I consider myself lucky and very grateful: I don’t have many problems falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too much. I don’t have a Fitbit or a Garmin bracelet to track how I sleep, so who knows what those devices would say, but I know a lot of my clients do wear them and tell me they don’t sleep so well.
When I ask them what they do with that information, they don’t really have any answers for that, so today I have some suggestions on how to fall asleep easier and sleep deeper. These are my tried and true methods, not only for sleep but to quiet my mind, which I believe is a huge part of most people’s sleep struggles.
Carrie’s 7 Tips to Help You Sleep Better
- Cut caffeine in the early afternoon and watch what you eat. Heavy, hard to digest meals keep your body functions working rather than going into rest mode, so eat lighter and earlier if you can. Avoid caffeine after early afternoon, since the caffeine buzz stays with you longer than you would expect.
- Exercise daily, whether an after dinner walk or a full-on workout. Reports indicate that regular, vigorous exercisers sleep better than those who don’t exercise at all or those who lightly exercise. Even if you can’t get the sleep benefits from vigorous exercise, walking is better than nothing at all! I personally find walking very meditative and therapeutic; maybe you’ll experience that too, in lieu of a workout. Whatever you do, just make sure your exercise routine is completed about 2 hours before you go to sleep.
- Take a warm bath 90 minutes to two hours before bedtime. Popular belief says that your body’s temperature drops when you sleep to conserve energy for other functions, so taking a bath before bed raises your body temperature, which then subsequently lowers it, just in time for bedtime.
- Turn off screen time an hour before falling asleep. With all transparency, I don’t actually do this with the TV, but I make every effort to do it with the computer/tablet and phone. The screens are so bright and since light is one of the things that triggers the brain that we should be awake, we need not be looking at bright screens before trying to fall asleep.
- Write down your thoughts to clear your head. I like to use this when talking to people new to meditation. Sometimes our heads are so full of thoughts, worries and ideas that we have a hard time getting quiet. Before bed (or meditation), write each thought that goes through your mind down in a notebook. Let them roll out of your head on to the paper, where you are welcome to pick them up in the morning if you wish.
- Spray your pillow with Lavender, Cedarwood or Frankincense. These essential oils help promote a peaceful, relaxing environment and calm the jitters. You could also use an eye mask with essential oils. When I use my eye mask, I sleep so deeply! It’s a wonder I forget to use it every night. As a Young Living Independent Distributor, I can get you some amazing, highest quality, 100% essential oils, if you’d like.
- Practice progressive muscle relaxation techniques. I like to pay attention to my body and see where there is energy moving around. I will let those areas shake it out, twitch and kick, if needed, to expel the energy from that space. I will breathe into any area that feels full of tension and breathe out visualizing it relaxing. I will also visualize literally sweeping out my brain and letting the thoughts fall out of my ears. It may seem a little strange but it works to calm the body, mind, and get rid of pent up energy!
Massage is also known to help people sleep better, so come see me as often as you can, and in the mean time, practice these at-home, self-care sleep tips. Sleep well and let’s see if we can change those results on that bracelet!