8 Surprising Ways to Get More
(and Better!) Sleep

July 16 | Yoga Teacher Training |

by

Wanting to get more sleep is something that just about everyone under the sun can relate to. With long days at work, a mountain or responsibilities, and a steady stream of things to worry about in our newsfeeds, it’s a wonder any of us sleep at all.

If you’ve been struggling to feel well-rested, here are eight ways you can get more (and better) sleep.

1. GO TO BED EARLIER. 

This may not seem surprising but statistically speaking, you needed to hear it. Research shows that the average American doesn’t get enough sleep and goes to bed between 10pm and midnight. This paints a clear picture of a population that is staying up too late and waking up too early. 

A great way to do this is to set reminders on your phone that tell you when you need to start wrapping up what you’re doing, not when you need to go to bed. You don’t want to be looking at the notification when you should already be asleep, you want to see it, wind down, and hit the hay earlier.

2. BUILD A BEDTIME ROUTINE. 

A great way to get yourself to do anything is to build a routine around it. If you want to talk consistency, having a routine is the single best way you can ensure a behavior becomes a habit. You can even build this around your new reminder system. 

When you get the reminder that it’s time for bed, start winding down in the same way each night. Check your home for any items that are left out of place, take a shower if you do that before bed, make yourself a cup of tea or another warm beverage, switch all of the lights off and get in bed.

Your routine can look as different as you want it to, as long as it’s consistent and involves going to sleep.

3. LIMIT BLUE LIGHT AT NIGHT.

Once people started to realize that the blue light from digital displays like phone screens was messing with their health, the internet exploded with blue light blocking glasses and different opinions on what blue light really does.

Harvard School of Medicine reports that blue light doesn’t cause digital eye strain, as many people have said, but can have a significant impact on your sleep. 

Your brain interprets blue light as light filtering in through the atmosphere (the blue daytime sky) and begins to produce and distribute neurotransmitters that signal you to feel more awake. If you’re trying to go to sleep, this is the last thing you want. Try limiting the use of devices several hours before bed time, or make use of blue-light blocking glasses or software.

4. GOT TO BED AT THE SAME TIME EVERY NIGHT. 

Now that you’ve developed a healthy sleep routine, you need to stick to it. Research has shown that sleeping at the same time each night is just as important as getting more hours of sleep.

Sleeping at the same time each night helps your brain regulate its recovery tactics, allowing it to better restore your body to its healthy state. This consistency is key, as your body needs to set its internal clock, which will take at least three days.

5. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT MATTRESS.

Once you’ve conquered the mental challenges of getting yourself into bed, the last thing you need is a lumpy old mattress keeping you awake. There are a lot of different types of beds floating around these days, so you really want to make sure you are getting the kind of material you prefer, like gel or memory foam.

Getting a new set of comfortable sheets and mattresses that fits you is a great way to rejuvenate your bedroom and will create mental incentive for you to get in bed earlier. 

6. AVOID ALCOHOL, ESPECIALLY AT NIGHT. 

Today’s drinking culture is pretty dominant in many of our lives, but drinking at night has actually been linked to a disturbance in melatonin production, the hormone that helps you feel sleepy. The conventional wisdom of drinking a nightcap is actually very counterproductive, though a nice warm beverage, such as non-caffeinated tea or milk can be a great choice if you’re thirsty.

7. TURN DOWN YOUR THERMOSTAT. 

Lowering your bedroom temperature at night can actually help you fall asleep, as the body’s natural temperature drops each night when we are at rest. Simulating that cooler environment, as well as limiting sources of light, will help create a better setting for rest and restoration.

8. PREPARE YOUR BODY TO UNWIND.
One of the 6 million reasons we love yoga is the effect on the body AND mind. Doing a few gentles stretches (like cat/cow or down dog) can help the body relax with more ease. Or, better yet, spend 5-10 minutes doing a restorative pose like “legs up the wall” pose. This has been shown to help with insomnia, and shift practitioners out of the Sympathetic Nervous System (responsible for fight or flight response) and into the Parasympathetic Nervous System (which is helps you rest & digest).

CONCLUSION. 
If you’re still worrying about your sleep habits, have hope. There are a lot of different ways that you can improve your sleep and none of them are very difficult. Follow the steps in this guide and monitor your sleep each night, even if it’s as simple as noting when you get in bed and when you get up, and you should feel more well-rested in no time.