So I am a chronic insomniac. I have been since I was five or six years old. This means I have some serious experience with sleep deprivation, sleep issues, and things I have done to try and alleviate my symptoms a bit. Now, I’m not a doctor, but these are just things that have helped me a bit and that I hope help you too! This won’t cure insomnia or people who don’t sleep well – there will always be the nights where I can’t get to sleep to save my life – but these have helped me sleep better and more often.
1. Develop Habits – This has helped me a lot! I have a very hectic school schedule with unpredicatble amounts of homework and other things I have to get done, so having a set bed time isn’t really an option. But I have found that my skin care routine helps a lot. This may sound dumb, but every night I use the same products in the same order. I don’t do any of that untila few minutes before I am ready to lay down so that it is like a signal to my body that it is time to wind down. But I also try to get up at the same time every day. I get up at 6:30 on week days and no later than 9:30 on weekends.
2. Read – As an avid reader, I know how entertaining books can be (I’ve pulled tons of all-nighters to finish a book or two), that is why I recommend reading something that you know won’t interest you. That sounds odd, I’m sure, but have you ever been assigned a book for school that just put you to sleep? Grab that chemistry textbook or that horrid English novel and read a few pages of it.
3. Take Melatonin – This is a sleep supplement that I find helps me sleep better and longer, and often makes me more tired. I take it an hour or two before I want to be asleep to give it time to work.
4. Keep Your Room Dark – I am talking as dark as you can make it. This stops the brain from being stimulated. That means turn off the television and the laptop and put down your phone.
5. Listen to White Noise – I find the sound of rain (and sometimes waves) to be particurally soothing. The soft sounds often help me sleep and you can set a timer on it so that it shuts off after an hour (or however long) to allow your mind to go into a deeper sleep state.
6. Set the Thermostat – I know that I cannot sleep in a warm room. It isn’t bloody happening. For me to sleep, I have to have my thermostat at 70˚F or lower and my fan on full blast. Know what temperature you sleep best at and set your thermostat to that every night. You’d be surprised at the difference it makes.
7. Sleep in Something Comfortable – I know that when my pajamas are uncomfortable, hot, restiricitve, scratchy, etc. I don’t sleep nearly as well. I literally sleep in giant t-shirts and boxers because that is what is the most comfortable. Throw your over-priced Victoria’s Secret nightie to the back of the closet unless it is comfortable and opt for something more comfortable.
8. Hot Tea – I find that caffeine-free tea is a great way to wind down before bed. I also recommend not drinking caffeine after four or five in the afternoon.
9. Exercise – Sometimes, tiring yourself out is a good way to get to sleep. Exercise several hours before going to bed, even if it just means going on a twenty-minute walk!
10. Hot Showers – I have found that the warm water often helps lull me sleep. I usually shower at night and then just rinse off in the morning. Try using products with soothing, calming scents like lavender to help you relax and wind down. Put on a hair mask and read for a little while, scrub your legs, wear a zombie-like face mask for a bit. Just try to wind down and make showering a sleep-inducing experience.
I hope that some of the tips I have picked up from experience help you all get some better sleep!