Hello everyone! I hope you’re having a wonderful start to your week. If you’re struggling with the feeling of always being busy, you’re not alone. It’s really easy to get caught up with work, everything you have to do at home, anyone or anything you might need to take care of, dinner, cleaning, bathing, and the endless list of things that has to happen before you go to sleep. All of that effectively pushes sleep further and further away until you find yourself getting the absolute minimum hours you need to function. Instead of lecturing you on getting more sleep (although, you should [and so should I]), I thought I’d do something a little more helpful, and point you in the direction of some things that can help you get more quality out of your sleeping hours (however little they may be).
So, without further ado, here are some helpful tips to get the most quality out of your sleep:
1. No electronics. Seriously. I mean it. You’ve heard it before, but it really is true. Your bedroom should be limited to a few activities only (;)) and watching TV or using your electronics really shouldn’t be one of them. Why? Well, it’s quite easy to just stay up and continue watching TV, scrolling Instagram, etc. The light given off by those devices has been shown to interfere with sleep cycles and it gets you in the habit of associating your bedroom with an activity other than sleep! In short, the more time you spend using electronics in your bedroom, the more compelled you are to use electronics in your bedroom, rather than sleep.
2. Make sure you eat enough. I know there’s a whole movement out there about how you shouldn’t eat within a certain window before going to bed. There are also claims about certain foods interfering with your sleep (this is true in some cases, such as caffeine, alcohol, or anything that upsets your stomach). However, please don’t let this deter you from feeling satiated before going to sleep. You should not head to bed bloated, uncomfortable, or overly full. That’s not going to lead to a restful sleep. Make sure that you feel satiated and you’ll spend less time restless or anxious about falling asleep.
3. Clear the air. It’s very difficult to sleep when something smells off-putting or too strong. If you have carpet in your bedroom, like many people do, try to make sure it is vacuumed regularly and that you use an air purifier in or near your bedroom (some air purifiers give off faint noise and you may not want it in the room). If the air feels stale or humid, consider running a fan or cracking the window (you will need to evaluate the latter based on your allergies). Avoid strong smelling candles in your room, perfumes on your sleep clothes, or detergents on your sheets and pillowcases. Try to keep everything smelling fairly neutral before bed
4. Use the right bedding for you. Anyone that has gone to a home goods store will know that advertising for sleep related products is out of control. There is no correct pillow, mattress, thread count, blanket type, or pajamas. There is simply what works best for you. Memory foam, gel cushioning, and down aren’t necessarily for everyone. If you don’t like blankets, don’t use them. If you need a top sheet, make sure you buy one. If you like throw pillows, buy some! Make sure your bed is comfortable for you. If you aren’t sure what you like, test out products in the store (there are always bed displays). Additionally, if you sleep beside a partner, making sure they are comfortable is also essential for your sleep quality (because their tossing and turning all night will drive you mad).
5. Accept that you just can’t do everything. This is the last, and arguably most important tip on the list. I am both in a profession and life stage where I just can’t get everything done on my lists. It is very frustrating as I’m the kind of person that likes to check off boxes and sit back and enjoy my finished list with a grin. It just doesn’t happen anymore. It might happen again some day (or possibly on weekends), but in this stage of my life with my job, new/old house, puppy, and general life, I can’t get everything done before I go to bed. By the time I get home from work, I have a few short hours in which I try to squeeze everything in, and I have to make a lot of compromises. Many nights I go to sleep with a sink full of dishes, a pile of dust in the corners, and a load of laundry still in the washer. Yes, it’s true that you sleep better when these things aren’t on your mind. But it is also true that life happens. If you’re in a stage of your life when you just can’t do it all, don’t beat yourself up. Lay back, let it go, and get some rest.
Even if you aren’t getting enough sleep, or don’t anticipate getting any more sleep anytime soon, trying some of these things may help improve the hours you spend sleeping. Please let me know if any of these tips work for you.
My questions for you:
- Do you feel like you are getting a quality sleep?
- Do you have a nightly routine that has helped improve your sleep?