27 Sleep Tips That Will Make You Fall Asleep In 7 Minutes Or Less
Do you struggle to get to sleep at night? Or do you find yourself dropping off around midnight only to be wide awake at 2 or 3am? If this sounds all too familiar to you then you could be searching for tips to help you sleep better.
Even if you usually sleep well, if you are a first time parent you might be struggling to get your baby to sleep through and need some tips for helping baby sleep through the night. As someone who can’t function without a solid 7-8 hours of sleep every night, a new baby completely changes your life and finding a way to get them to sleep through feels like the holy grail!
Lack of sleep can totally change your life and you could find yourself losing concentration at work, becoming short tempered and picking up every cough and cold that is going around the office. There’s a reason sleep disturbance was used as torture!
We’ve put together a list of tips to improve sleep – everything from getting your bedroom’s temperature right to little tricks to help you stay asleep until morning. So if you’re struggling with insomnia or struggling to get into a pattern while working night shifts, read on for some helpful advice and tips to sleep better.
1: Get in a Routine
2: Avoid Drinking Alcohol Before Bed
3: Set an Alarm to Remind You to Sleep
4: Keep Your Bedroom Dark
5: Make Your Bed Cozy and Comfortable
6: Drink Something to Help You Sleep Better
7: Drop into a Deep Sleep with a Sleep Mask
8: Make Your Bedroom an Electrical-Free Zone
9: Cut Out the Caffeine
10: Exercise During the Day
11: Avoid Big Meals Late in the Day
12: Transform Your Bedroom Decor
13: Keep Your Bed for Sleep
14: Is Your Room the Right Temperature?
15: White Noise and Background Noise
16: Ban Your Pets
17: Does Your Mattress Need Replacing?
18: Keep Napping to a Minimum
19: Try More Sheets or Blankets
20: Keep the Same Bedtime – Even on Weekends
21: Write Down a “to do” List
22: Keep a Journal
24: Relax in a Warm Bath
25: Scatter Some Aromatherapy Scents in Your Bedroom
26: Walk Around and Do Something Calming
27: Prep the Night Before
One of the simplest things you can do is make sure you have a set routine before bed. This doesn’t have to be complicated or long winded, just a set few things you do before switching off and laying down for the night. You could turn the TV off, go into the kitchen and finish up the dishes or any little chores in there then have a wash, brush your teeth and get into your pyjamas.
Even these few simple steps can trick your mind into feeling sleepy and if you repeat this pattern your body will get used to the signs it is ready for sleep. You can add in steps that suit you such as reading a few pages of a book or drinking a hot drink but generally doing these things in the same order night after night will eventually get your body into a routine and help you drop into a deep sleep.
If you really think about it, having a bedtime routine is something we learn when we are babies. There are plenty of newborn sleep tips out there but having a routine before bedtime is definitely the number one thing that helps them get to sleep quickly.
There are plenty of newborn sleep tips out there but having a routine before bedtime is definitely the number one thing that helps them get to sleep quickly. There’s a great YouTube video of a routine that you can use for your little one. You can pick up the signs your child is sleepy by watching them closely, if they start rubbing their eyes or their eyes look “glassy” then it is a sure sign bedtime is getting close!
Alcohol might help you drop off to sleep, but drinking alcohol before bed actually reduces your quality of sleep and can make you feel even more tired when you wake up. Have you ever noticed how you think you’ve slept soundly after a couple of glasses of wine but when you wake up in the morning it feels like you’ve hardly slept at all?
That is the stimulant in the alcohol that is keeping you in the wrong stage of sleep. It reduces the REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and studies have shown alpha brain wave patterns increase which is the brain pattern used when the brain is awake but resting.
So while you think you’re sleeping, your brain hasn’t actually “switched off” due to the alcohol. You might also wake in the middle of the night and feel wide awake.
This is due to the interference with your brain’s usual patterns and could cause insomnia. The odd drink before bed is fine, but if you’re finding yourself drinking night after night then you could be building up weeks of bad sleeping habits which will leave you feeling drained.
This sounds weird, as usually we’re setting alarms to wake us up, but bear with me! Setting an alarm to remind you to sleep can actually mean you sleep better, and longer. We can all get caught up in the day and find ourselves lost in a good book or engrossed in a movie. This can lead to the time just slipping away from you and before you know it it’s 1am in the morning and you’ve missed your whole sleep routine and only have a few hours left to get some shut eye!
Set an alarm for around 30 minutes before bedtime to give yourself time to go through your sleep routine. You can even list your routine in order if you’re a bit forgetful (like me!). How many times have we looked at the clock and been shocked at the time? This will keep you on track to get your 8 hours and help you feel more refreshed in the morning.
The Effects of Light to Sleep
Light can really affect how easily we fall to sleep and how deeply we actually sleep through the night. As you’ll know if you’ve ever stayed in a hotel in the middle of a city and there’s streetlights and light pollution streaming in through the window, it can really affect the quality of your sleep overall.
Making your bedroom dark is scientifically proven to help you get to sleep fast and stay asleep. It is all to do with your body’s circadian rhythm and how your body produces hormones and chemicals in reaction to light and dark. This rhythm literally controls your body’s sleep/wake cycle. Not just in humans but everything on the planet including plants and even fungi!
Artificial lights can trick your body into thinking it is daytime and keeps you awake. Although your bedside light isn’t as powerful as the sun, even that little bit of light can be enough to cause disruptions in your body’s natural rhythm. The answer is simple. Invest in a decent blackout blind or thick curtains and block out all that light pollution from outside.
Unless you are very lucky and live out in the wilds with no neighbours or street lights, you will deal with some form of light pollution. Try to keep lights in the rest of the house to a minimum – perhaps using a very dim light in the bathroom and turning everything else off.
For babies and infants though, a low level of light can help to soothe them back to sleep if they wake. A night light can help them feel safe and relaxed when they wake instead of being in complete darkness. There’s also the added bonus of being able to see where you are going when you have to go into them in the middle of the night.
We should all be changing our sheets at least every two weeks – but honestly how many of us do? It isn’t as if we keep an internal calendar for these things, and often you can’t remember when you last had a bit of a spring clean. You should wash your bedding on a low setting and add a fabric softener for that just washed soft feeling.
Ideally, you should air dry your sheets outside but in the winter just use the tumble drier on a cool setting. Make sure your sheets are completely dry before you remake your bed, there’s nothing cozy about a damp bed!
So if you’re finding your bed isn’t sending you off to sleep, try washing and changing your sheets. Even the psychological benefit of sleeping in fresh sheets can help you have a better night’s sleep.
Sometimes we really need something comforting before bed to help us drop off to sleep. Warm milk has been proven to boost sleep as it is rich in an amino acid called tryptophan. This is a sleep-inducing chemical which can help you get a better night’s rest. It can also have a psychological effect as many of us will be transported back to being a baby again and given a bottle of milk before bedtime. There are some great recipes out there to help you find a tasty and comforting bedtime drink.
If milk isn’t your thing, you can always add something to it and make a cocoa or even mix in some honey which also has soporific qualities as well as a range of other health benefits. And the great thing is they are suitable for dairy free diets as well; just use a soy, rice or almond milk instead of dairy. The added benefit with almond milk is that it has the same sleep inducing qualities as regular milk.
Herbal teas are also great for relaxing and dropping off to sleep. Chamomile is the most commonly used sleep aid as it boosts sleep, eases insomnia and even helps medical problems like menstrual cramps. This fragrant flower can be drunk on its own in a cup of hot water or mixed with other sleep inducing herbs like lavender, valerian or passion flower.
Not only does it taste great, but it eases anxiety and helps you calm your thoughts before bedtime. There is also a really old nighttime sleep remedy which is tart cherry juice. Although it sounds like a strange thing to drink, people swear by it for helping children and infants drop off to sleep. Other tried and tested remedies include banana smoothies, coconut water or a specially-blended bedtime tea.
Night shift workers are some of the hardest hit by insomnia and bad sleeping patterns. So badly, that it has its own name – Shift Work Disorder. It stands to reason really, trying to sleep when the rest of the world is awake will set your body clock off on the wrong path.
But for some people in the emergency services or other demanding lines of work, night shifts are unavoidable. For these people it is even more important they are alert and on top of their game through the day or night so getting a proper night’s sleep is more important than ever. When I worked night shifts, I found a simple, free tip that worked miracles.
A sleep mask. Just one of those free eye masks you’re given on a long haul flight really changed my life. By blocking out all of the light, you can get to sleep much easier as your brain is tricked into thinking it is night time. By sleeping at the “right” time (or so your brain thinks) you get a deeper, better quality sleep and wake up feeling much more refreshed. There are lots of tips out there to help you sleep better on night shift but getting a good sleep mask is a great start. And even if you don’t work nights, this can work for you too – especially if you are sensitive to light.
We all know we should be cutting down on screen time through the day, but did you know it could be causing you to have a bad night’s sleep? Two thirds of adults take their smartphones to bed and the little blue light coming from your phone or tablet could be causing your sleep to deteriorate. Research shows this light actually suppresses melatonin – the chemical we need for sleep.
So instead of relaxing while you’re laying in bed scrolling through Facebook, you are actually waking yourself up. Watching videos, reading the news and just chatting with your friends on social media all stimulates your brain. So at the time you’re supposed to be winding down your brain is actually working as hard as it does through the day. And receiving a stressful email from your boss could keep you awake and tossing and turning all night. Switch off at least an hour before bed and you will start to notice the effects that technology has on sleep.
And definitely keep it on silent overnight. Using your bed as an extension of your office doesn’t make it seem like a place you want to go to sleep. If you associate your bed with work, is it any wonder you’ll find it hard to sleep?
Coffee is great and, I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’d get through the morning without it. However, drinking a cup of coffee too late in the day can keep you awake all night or leave you with disturbed sleep. Surprisingly, a study showed that even drinking caffeine 6 hours before bedtime reduced sleep.
It affects older people more as it takes them longer to get rid of the caffeine in their systems. Effects of caffeine can last for as long as 14 hours so if you’re finding it hard to sleep the try cutting it out altogether and see what happens to your sleep patterns. Three eight ounce cups of coffee is the “normal” amount but if you’re consuming this or fewer then it might be worth getting rid of the coffee altogether.
Did you know exercising near bedtime can actually wake you up, instead of tiring you out and making you sleep? Studies show that people who are active within two hours of their bedtime can suffer insomnia. This is because your body is releasing adrenaline and cortisol from the workout which acts as a mechanism to keep you awake.
While many people find exercise actually helps them sleep deeper, being at the gym a couple of hours before you want to go to sleep has the opposite effect. Post workout insomnia is real, so if you can squeeze your gym session in before going to work in the morning, or even grab a 30 minute session during your lunch hour, you will find your sleep will be greatly improved.
Have you ever lain awake at night after a big meal feeling a little big sick and wishing you’d only had one helping of pie? Well eating late in the day can cause more than heartburn and an uncomfortable feeling – it could actually be keeping you awake!
Eating late at night, or through the night if you’re working on a night shift, can cause your body clock to change and even lead to weight gain. You may find you have a nasty acid reflux feeling when you lay down and if you’re suffering with that when it comes to bedtime it could be a sign you need to eat earlier in the evening. While your body is programmed to eat a large meal before rest, make sure you eat at least two hours before lying down to sleep so your body has time to digest.
Is your bedroom needing an update? Some people paint their bedrooms garish colours or install fairy lights and other accessories which may look great but could be harming your sleep. A good bedroom design for sleep should be restful and peaceful. Make sure your bed is against a solid wall – not up against a window or door where drafts may get in.
Clear away piles of clothes, cluttered work surfaces and anything else which might add to a chaotic and overwhelming room. Your tabletops should be clear and the floor space around your bed should be easy to walk around. Good colours for bedrooms are pale and muted with a comforting vibe. Go for warm colours and neutrals to make your bedroom feel cozy and inviting. Think about finishing touches that bring you happiness and peace, a framed picture of your family or an image you took on a fantastic holiday will also help you feel calm and comforted when you are trying to get to sleep.
In this constantly demanding world, it can be hard to reserve a space specifically for sleeping but if you can do it then it will improve the length and overall quality of your sleep.
It can be tempting to use your bedroom for many things (watching TV, entertaining your little ones and even eating!) but keeping one room reserved just for sleep can actually help you get better rest. If you can associate that room with peace and tranquility instead of answering emails or watching TV, then your body will automatically start to shut off when you go in and close the door.
Too hot? Too cold? Or, just right? It’s not just Goldilocks that struggled to find the right sleeping environment, many of us don’t realise how much temperature affects the quality of our sleep. A temperature of between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit has been proven to aid sleep and many of us don’t have this set correctly.
If you go to check your thermostat right now, most of us would see it us set a few degrees higher than this and means it is not at the right level for sleep. If you do feel the cold, try to turn down your thermostat just before going to bed, say about 30 minutes before you would usually turn in, and then the temperature will cool down as you are winding down. If you’re too hot, stick your feet out of the covers as your body naturally uses your hands and feet to reduce heat. Too cold? Then putting on socks can help you feel cozy and warm.
This is a really helpful tip to help babies get to sleep. White noise can help to drown out other sudden noises or sounds that happen in the night and could disturb you. It does seem crazy to start making a noise on purpose when you’re trying to sleep but this method really works for some people.
If you are listening to white noise, it is just better noise than traffic, car horns or talking. Your hearing still works while you are sleeping which is why you get woken up by a banging door or a noisy car alarm. By using white noise, you are tuning your hearing into a consistent sound which means your brain is likely to ignore the other infrequent noises which it will consider “background” noise.
There are loads of great YouTube videos out there which play white noise for up to ten hours! So if you’re struggling to sleep, why not switch it on and give it a try?
We all love our dogs, cats and any other furry (or not so furry) pets in our home but when it comes to bedtime they really need to be banned. While they might be a lovely, cute ball of fluff to cuddle up to it could be leading to a disrupted night’s sleep. If you’ve ever watched your dog sleep, for example, you’ll see they take several naps throughout the day rather than the human way of sleeping all at once overnight.
This means in the night they may get up and down, head to the kitchen for a drink or a bite to eat and even bark at unusual sounds. Many dog trainers advocate keeping dogs off the bed as it helps them understand the pack hierarchy and know their place within the family.
As an aside, dogs can also bring in allergens on their fur such as pollen and other allergy-causing substances which could lead to breathing problems. Lastly, a big plus point is the avoidance of a slobbery wake up in the early hours of the morning when your pet thinks it’s time for breakfast!
We spend a third of our lives asleep and yet so many people skimp on mattresses and don’t see it as an important investment. If you compare it to the other places you may spend a lot of time, like your car, you see how much your mattress is overlooked. But a lumpy, old mattress could be making you wake up through the night or toss and turn as you try to get comfortable.
Even if you don’t wake fully, the lack of proper, deep sleep can make you feel groggy and tired the next morning. You may also find your mattress has become full of dust or allergens which can make it difficult to breathe properly or lead to sleep apnea. 20 million Americans are allergic to dust mites so if you’re not sleeping well then it might be time to clean or replace your mattress.
I know, I know, most people don’t have time for an afternoon nap but I’m sure at some point in your life you’ve found yourself getting 40 winks on a Sunday afternoon. For most people who nap regularly, it doesn’t affect their sleep at all as they’ve got into a routine over years. But for irregular nappers or people who try to “catch up” at weekends, this style of sleeping can cause more problems than you think. There is a really handy list of dos and don’ts which covers the best way to nap.
In short, keep them short (around 10 to 30 minutes maximum), take naps between 2pm and 3pm in the afternoon as it is less likely to interfere with your evening sleep and create a restful environment so the sleep you do get is good quality and will allow you to wake up feeling alert and refreshed.
Sure, these sheets might cost a little extra but as we mentioned above you’re going to be spending a lot of time asleep so you may as well invest a little. If you tend to get too hot when you’re sleeping, invest in a cooling material like Egyptian cotton or even buy some moisture wicking sheets to keep your sweat free.
As much as people don’t think about the mattress they are sleeping on, the type of blankets, duvet or sheets you use also doesn’t seem to be as important. But making sure you’ve got the right bedding can really help you get a proper night’s sleep. Invest in good quality bedding and sheets which feel soft and luxurious.
Always wash your new sheets before they go on your bed and do it thoroughly to remove any irritants or bits that may have gotten onto them during the manufacturing process. You should also check your detergent. If your bed linens are good quality but you’re getting itchy or irritated, it could be your washing powder. Switch it up or use a hypoallergenic version to see if that makes a difference to your sleep.
Yes we all love to go out on a Friday and forget about the time, but if you’re battling insomnia then the worst thing to do is get out of a regular routine. This is particularly important for children as their sleep patterns aren’t as well adjusted as most adults.
One of the top mistakes most parents make is getting a child into a regular bedtime during the week (say 7pm in bed Monday to Friday) but then come the weekend it goes out of the window and they’re allowed up hours later on Friday and Saturday. Is it any wonder then that come Sunday night they’re wide awake at bedtime? Keeping the same bedtime at the weekend may feel mean if the rest of the family is staying awake but in the long run it will benefit your little ones.
Do you find yourself laying in bed with all the jobs for tomorrow swirling around your head? It can be difficult to switch off when your brain is trying to remember a million jobs and tasks that you have to do the next day. Get into the habit of keeping a pen and paper next to the bed and use it to write down anything you have to do tomorrow.
That way, your brain knows that everything you have to remember is safely contained in the notepad and it can stop trying to remind you constantly. This is one of the tricks used by some of the most successful people in the world as not only does it aid sleep but it also helps you to be more productive and complete more tasks.
Many of us can lay awake thinking about what has happened that day. Maybe a meeting didn’t go as you’d planned or something upset you. By writing them down in a journal and coming up with a solution for these issues (even if it is just I will deal with it tomorrow) can help you consciously clear your mind and get ready for sleep.
Mindfulness and meditation can really help to tackle sleep problems. Clearing your mind is the key to getting a good night’s sleep and this works particularly well if you are feeling anxious. Meditation is also particularly helpful during pregnancy when many mums to be feel worried or unsure.
This not only helps to calm mum down but it can also be beneficial to the baby as they respond well to a calmer environment. Meditation can be done anywhere but if you are specifically trying to get to sleep, make sure the room is peaceful and you may want to play some soothing music to help you.
Taking a bath has been scientifically proven to help you sleep better. When you are in a warm bath, your skin temperature increases. But as you get out and get into bed, the rapid cooling of your skin as it hits the outside air tricks your body into thinking it is bedtime. The body naturally wants to cool down before sleep so by faking this by taking a hot bath you are increasing the likelihood that you will be able to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep.
Think about taking a bath around an hour before you want to go to bed. Aromatherapy oils or scented bath products that include lavender or verbena can also release chemicals that aid sleep.
There are many calming scents you can use to make your bedroom a cozy haven for sleep. Lavender is the most commonly used aromatherapy oil and one of many natural sleep tips to boost sleep but you can also use sandalwood, marjoram and many other oils to help you feel sleepy and rested. As well as using oil burners to spread the scent in your room, you can also apply them to your pulse points and also sprinkle a few drops on your pillow. This works particularly well in infants and children.
This sounds wrong but if you’re laying in bed stressing about sleep – get up! If you know you’re unlikely to drop off after waking up in the middle of the night then moving from your bed into a chair to read or relax somewhere for a while will help you to dissociate your bed from a stressful night of tossing and turning. It means you can take 10 or 15 minutes away from your bed and then return to try again for sleep.
Resist the temptation to switch on the TV or pick up your phone though, the light from these devices can actually make you feel more awake and stop you from getting back to sleep. Try to keep the lights low and read a book, listen to music or just have a glass of water. By removing yourself from the bed for a little while you can go back in without laying there getting too wound up about your inability to sleep.
This will not only help you sleep but having a preparation checklist to complete before sleep can totally change your life. Lay out tomorrow’s clothes, including shoes, jewellery and any accessories so it is all in the same place and easy to grab and get dressed. Prep your breakfast, lunch and think about defrosting something for dinner if you need to. Pack a bag of gym clothes, get everything you need for the next day in one bag in one place and then set your alarms. You’re good to go!
So if you’re struggling to get to sleep (and maybe even reading this in the middle of the night!) then hopefully these healthy sleep tips will give you the information you need to get back to sleep. Whether you need to revamp your bedroom, get prepared for the day ahead or just switch on some white noise there are plenty of things you can do to make sure you’re getting a better night’s sleep.
If you’ve found this article helpful, then please share it with your friends and if you’ve got any tips for better sleep add them in the comments below. I hope you’ve found this helpful and here’s to a better night’s sleep for everyone!