I was a small child, and I think I’m permanently sleep-deprived. Why is this a problem?

 

As you may know, lack of sleep leaves your brain muddled, and chronic loss of sleep can contribute to all sorts of ailments: diabetes, depression, cardiovascular disease, weight gain, just to name a few. There are so many articles about the best way to get a good night’s sleep, some contradict each other. So I’m going to share

 

There are so many articles about the best way to get a good night’s sleep, some contradict each other. So I’m going to share 20 of the top tips for a successful night’s sleep – only those that I’ve found do make a true impact on sleep. 

 

1.

EAT A SNACK COMBO OF CARBS & TRYPTOPHAN CONTAINING PROTEIN

Explanation? Click Here

First off, I know the recommendation is not to eat past 8 pm, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. Heavy food right before bed can keep you from sleeping. But if you have difficulty sleeping, and go to bed hungry, you may end up indulging in sugary foods and wreck your diet. So try this instead:

 

  • Eat a snooze-inducing snack. Think of foods high in protein and ones that contain tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that converts to serotonin which in turn promotes sleep.

 

How does cottage cheese with some banana sound? Or a little dish of diced chicken with whole-wheat pasta and a vegetable? Or half a turkey sandwich?

 

2.

STRETCH BEFORE BED

Explanation? Click Here

I’m not referring to Yoga, though that may work for some. I’m referring to just good old stretches of your major muscle groups.

If you have difficulty falling asleep, have restless leg syndrome, or jerk awake repeatedly before falling into a deep sleep, then stretching may be especially helpful.

 

  • Try leaning against the wall or bed to alternately stretch out your calves and the back of your thigh.

 

Also, utilizing progressive muscle relaxation is a great tool. I used it all the time while pregnant.

 

  • Start with your toes and work your way up to your head. First tense each group of muscles tightly for a count of 5 then completely relax. Repeat if needed.

 

3.

LIMIT FLUIDS BEFORE BED

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Most likely we limit how much liquids go into our children’s bodies before bed so they are less likely to wet the bed. Well, I’m not concerned you’ll wet the bed.

However, if you drink too much right before bed, you’ll wake up multiple times, stumbling to the bathroom. This disturbs your sleep.

But please do drink enough that you don’t wake up thirsty – find the balance.

 

4.

DIM THE LIGHTS

Explanation? Click Here

2 to 3 hours before bed, it is recommended that you dim the lights. This sends signals to your brain to make melatonin. Melatonin is a crucial hormone needed for sleep.

Try switching light bulbs in the bedroom to a low-watt variety, say 15-watt, or install a dimmer switch. You may also want to wear glasses that block the blue light spectrum while watching TV, playing on the tablet, or reading before bed so as not to disrupt sleep cycles.

Approximately 1 hour before bed, it is best to turn off the electronics.

Last but not least, block as much ambient outside light as you can by using blackout shades as a liner to your bedroom curtains or an eye mask if you find that comfortable.

 

5.

INVEST IN WHITE NOISE

Explanation? Click Here

Innocuous noises can easily disrupt your sleep, the motorcycle racing a mile up the road, a barking dog two houses down, a beeping cell phone. Parents are usually super sensitized to noise, wondering about the well-fare of their children.

Use of white noise can cut down on unnecessary sleep disruption. Some use a bathroom fan or a soothing sound app on their phone. I’ve found fans too loud, and the apps all seem to have a rhythmic circular sound glitch of some sort that drives me crazy. Every bedroom in our house has a white noise machine; we can’t sleep without it.

 

6.

USE AN ALARM CLOCK, NOT YOUR CELL PHONE

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Your cell phone needs to be on for the alarm to work. Even if you have a silent mode setting, and the app claims it will only make noise at the set alarm time, if your phone is activated it can pick up interference and make disruptive crackling noise during sleep.

Additionally, having that cell phone close by can be too much of a distraction for some people. Instead, use a real digital alarm clock.

A caveat here, though, if you’re tempted to glance at the clock multiple times through the night, put it in a drawer or turn it away from view.

 

7.

USE A LEG PILLOW

Explanation? Click Here

If you experience lower back pain, a leg pillow can help alleviate the pain. Even mild pain can keep you from entering REM sleep.

To de-stress your lower back, use a pillow between your legs to align your hips. And if you’re a back sleeper rather than a side sleeper, place the pillow under your knees.

 

8.

MAKE SLEEP CONSISTENT

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Even on the weekends, try not to vary the time of retiring or rising more than a half hour. Set your natural body clock and stick with it; otherwise, you’ll feel more jet lagged come Monday morning than you would by crossing the U.S. via jet.

 

9.

KEEP YOUR {ROOM} COOL

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Most people sleep better with a room temperature of 65º to 68º F

 

10.

INVEST IN A GOOD MATTRESS & PILLOW

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Mattresses, even good ones only last about 7 years. Our bodies are constantly in a state of flux. A mattress that provided good support 5 or 7 years ago may do so no longer.

Pillows generally need replacing every year, dependent on initial quality.

In giving thought to support, also consider the size of the mattress, make sure you have room to move around without disturbing your partner.

 

11.

REDUCE MORNING SNOOZES

Explanation? Click Here

You’ll feel less refreshed upon waking if you’ve disrupted your sleep with multiples hits on the snooze button. If you feel a compulsion to hit the snooze, limit it to one time and just set the alarm for your REAL waking time.

 

12.

SORRY, NO PETS

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Some of you are going to hate me here, but it’s better to sleep without your pets.

Yes, I have pets. Occasionally they get on the bed to sleep, usually I remove them, here’s why:

  • Your partner’s movements can disrupt your sleep enough, if you add the dog or cat, their movements can really affect your sleep. They also cut down on the space you have to sleep comfortably. Then there are the allergens brought into your bed.

Consider getting a bed to place in your room just for your fur-baby.

 

13.

GET SOCKS & A HOT PACK

Explanation? Click Here

If you experience cold extremities, speed up the process of drifting off to sleep by donning a pair of socks for bed; this is especially helpful during cold months.

If you have short hair, you may even want to wear a loose cap at bedtime.

Sometimes, if you deal with tight muscles from Fibromyalgia, cold air can exacerbate it, so a hot pack across the neck and shoulders for 5-10 minutes can prove beneficial; it is also a good way to relieve muscles tight with stress and tension.

 

14.

PERSONAL BLANKETS & BEDDING

Explanation? Click Here

If you and your partner disagree on the comforts of texture types for bedding or on the number of layers, try using personal bedding.

Use a fitted sheet that you can agree on then layer with twin-size flat sheets and blankets per personal choice.

Don’t like the look? Me either! The solution is using a single comforter on top when making the bed.

 

15.

NAP STRATEGICALLY

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Not everyone agrees on this, but if you have trouble sleeping at night naps can help! It can improve your ability to concentrate too.

You just have to be firmly strategic about it. Make sure the naps are short “power” naps of 10-20 minutes tops and take the nap at the same time every EARLY afternoon.

The optimal time to schedule a nap is a half hour after eating lunch, this is a naturally lethargic time, yet early enough not to interfere with your nightly sleep.

Think you can’t do this at work? Before working from home, I went to my car to rest.

 

16.

GET SUN

Explanation? Click Here

Upon waking, try to get some natural morning sun optimally for 15 minutes, although even 5 minutes is helpful. It triggers the brain to alertness, helps to set your body’s biological clock, and tells your body it needs to return to sleep approximately 14-16 hours later.

The science behind this revolves around melatonin which is a natural hormone controlled by light exposure; it is key in regulating your sleep cycle. The goal is that your brain secrete more melatonin in the evening than in the daytime.

Long hours in an office or at home away from natural sunlight can make you sleepy in the daytime, then in the evening the bright lights from the TV and computer screen can suppress the production of melatonin. Now you’re all upside down!

Additional ways to correct this are:

  • taking breaks outside,
  • walking the dog during the day,
  • keep blinds open,
  • work close to a window,
  • turn off the computer and television at night,
  • and if you need a light to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, consider using a flashlight on low rather than leaving a night light on.

 

17.

WRITE IT DOWN

Explanation? Click Here

If you are plagued by worry or to-do lists dance in your head when you should slumber, consider placing a pen and paper on your bedside to jot thoughts or notes down in the dark; don’t turn on the light. Once you’ve written down what ails you, relax and go to sleep.


 

18.

USE THE BED ONLY FOR THE TWO S’S

Explanation? Click Here

I know you’ve heard this before, the bed is best saved for Sleep & Sex. Keep work and other activities out of the bed. The thought here is that once you get into bed, you’ll automatically get sleepy. If you feel more comfortable working in the evening out of the bedroom, consider using a chair and side table near the bed instead and then put your work away, out of sight, at bedtime.

 

19.

PROTECT FROM ALLERGENS

Explanation? Click Here

If you suffer from allergens such as dust mites, it can affect your sleep.

My oldest daughter has a dust mite allergy. Our proactive measures include a hypoallergenic mattress cover and pillow encasement to protect from dust mites. We also use an allergen reducing air purifier.

 

20.

WORK OUT & DO IT EARLY

Explanation? Click Here

Do exercise regularly, just not too close to bedtime. Exercise energizes – even a brisk walk, you don’t want that right before bed.

Aim for vigorous exercise at least 2 hours, preferably 4 hours prior to sleep. Before bed think about movement tips under #2 of this list.

 

Happy ZZZ’s to you!

 

If you suffer from bouts of insomnia like I do, you’ll find the information in this article about natural supplementsespecially helpful!

 

I discuss sleep quite often on this site, especially as regards sleep needs for children. Be sure to check out the following articles for more information:

 

 

Is there a proven method to better sleep? See this list of 20 Top Tips For Successful Sleep for remedies!

 

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P.S. What’s Your Personal Secret To A Good Nights Sleep

 

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