I’m heading back to Canada in a couple days which means I’ll officially be off vacation mode and can start tackling my 2016 healthy living resolutions. Initially, I wanted to start with getting fit again, but I decided to deal with my sleep problem first. My original goal was to just ‘get more sleep’ but I’ve since realised that my problem isn’t that I don’t get enough sleep. I actually get about 7 to 8 hours of sleep a day. My issue is that I have trouble falling asleep early enough to get quality sleep.
If I don’t get sleep during the hours of 10 pm and 8 am I’m pretty useless the next day, no matter how many hours of sleep I actually get. I do my best work in the morning but when I go to bed late, then wake up late it’s really hard to get the day going. I wake up groggy and grumpy and I have no desire to work out, cook healthy meals or be productive in any way. Not ideal. So today I wanted to share some of the things that have helped me with falling asleep earlier and getting the kind of sleep I actually need.
7 Tips for falling asleep earlier & getting a good night’s rest
1. Power down earlier
I always have intentions of falling asleep early, but as soon as I get into bed, I pull out my laptop or my phone. Officially it’s so that I can read a bit before bed, but let’s be real, I actually just check Instagram for hours on end. Then there are the backlights which definitely don’t help with falling asleep.
Bottom line? Using electronic devices before bed makes falling asleep a lot harder. The best thing you can do for yourself is to set a ‘lights off’ time at least an hour before you want to be asleep and give yourself time to actually get sleepy.
2. Avoid working out too late
Sometimes late night workouts can’t be avoided. If it’s the only time you can get your sweat on, that’s understandable. But it’s important to note that all the awesome endorphins that are produced during physical activity can keep you up for hours. At least, that’s what happens with me.
So if you can, try to push your workout back to at least 2 hours before you want to head to bed. That should be enough time to get down from your gym high and still fall asleep at a reasonable hour.
3. Avoid eating too much too late
I’m not saying to go to bed starving cuz that would probably keep you up as well. But going to bed with a stomach that’s stuffed to the brim can be pretty uncomfortable. Instead, have a light snack about 30 to 60 minutes before you plan to go to bed. That way you’ll satisfy your hunger but you won’t be up all night trying to find relief from an overfull stomach.
4. Avoid late afternoon naps
This one is going to be the hardest for me to do. I love naps and my prime nap time is anytime between 3 pm and 7 pm. But napping that late makes it impossible to fall asleep when my bedtime rolls around. So my plan it to try to avoid my naps altogether, or shift them to an earlier time. Fingers crossed I can actually stick with this one.
5. Meditate or do light yoga at night
I used to try to do yoga as soon as I woke up but it just put me right back to sleep. Which is why I think it would be a perfect way to get sleepy before bed. But since intense physical activity can keep you up, I try to stick to low impact yoga.
I usually focus on stretching or breathing and just working through a couple flows. Nothing too strenuous, but it works like a charm. And I don’t have much experience with it, but I’ve heard that meditation is another great way to quiet your mind before bed.
On the topic of quieting the mind before bed, not being able to shut my brain off is one of the biggest reasons I have trouble falling asleep at night. My brain just keeps going and going, thinking of the day I just had and all the things I have to do during the day to come. If you have a similar problem, one way I’ve found to clear my mind is to write everything down.
Sometimes I just journal and jot down different things from my day or what’s worrying me. Other times I make a to-do list for the next day so my brain doesn’t have to keep going in an effort to remember my tasks. It really just depends on what’s troubling me that night.
7. Cut out caffeine in the afternoon/evening
This one is a no-brainer, but it’s one I always need to remind myself of. When the 3 pm slump hits, my first instinct is to reach for coffee or some other caffeinated beverage. It’s relatively good in the short term since it keeps me awake and able to get work done. But when bedtime hits and I’m tossing and turning because I can’t fall asleep, I always regret it.
From now on I’m going to try getting my afternoon pick me up from healthy snacks or juices. Again, fingers crossed I can remember to stick with this one.
What about you?
- Do you get enough sleep? Or do you also have issues falling asleep early enough?
- What tips do you have for falling asleep earlier?
Share in the comments below!