If you ask anyone who’s met me, they’ll probably vouch for when I say that I have the world’s most f*cked up sleep schedule. Between my anxiety and my seemingly never ending career as a bartender, it’s hard to get a good night's sleep even when the opportunity presents itself. I’ve had an obnoxiously hard time falling asleep for about ten years now, so I think it’s safe to say I’ve tried just about everything from over the counter stuff to quiet meditation. I know what it’s like waking up groggy as all hell, waking up feeling like you’re a new person, and waking up wondering if you died.Falling asleep is hard for some people. You can make it even harder for yourself by pumping your body with melatonin and over the counter sleep aids that will make it nearly impossible to fall asleep without them OR you can try some of these simple little exercises and finally know what it feels like to be well rested.
Figure out your body's needs and set a schedule.
Find out how much sleep someone your age should be getting and make it your goal to allow yourself that much time each night. Whether you have work at eight in the morning or five in the afternoon, that shouldn’t be a factor of when you hit the sack. Get yourself on a schedule, and do your absolute hardest to stick to it. Once you get your body to sleep and waking up at the same time every day, your life will become so much easier.
Be conscious of your daily decisions.
Everything you do from the moment you wake up to the second your head hits the pillow affects the sleep you’re going to get that night. No matter how tired you are, don’t take that nap you want to take so bad. Don’t hang out in your bedroom when you don’t plan on going to sleep. No matter how bad you want it, don’t get that after work coffee. Don’t do anything that you know will make it harder for you to pass out when you get home.
Write stuff down.
If you’re like me and wait until you’re ready to close your eyes to begin thinking about everything overwhelming you in your life, then grab a pen and paper. Write down everything on your mind and everything that may keep you up. Make a to - do list for the next day, write a poem, type a rant, write down everything you're thankful for, do whatever you have to. Clear your mind of the clutter and give it some much needed R&R.
Invest in some apps.
There are hundreds of apps that are designed specifically to help you fall asleep - my favorite? Sleep Cycle. There is a free plan, and a premium upgrade and I’m telling you, you will not regret it. Sleep Cycle tracks your sleep throughout the night, gathering stats to help you figure out what you need to do to sleep better. On top of that it has an alarm that will wake you when you’re out of REM sleep, so it’s a little less painful dragging your ass out of bed.
Most people prefer to do yoga right after they wake up. Me? I use it to put myself to sleep. Do a few basic poses right before bed to calm yourself, get your breathing regulated and your mind at ease. Go into bed relaxed, you’re more likely to fall right to sleep.
Obviously this comes right after yoga, considering they go hand in hand. If you’re a chronic overthinker, it’s easy to be up until four a.m. thinking about anything and everything. Start with ten minutes a day, and in the beginning, it will be tough, but it’ll be worth it once you get a hang of it. Meditation can not only help you sleep better, but it’ll help you in every other aspect. Try an app called HeadSpace. It offers a free ten day guided meditation, and if you want to subscribe from there, go for it!
Beware of blue light
It sucks, but you have to put your phone away and the macbook. The blue light from the screen produces a stress hormone that is more likely to keep you awake. Keep anything with a blue light out of sight for at least an hour before bed, and it’ll be easier for your brain to power down and go to sleep. If you’re not willing to do that, at least put it on night mode. Your eyes will thank you.
Bask in all of the soothing sounds
Invest in a noise machine, google some nice ocean waves on youtube, listen to a relaxing podcast, find a sleep playlist on Spotify or find your favorite band’s acoustic album. On nights when my brain is throwing a riot, nothing is better to find something soothing to focus on instead.
Shower the room in relaxing smells
According to The National Sleep Foundation, any smell that helps you relax can help you get to sleep faster. Find some aromatherapy spray or candles, burn some incense and shower yourself in lavender lotion. Not only will you smell fantastic, but you’ll get a good night sleep while doing so.
Talk to your doctor
If you’ve tried everything and your problems still persist, it might be time to see a professional. Don’t let yourself suffer, you may need a little help but don’t give up on sleeping soundly.