Facebook icon Twitter icon Email icon

Ovia Health Blog

5 small changes that can help you sleep better than ever

June 27, 2019

No one likes waking up tired, moving through the day sluggish, or taking forever to fall asleep. If this happens to describe you, you may want to rethink your bedtime habits. Many of us don’t get the sleep we need - or don’t have healthy bedtime habits in place that can make that sleep possible. Fortunately, there are quite a few changes - many of them things that may actually be relatively easy to incorporate into your life - you can make that may just help you get the sleep you need, whether that means falling asleep more easily, sleeping better during the night, or waking up feeling better. 

  • Wind down: In the same way that little ones benefit from having an established bedtime routine, having a routine of your own that helps tell your mind and body, “Hey, it’s time for sleep!” can be a great way to ease into slumber. Whether it’s sipping a warm cup of tea while reading a book, taking a hot bath or shower, or playing a favorite song while brushing your teeth and washing your face, these little rituals can help guide you toward dreamland.

  • Keep wake and sleep times regular: Sometimes life can get in the way of this (and if you have little ones, sometimes they can get in the way of this), but if you can make a habit of waking up and going to bed at the same time every day - and this includes keeping these times regular on the weekend and avoiding late naps that might throw off your bedtime - your body may be able to get back into a healthier sleep rhythm.

  • Shut off screens: Who isn't guilty of staring at a screen before bed? (You’re reading this on a screen right now!) But it’s no secret that screen time before bedtime is a big no-no. The type of short-wavelength blue light that screens emit, and the way these devices keep you mentally engaged can keep your brain active when you should be winding down. Even if it’s a hard habit to break, switching your phone into a setting that shuts off blue light in the evening or shutting it off before climbing into bed - or maybe even keeping it out of the bedroom entirely - as part of your bedtime routine can be smart choices that promote better and healthier sleep.

  • Limit caffeine, alcohol, and big meals before bed: Often tempting, for sure, but all of these things can keep you awake when you should be snoozing.

  • Establish bedroom boundaries: Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex. If you establish that you won’t, for example, work on your laptop or watch TV in bed, it will help your body know that when you hit the sheets, it’s time for either sleep or sex, but not to toss or turn or check your Twitter feed.

Life may not always allow you to do all of these things all of the time, but if you can incorporate even some of these habits into your evenings, you might have that much better a bedtime - and get that much better sleep. Even if you’ve never been a morning person, you could be greeting the day with delight before you know it. 

 

Sources

 

  • Mayo Clinic Staff. "Insomnia." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, October 15 2016. Retrieved June 11 2018. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355167.
  • “Blue light has a dark side.” Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard University, December 30 2017. Retrieved June 11 2018. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side.
  • “How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?” National Sleep Foundation. National Sleep Foundation. Retrieved February 11 2019. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/excessive-sleepiness/support/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need
  • “Twelve Simple Tips to Improve Your Sleep.” Healthy Sleep. Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, December 18 2007. Retrieved February 11 2019. http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/getting/overcoming/tips.