I’ve always been a great sleeper—seriously since I was a baby, sleeping’s been my jam. So when my kiddo wouldn’t sleep—4 years in he’s still not great at it—I was shocked.
Did you know that sleeping is a skill?! It’s not something that everyone just innately knows how to do. You have to learn and practice it.
I seriously had NO IDEA!!!
It’s estimated that 50-70 million Americans are affected by sleep struggles, if you’re one of them—or if you’d just love to catch a better night sleep, these 5 steps might help you to get some much needed good quality zzzzzzz’s.
1. Aim for an earlier bedtime. A great way to figure this out is to simply go to bed 8 hours before you need to wake up. If your ideal wake up time is 6am, your ideal bedtime is 10pm. Keep it simple. You’ll know you’ve got this right when you wake up feeling rested.
There is some research out there that suggests between 10pm-2am is the most restorative sleep time, so if you can make that work for you—great. But ultimately what’s important is that you’re sleeping enough hours that your body can move through the different sleep cycles—hitting both REM and deep sleep—this is typically 7-8 hours of sleep.
2. Turn off tech at least 1 hour before bedtime. If you’re someone who likes to lay in bed and scroll through social or watch the news before you fall asleep, now’s the time to try something different.
Not only does the light impact your production of melatonin (the sleep hormone) making it harder to fall and stay asleep, but the content activates your brain—the exact opposite of what you want to happen. It’d be like going for a run and then instantly hopping into bed wondering why you can’t fall asleep.
The other thing to keep in mind is that what you’re seeing is going to be running through your mind as you drift off to sleep. Anxiety producing news and frustrating social posts don’t exactly set the stage for a restful nights sleep.
3. Get cozy. A dark, cool room is ideal—think 60-67 degrees. You want to walk into your bedroom and feel instantly relaxed. Nothing to do here and nothing to worry about—just rest, restore and sleep.
Think about how you can create this experience, look around your space—does it feel comfortable? How’s your mattress? Your pillows? Your sheets? Is it dark enough? What about what’s on your nightstand? And how comfy are those pjs? Look for the simplest of changes that you can make to create a truly relaxing space.
Simple swaps like replacing your pillows and decluttering your dresser can make a world of difference. Diffusing lavender, fixing your broken closet door, getting new blinds, painting the walls—consider every possible opportunity to create a cozier space.
You want everything from your pj’s to your wall color to whisper sleepy sweet dreams to you so that you can catch those much needed z’s!
4. Meditation, prayer and gratitude. End your day on a positive note. Reflect back on what worked from the day and what you’re grateful for—think of specific examples from that day. You can write these into a gratitude journal or incorporate them into prayer.
Meditation is also a great way to reset and settle before you go to sleep. It can be hard to find even 10 minutes in a busy day to meditate, so try it as you lay in bed. You might fall asleep, but honestly I can’t think of a better way to drift off at bedtime.
Here’s what I meditate too before bed, my hubby and kiddo enjoy it too!
There are also a ton of free meditations on YouTube AND kids YouTube that you might want to check out.
5. Create a routine. Consistency is key. This one I’ve learned with my kiddo. While he continues to wake up in the middle of the night, it’s much easier now to get him to bed when we follow the routine.
Here’s what that looks like, and honestly our adult version isn’t all that different—just swatch Ozark for Family matters, and push the timing back a little.
- Dinner and then play.
- Bath or shower.
- PJ’s and brush teeth.
- 30 minutes of tv —currently he’s loving Urkel.
- Read 3 books
- Tuck in & kisses by 7:30/8:00
Sleep is vital for your overall health and happiness so it’s an important skill to develop. And just like any other skill, the best way to get good at it is to practice, practice, practice —and make adjustments along the way—until you find what works best for you.
To sweet dreams and great sleep!
P.S. Do you have a sleep hack you swear by? I’d love to know, share it in the comments!