Have you ever heard the term “good sleep hygiene.”
What this means is that certain bedtime habits might help you sleep better.
Hopefully this will reduce any anxiety you may feel about not getting a good night’s sleep.
I can tell you from personal experience that worrying about insomnia is enough to keep you up at night.
This creates a vicious cycle in which sleep doesn’t come. Then you start thinking about all the things you have to do the next day.
You wonder how you’re going to get through the day.
This persistent thought then leads to tossing and turning.
So if you’ve read this far chances are you’re familiar with the concept of not sleeping, for fear of not sleeping.
This then leads to endless nights of not getting enough sleep.
So, what can you do about it?
I don’t claim to have all of the answers. But I can pass along some commonly suggested sleep hygiene tips, as well as thoughts from my own person experience with insomnia.
Bedtime Habits To Help You Sleep
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You will be hard pressed to find a sleep expert who will tell you not to go to bed at the same time every night.
This is probably one of the best things you can do to improve your sleep, naturally, without drugs.
Sleeping and waking at a regular time gets your body into a pattern of knowing when to sleep, and knowing when to wake up.
That’s why anything that throws off your schedule may result in less sleep. But whatever you do, don’t stress about it.
Daylight savings time is inevitable. So is changing time zones, if you travel.
I’ve found when traveling the best way to adjust is to immediately get on the new time. For instance, if you fly across the Continental United States east to west, go to bed on West Coast time.
If you wake up a little early the next day, don’t sweat it. This might mean losing a little bit of sleep initially. But your body will adjust.
Remind yourself that no one sleeps perfectly all the time. It’s normal to miss a few hours here or there when you’re traveling, or an emergency keeps you awake.
I believe our bodies are built to handle this. And adapt accordingly.
So above all don’t stress.
How To Develop Good Sleep Habits
There’s another bit of often repeated advice that I believe is true.
At least it is for me.
This is don’t go to bed unless you’re tired.
If you’re wound up, it’s little use going to bed just to toss and turn.
It makes a lot more sense to stay up and do something else until you’re tired. Even if you miss a little sleep time, and have to work the next day, it’s better than lying awake most of the night.
Use this time to do something you enjoy. (As long as you don’t do anything physically strenuous.) Wait until you’re tired. Then go to bed.
If you still can’t sleep, get up and repeat the cycle.
Do Something Relaxing Before Bedtime
There’s a lot to be said for winding down, before you attempt to sleep.
Have you ever noticed that if you stay out late at night, you don’t want to immediately hit the pillow.
You’re not tired. You don’t want to sleep.
For me, this happens because I miss my wind down time.
I sleep best when I can watch at least one episode of a show I like on a streaming service, such as Netflix or Hulu. I imagine other people need their wind down time too. (Hulu offers new users a free trial.)
So if you stay up late working at a task that requires heavy concentration, don’t expect to fall asleep immediately upon hitting the pillow.
Same if you burn the midnight oil doing housework.
If you’re a Type A personality,
Above all don’t stress. You will get a good night’s sleep again. Don’t buy into the lie that you won’t.
It is possible to fully recover from chronic insomnia. And go to bed every night fully expecting to get a good night’s sleep.
If I can get past insomnia I think anyone can. Because at one time my sleep problems were very severe.
How To Improve Sleep Hygiene
The National Sleep Foundation has a number of other tips to help you get your needed rest.
Some of them include:
- Avoiding coffee and caffeinated tea before bedtime. I’ve heard varying advice on what time of day is the cutoff. The standard recommendation is no coffee after 4 pm. But I’ve also heard noon is when you stop drinking java. You could try limiting coffee drinking to early morning hours as an experiment.
- Getting some exercise in the day. But not too close to bedtime.
- Make sure your bed is comfortable. Also, keep the room at a comfortable temperature. Idea would be between 60 and 67 degrees F.
- Try to get exposure to natural sunlight during the day. This will help maintain a healthy sleep/wake cycle. Make sure your bedroom is adequately dark.
Natural Light for Good Sleep
In addition to getting enough natural light during the day, there’s a kind of light to avoid just before bedtime.
This is your computer screen. Because it emits a certain blue light, which the body recognizes as daylight.
This type of light can confuse the brain into thinking it’s time to get up, and on with the day.
That’s why a number of natural health experts recommend avoiding your computer for two hours before bedtime.
This might be something to try, if sleep eludes you. Good sleep hygiene tips often include shutting down your computer before bed.
Read a book, watch television or listen to quiet music instead.
However, sometimes it’s impossible to not use a computer before bedtime. For a lot of people, this is how they unwind before getting their sleep.
Being able to unwind is important.
If this describes you, then there’s a potential solution. In her book, Your Natural Medicine Cabinet, author and natural health expert Burke Lennihan suggests investing in a pair of blue light blocking glasses.
If you can’t find these glasses at your local health food store, they are available online.
Burke also recommends a few other products for good sleep, including Gaia Herbs Sound Sleep formula, which you can also see below. (However, I can’t claim or promise this or any other natural remedy will definitely work, as everyone is different and responds differently.)
Does Your Computer Cause Insomnia?
Strangely enough, though, some rules are meant to be broken.
For some reason, watching television right before bedtime or watching Netflix on my computer help me sleep.
I’ve been doing this consistently for a number of months and I’ve found that it works so well that I don’t have to use any other sleep aids.
Prior to this Netflix and Hulu hack I was using essential oils to help me sleep.
Essential oils work so well for sleep. I highly recommend that people try them if they haven’t already.
Sleeping pills are a quick fix solution that may end up backfiring. They result in bad sleep hygiene. Because they don’t bring about natural restful sleep. But they can create dependency.
The good news is that natural sleep remedies can be very effective. Here’s an earlier blog post on How To Sleep Better At Night Naturally.
For More Reading
These statements have not been approved by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Pregnant women should not use natural remedies unless instructed to do so by a healthcare professional.
Learn How To Sleep Again Course
I lived with extreme insomnia for years. It ruined my life.
But you CAN learn how to sleep again. Without even having to think about it.
While I can’t promise anyone else the same results I enjoyed, I can share with you tips that helped me sleep well again.
They’re available in an easy to follow online course called Natural Sleep Strategies. For more information click on the link below.