1. Choose a consistent bedtime.
Sleep is much easier when you commit to a repeated time, because our bodies love routine. That being said, it’s incredibly important for you to pick a time that you can truly stick to. Be realistic. Don’t play yourself. If you’re a night owl chances are your body won’t be ready to shut down by 10:00 PM. Likewise, if you start feeling sleepy early, don’t choose a late time in order to get extra work done. Then again, I can’t tell you how to live your life, so this one is up to you.
2. Dim the lights.
Keeping a dark room is another really important piece of the sleep game. Lights, particularly lights that change color and brightness (see: a TV screen) can make it difficult to relax. It’s best to keep the TV off, and the curtains closed. But if you’re like me, and don’t like to sleep in total darkness, you can always buy yourself a cute little nightlight. Something that’s bright enough to keep monsters away, but dim enough that it won’t signal Batman.
3. Skip naps.
This is perhaps the hardest piece of advice to follow. As a nap-whore, I frequently indulge in teeny little ones, only to wake up an hour or so later, unaware of what decade it is, or what planet I’m currently on. If that sounds familiar, you are probably one of many who should just cut out naps altogether. Unless you’re one of the rare beings capable of napping smart (as opposed to napping dumb) you should just quit cold turkey. With naps out of the way, the relationship between you and your nightly sleep will blossom.
4. Put away all your gadgets.
I could talk about how difficult it is to sign out in today’s modern society, but I’ll save you the fluff and get right to the point. Stop being a slave to your device(s) and focus on the sleep you need to be productive and pretty. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Reddit, Grindr, Tinder, Pinterest, Angry Birds, Trivia Crack, Snapchat, and Gmail will all be there when you wake up in the morning. I virtually pinky promise you.
5. Position time keeping devices out of view.
It’s super helpful to make sure that you can’t easily see any time keeping devices, because looking at the time will only stress you out and depress you. You’ll be all, “I have to go to work in like 4 hours WTF,” which is never a comforting thought. Nothing feels worse than tossing and turning and seeing how much (or little) time has actually passed. Give your mind the peace that it needs and deserves.
6. Avoid sugar and caffeine.
Put down the chocolate, step away from the soda, and drop the ice cream. All of the above are loaded with sugar and caffeine that will seriously mess with your sleep. Sure, they’re delectable, and feel totally worth it. But is a snack really worth that extra time tossing and turning at night? (Don’t answer that.) I’m not saying to get rid of these and other treats; I’m just saying that you should eat them at the right time, or substitute them for healthier snacks if you really need to eat at night (see: Cheerios, warm milk, crackers & cheese, or apple crescents).
7. Create an evening ritual.
Do something that will tell your body that it’s time to calm down. Taking a hot bath or shower is a really great way to relax your mind and body. You could also read a book, write in a journal, listen to music, or make a human sacrifice to appease Dick Cheney. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you stick with it, and allow your body to get used to going to sleep shortly thereafter. (Note: Jayson Flores does not endorse crimes for, in the name of, or on behalf of Dick Cheney.)