Unfortunately, I have had my portion of sleepless nights and at times still struggle to fall asleep and get my eight hours in. I have been finding ways to make it easier for myself to fall asleep and just, in general, but sleep on a higher priority than before. Sleep doesn’t have the productive image and a friend of mine even wished she could have a body that won’t need rest anymore so she could use those extra hours to be even more productive. Sleeping may not seem productive, it’s the most productive thing you can do for your well-being. While sleeping, your body is detoxing and renewing cells again. If we want to take care of ourselves, we should start to look at how we sleep and how we can help ourselves in falling easier asleep. The following are different ways I have tried and liked to do when falling asleep seems impossible. Here is to having a better relationship with sleep!
1. Set a time to go to bed
Just like when we put on an alarm to wake up, it’s quite efficient to do the same with going to bed. Too often, we only go to bed when we feel like it or when we are on the verge of exhaustion. Having a set time to go to bed will make you prepare beforehand in going into your night routine. It will set your mindset from active to non-active. Put an alarm between fifteen and thirty minutes before your bedtime to brush your teeth, take a shower, and properly closing the day off. It will feel weird at the beginning but after some time, your body will get used to it too when it’s almost time to sleep.
2. Set up a night routine to your preference
It’s important to have a night routine just like having a morning route. Having a night routine can put your mind into a calm state right before sleep and give you the structure you need at the end of the day. This can be anything, but the most common ones are brushing your teeth and taking a shower. Some other examples are: skincare ( including facemasks), soft nature music on while sleeping, using an aroma diffuser for some nice scent, doing some light reading in bed, meditating, night notes (will be explained at the following point)
3. Close the day off by writing night notes
I’m sure you have heard about morning notes when you write right after you have woken up to write off anything that has been in your head. Or starting the day on the right note by writing some affirmations, a positive quote, a mantra, or anything that puts your mind ready for the day. Well, night notes are pretty much the same, only that you write before going to bed. When we can’t fall asleep, our mind tends to go into a rabbit hole of things that worry us or far-fetched scenarios. Keep a notebook on your nightstand and empty your mind by writing it down on paper, so when you go to sleep, your mind won’t be as active as before.
4. No screen time one hour before bedtime
Smartphones, laptops and televisions emit blue light that affects the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. How more we spend on these devices during the late evening, how less melatonin will get produced to make you sleepy. If you use your phone as an alarm, set this up beforehand to prevent yourself from grabbing your phone at night to set an alarm. As a guideline, I would say no screen time one hour before bedtime is sufficient enough to prepare your body to get into sleep-mode. If one hour is too hard, try a half-hour first and slowly build it up.
If you managed to fall asleep but wake up midway and can’t seem to fall back asleep. There is that rabbit hole of worries back again! Then, get out of bed for the time being and look for something small to declutter to take your mind off for a bit of sleep. Maybe refold clothes in your closet or take out that cabinet that you have put off cleaning for months now. By decluttering, you declutter your mind as well.
6. Watch some ASMR videos
I know I’m contradicting myself with point four, but what works for one person doesn’t work at another. There are endless of ASMR videos to watch that can soothe you to sleep. Even only hearing the sounds sometimes is enough to unclench your muscles and relax.
7. Drink some sleepy tea
There are several kinds of herbal tea that you can drink to relax and unwind before going to bed. This herbal tea may be worth trying: chamomile, valerian root, lavender, lemon balm, passionflower, and magnolia bark. The bottom line of this kind of teas is that it can help you fall asleep faster, it can help decrease sudden nighttime awakening and overall improving your sleep quality.