Sleep is one of my favorite things to do, so you can imagine my frustration when it just doesn’t come.
If that isn’t hard enough, realizing you can’t sleep and knowing you have to be up in 7…6…5… hours makes it a little bit harder. So what do you do?
- Listen to white-noise
White noise is different for everyone. For me, listening to the TV works great. For others, listening to music will knock them out right away. This doesn’t work for everyone, but it can be extremely useful for many people. Out of curiosity, I researched why white noise puts you to sleep. I found a really interesting article on popsci.com and here’s basically what they say about white noise: “[w]hite noise, if you’re using the technical definition, is a consistent noise that comes out evenly across all hearable frequencies. […] When a noise wakes you up in the night, it’s not the noise itself that wakes you up, per se, but the sudden change or inconsistencies in noise that jar you. White noise creates a masking effect, blocking out those sudden changes that frustrate light sleepers, or people trying to fall asleep.” Make sense? So here’s some suggestions of white noise and where you can find them:
- Rain Free on the App Store
Rain is one of those calming sounds that will always help me sleep. This app gives you ton of different rain-sound options and allows you to set a timer so you don’t have to listen all night
I made a playlist on my personal Spotify of white noise linked here. You can either pick your favorite sound and put it on repeat, make your own playlist, or listen to the playlist as a whole!
- Invest in a noise machine
These are awesome and they come in all types. I used to have one that was also a clock so it worked for multiple things. Here’s some I found on amazon but you can also find them at Target and Walmart and most baby supply stores.
- Rain Free on the App Store
- Hide your clock
Do yourself a favor and hide that flashing constant reminder of the time. Looking at your clock or watch when you can’t sleep will only add to your stress and frustration and prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep
- Turn on the air-conditioning or a fan
When you fall asleep, you body temperature drops slightly
“The secret is cool, dark, comfortable bedrooms,” says Meltzer. “Darkness cues the brain to make melatonin, which tells your interior clock that it’s time to sleep. Melatonin cools your internal body temperature, which reaches its lowest point between 2 and 4 a.m.” (Huffington Post)
- Take a warm shower or bath before bed
Taking a warm shower or bath will relax your muscles and make it easier for you to fall asleep. Bonus points if you add essential oils that promote sleep (i.e. lavender)
- Read a Book
This will make your eyes tired but is also a great solution if you don’t like to listen to the TV or music. Just make sure its not something that will keep you up at night (I’m looking at you Stephen King)
- Listen to a guided meditation
Before you totally reject the idea of meditation, hear me out. Meditation is great for your health and can put you to sleep in under 30 minutes. There are hundreds of guided meditations that can help with anxiety, stress, depression, insomnia… really anything you can think of. The key to this is really focusing on the meditation and what they are asking you to do. If you commit to following the guidance, you will fall asleep quickly and get some added health benefits
- “Sleep With Me” Podcast
I found this podcast on the app already downloaded to you iPhone. It claims to be a “podcast that puts you to sleep” and I can honestly say it works. He posts daily and each podcast is around 1 hour long. Basically, they are “adult bedtime stores” that bore you to sleep. The podcast has 5 stars with people swearing by this and I am one of them. I introduced this to my dad who can never sleep and now he falls asleep within 15-20 minutes. Give it a shot and see if it works for you!
- Drink decaffeinated tea
Try Chamomile, Yogi Bedtime Tea, Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Tea, Lavender Tea, or Peppermint Tea
- Make sure whatever you’re listening to doesn’t go on all night long!
Keeping noise on all night will overwork your brain and prevent you from having a full-night deep sleep.
- Stay away from caffeinated food and drinks at least 3-4 hours before you sleep
- Don’t Nap for Too Long
Napping is great. I love napping! I probably take one every day but there is a catch to taking a nap.
Power Nap: (ideally between 1-4PM) Lasts 10-30 but don’t exceed this! Any longer and you run the risk of waking up feeling groggy and worse than you did before you napped. Try not to sleep after 4PM, otherwise you might mess up your internal clock and it will be harder to fall asleep
Sleep Cycle: “While we’re asleep, the brain cycles through a pattern lasting about 90 to 120 minutes. These stages include non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM) (which is associated with dreaming). During NREM sleep we enter into slow-wave sleep, which is the deepest kind.”
So basically, you need to sleep in time intervals and this could get tricky. Sleep for 30 minutes and you’re good. Sleep for 40 minutes, you feel groggy. Sleep for 60 minutes, you’re fine. See the pattern? You need to nap in 30 minute intervals to avoid feeling worse and actually gaining something from them. Try setting a timer and eventually your body will learn when to wake up.
- Invest in Black-Out Curtains
These prevent light from coming into your room and waking you up. Its really important to stay asleep and not interrupt your sleep cycle so these are great if you have windows in your sleep-space.
- Go to bed at a decent time
Try to set a bedtime for yourself so your internal clock doesn’t get thrown off.
- Make a nightly routine
Hope this helps!