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“The night is the hardest time to be alive and 4am knows all my secrets.”
Struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep at night? If your answer is yes, you should know that you’re not the only one! With the COVID-19 outbreak now a pandemic, I’ve been suffering from sleep problems. There were nights when I was lying in bed trying to fall asleep at night but it didn’t happen. You cannot even imagine how many sleepless nights I had in the last 3 months. My insomnia almost drove me crazy. Everything changed when I adopted 10 simple habits that drastically improved the quality of my sleep. If you’re interested in improving your sleep, here are my 10 things you can do right now to get quality sleep tonight! So without further ado, let’s dive in!
1. Caffeine In The Afternoon Is A Big No-No
For most people, that one’s pretty self-explanatory. But if you are a self-proclaimed coffee lover and serious coffee drinker this tip may not be that obvious. At least it wasn’t obvious to me. I used to drink between three and four cups of coffee every single day. Now, there wouldn’t have been anything wrong with that if I didn’t have my last cup of coffee of the day in the evening. Can you imagine that for many years I had no idea that caffeine not only affects your sleep quality but can even cause insomnia? But hey, before you judge me, I just wanted to add that coffee is not the only source of caffeine. There are many different products that contain caffeine as well. For instance, tea, chocolate, cocoa, energy drinks, headache and migraine remedies, PMS medications or even breath fresheners contain a significant amount of caffeine that can cause sleeplessness. And yes, decaffeinated coffee also contains caffeine so don’t be fooled by the name. So if you have trouble sleeping on a regular basis make sure it is not caused by your excessive caffeine consumption. And don’t forget that caffeine stays in your system for hours, that’s why in the second half of the day you should stick to caffeine-free options like water or fruit juice.
2. Connect With Nature
Fill your bedroom with plants that improve your sleep. Don’t over complicate things just keep it simple. Don’t turn your bedroom into a jungle unless it’s exactly what you going for. I was thinking more about turning your house into a plant-filled paradise. And your bedroom is not an exception here. Don’t overanalyze it. Choose some easy-care houseplants for your bedroom and create a calming atmosphere for your sleep sanctuary.
Looking for some inspiration? I myself choose for my bedroom some powerful air-purifying plants like Aloe Vera, Peace Lily, Bamboo Palm, Weeping Fig, Cast iron plant and of Boston Fern. A little too much? I wouldn’t say that. Whatever works 🙂 Besides, connecting with nature on a daily basis is my idea of perfect relaxation.
3. Get Active
According to the Mayo Clinic, keeping a regular exercise routine is one of the most effective strategies to cope with insomnia and stay asleep at night. Not to mention that working out is one of the best ways to get rid of all the accumulated negativity that occupies our minds, bodies, and spirits. Did you know that even a simple 15 min workout can help to clear your mind, relieve stress and set a positive mindset for the rest of the day? Yeah, it’s true! It happens because physical activity stimulates the release of so-called happy hormones: dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. And we know that these chemicals are directly responsible for our mood. So instead of making countless excuses for not working out, think about how good (and sleepy) you will feel afterwards. So get your but off the couch and do even a 15-minute light workout!
4. Set Yourself Up For Successful Tomorrow
A successful day starts the night before. That’s why if you want to maximize your productivity and enhance your well-being outside your work you should dedicate some time to plan methodically, organize properly and schedule effectively your day in advance. Trust me an effective plan will give you this mental clarity, peace of mind and self-confidence that you need to achieve your professional and personal goals within a specific timeframe or even earlier. I used to make my to-do list early in the morning when my brain was literally half asleep. As you can probably imagine I’ve been wasting my most productive time of the day on organizing my work instead of actually doing it. That’s crazy, right? I was not only less productive during the day but also too stressed to fall asleep at night. Everything changed when I adopted the planning ahead habit. Now, I dedicate some time in the evening to plan, schedule and organize my day properly. I use Google Calendar as my powerful to-do list and time-blocking tool and I suggest you do the same. Honestly, Google Calendar is the best and it’s completely free! So if you want to double your productivity during the day and turn off a racing mind before going to bed you should plan your work tasks, powerful breaks and free-time activities the night before.
5. Clear Mental Clutter
Let me guess, your body wants to sleep but your mind is still awake? Well, I know exactly how you feel. Reducing racing thoughts before falling asleep seemed to be mission impossible until I discovered journaling. This simple activity of writing down my thoughts and feelings shortly before going to bed improved my sleep quality tremendously. Honestly, I cannot think of something more beneficial to your health (and sleep) and at the same time so extremely easy as journaling. It’s a life-changer. Once you start putting your thoughts into writing you will never want to stop! But don’t take my word for it. Start journaling habit today and how effective this self-help tool really is.
Best Sleep & Relaxation Apps Of 2020
- Headspace Meditations, Mindfulness & Sleep (Android / iOS)
- Calm Meditation and Sleep Stories (Android / iOS)
- Aura: Sleep & Mindfulness (Android / iOS)
- 10% Happier: Meditation & Sleep (Android / iOS)
- The Mindfulness App: relax, calm, focus and sleep
(Android / iOS)
- Insight Timer – Meditation for Sleep & Anxiety (Android / iOS)
- Smiling Mind Meditation for all ages (iOS / Android)
6. Reading BUT Only Physical Book
Scientific research has proven that the blue light from electronic devices suppresses the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Yet most people spend the last 2 hours before bed binge-watching TV or passively scrolling through social media without even realizing how those seemingly harmless activities affect their health. Not to mention that screen tricks our brains into thinking it’s daytime, which makes relaxing and preparing for sleep much more difficult. So if watching Netflix or checking social media it’s what you’ve been doing shortly before you go to sleep it’s time to break this bad habit and replace it with a new, positive one. And what’s better than reading a book before bed? According to the National Sleep Foundation, a relaxing activity such as reading can help you quiet your mind and make you feel peaceful and calm after a long day of work. So create your booklist and make reading before bed your evening relaxing ritual! But remember to choose a physical book or audiobook to avoid your exposure to blue light at night.
7. Treat Yourself With Delicious Light Meals
I don’t know one single person that wouldn’t have their favourite guilty-pleasure food dedicated for sleepless nights. Those who are more self-disciplined hide their treats in strategic places so that they have better control over sugar consumption. Others, like me (gluttonous little gluttons), cannot have unhealthy treats and snacks at their homes… That’s why I keep in my pantry healthy versions of my comfort foods ready to grab on days (or evenings) when I need this delicious dopamine spike. And I highly recommend you do the same. Make a healthy grocery shopping and stock your fridge, cupboards, and pantry with healthy options of your favourite comfort foods so that you can binge on delicious snacks without feeling sick afterwards.
Healthy Evening Snacks
Foods to eat before bed for a good night’s sleep:
- Activated Almonds
- Apples with Peanut butter
- Sweet potatoes
- Fatty fish
- Protein shake
- Greek yogurt
- Cottage Cheese
- High-Fiber Cereal or Oatmeal
Bedtime drinks for better sleep:
- Decaffeinated Green Tea
- Chamomile tea
- Matcha tea
- Bedtime latte
- Pure Coconut water
- Bedtime Golden Milk Latte
- Kefir (a probiotic-rich drink made from fermented milk increases healthy gut bacteria)
- Banana Shake
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Honey & Ginger Warm Lemon Water/Hot Honey Ginger Lime Tea (anti-inflammatory, improves digestion, detoxifies)
8. Maximize Your Sleep Environment
Another great tip to improve your sleep quality is to make your bedroom sleep-friendly. Since I’ve maximized my bedroom to create an ideal sleep sanctuary the quality of my sleep has drastically improved. And let me tell you something, it didn’t cost a fortune. I got some air-purifying plants, a Himalayan salt lamp and some comfy pillows! To be more precise, I followed 7 rules for creating a sleep sanctuary. Here are those rules:
- Make it COMFY – get a natural, organic and comfortable mattress
- Make if FRESH – get air-purifying plants
- Keep it CLEAN – well, this one is self-explanatory 🙂
- Keep it COOL – mild drop in body temperature help induces sleep
- Keep it SIMPLE – clutter causes stress and triggers anxiety
- Keep it DARK – light suppresses sleep hormone – melatonin
- Keep it PEACEFUL – stick with soothing and neutral colours
Make Going To Sleep A Wonderful Sensorial Experience
Touch – Let’s turn your bedroom in a comfy, sleep cave. Invest in comfortable, memory – foam mattress, comfy pillows, and some cooling bedsheets!
Sight – Create a bedroom space that will reflect your personality and style. Opt for neutral colors, embrace minimalism, put up photos, add wallpaper, put some scented candles on the nightstand. Use your imagination, creativity and turn yourself into an interior expert!
Sound – before going to sleep do a guided meditation for sleep, listen to some relaxing music or podcast just get in the mood…
Smell – The power of scent is incredible and often undervalued. The scent has a great impact on our mood and behavior. We fall in love easily in the scent that we like. And because of the close link between the sense of smell and memory, even one thought about the scent we love can trigger beautiful memories. So why don’t we make the best of it? Use your favorite essential oils and scented candles and make your bedroom a fragrant sanctuary. Personally, I think, that the best scents for relaxation and sleep are Lavender, Jasmine, Rose, Sandalwood or Chamomile. The choice is yours!
Taste – This may seem strange but I like to have a bottle of fresh infused water next to my bed. One sip of tasty strawberry, lavender, mint or blackberry water relaxes me. Mark me now, thank me later.
9. Take A Relaxing Bath Or Shower
According to Healthline, taking a hot bath one to two hours before going to bed is one of the most effective strategies to fall asleep faster. If you ask me, I believe that there are very few things in this world as enjoyable, relaxing and satisfying as a soothing bubble bath. Being completely honest with you, I feel relaxed just thinking about it. But hey, no more talking about it! It’s time to turn your bathroom into a personal home spa and create this “feel good” experience in the privacy of your own home. So use your creative potential and set the scene. Create your private spa and wash your tensions and anxieties away in the privacy of your home. Trust me relaxing essential oils, soft and relaxing music, scented soap and fluffy towel can work miracles! And if you look for a faster, easier and definitely less costly alternative to a hot bubble bath I highly recommend putting Epsom salt in a foot bath… it’s a very relaxing, quite fun and extremely satisfying experience!
Stuck At Home? Check This Survival Bundle!
10. Listen To Relaxing Music
I was struggling to fall asleep and stay asleep lately because of stress and anxiety related to total lockdown. There were days when I was lying in bed awake all night. I am not even kidding. That was real torture. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I was so desperate to fall asleep that I’ve tried almost every single natural remedy I have found on the internet. And being completely honest with you, listening to deep relaxation sleep music is by far the most effective.
Best Youtube Channels With Mindfulness Music
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Get quality sleep on a regular basis