1. Turn off all electronics at least 1 hour before bedtime.
This includes avoiding the use of television, computers, tablets, and smartphones. The light emitted from these electronics inhibit melatonin (your sleep hormone). This means the signals that tell your brain to turn off and go to bed are not produced. So while you may feel like watching your favorite Netflix show is helping you relax to go to sleep, it is actually making it harder!
2. Reserve your bed for only sleep or intimacy.
When you do other activities in bed such as working or watching t.v., you associate the bed with wakefulness instead of sleep.
3. Maintain a regular bedtime and bedtime routine.
Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day regulates your body’s circadian rhythm (it’s sleep-wake cycle). Having a regular bedtime routine with relaxation activities will help prep the body for sleep. Good night time routines can include a hot bath or shower, drinking a relaxing tea, meditation, listening to calm music, or light reading (as long as it isn’t on a tablet or smartphone!).
4. Make healthy choices.
Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine in the late afternoon or evening. The effects of caffeine can last hours and can disrupt your ability to fall asleep later that night.
Avoid or limit alcohol consumption. While a lot of people might find that alcohol helps them fall asleep, it also causes disruptive and poor quality sleep, especially when consumed in large quantities. This means that you may fall asleep easier, but you won’t stay asleep or feel as rested when you wake up.
5. Turn your bedroom into a Sound Sleep Space.
Sleep in complete darkness, try to decrease outside noise, and set the air conditioning to a lower temperature.
Sleeping in complete darkness will prevent light-induced waking. If you live in a place where you are fighting outside light interference, try sleeping with an eye mask, or using blackout shades or heavy curtains.
If you live in a noisy area, try sleeping with earplugs or using a sound machine to block out outside noise.
Lower body temperatures help induce sleep. Optimal sleep temperatures vary widely between people, but a good rule of thumb is to set your thermostat for 5 degrees colder than what is comfortable in your house at a waking temperature.
As a bonus here is information on my favorite sleep supplements.
Remember – herbs act like medications in your body, so make sure you check with your doctor before trying any of these on your own.
Passiflora is a great herb for calming the mind. This herb is best used for people who have trouble falling asleep due to excessive mental chatter, as well as for people who are exhausted but still have trouble sleeping.
Chamomile is a great herb for calming an agitated nervous system. This herb is especially helpful for people who have trouble falling asleep due to physical restlessness or digestive irritation.
Scutellaria is a calming and restorative herb for the nervous system and is helpful for people who have restless sleep. It is also anti-spasmodic and helpful in alleviating muscle tension and spasms.
Valerian root is a stronger sedative herb that helps to shorten the time it takes to fall asleep and also decreases the frequency of awakenings.
Herbs can be taken in a variety of different ways, but a great regimen for bedtime is making a sleepy time tea. Nighttime tea is a great option for people because it can replace the urge to drink an alcoholic beverage, helps get you in a regular bedtime routine, and tastes yummy! You can try these herbs alone, or in combination. You can combine all of these herbs in equal parts to make your own delicious tea recipe. You can also find some good pre-made sleep blend teas over the counter. One of my favorites is Gaia Herbs Sleep and Relax Tea.