1. Create a sleep routine
If you go to sleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning, your body will come to know what to expect. This includes weekends, too! If you’re struggling to adapt your schedule, try shifting it in 5-10 minute increments to gently change your habits. The more regular your sleep is, the more likely you won’t have issues.
2. Think about sleep health during the day.
This means checking in with your body. Consider adding in a little more exercise if necessary to tire you out by bedtime. Also pay attention to what you’re putting in your body. If you are sensitive to caffeine, limit that in the afternoon and evening. Alcohol also decreases quality of sleep so consider cutting back on that as well for some high quality Zzzz’s.
3. Make your bedroom comfortable.
The temperature of the room should be colder than might be normal (Scientists recommend 67 degrees F). If you body is too hot, it will make it difficult to fall asleep. The bedroom should also be dark and quiet. That seems like common sense, but if there is a loud neighbor keeping you up at all hours of the night, get some earplugs. Don’t just hope it will go away. You can also hide or temporarily cover any lights that might exist in the room, like a too-bright alarm clock or a laptop that’s charging.
4. Use relaxing scents to signal your brain it’s time to wind down.
Candles or essential oils are best used for this purpose. I love spritzing a little bit of lavender spray on my pillow if I’m having trouble sleeping. Others swear by Chamomile or Rose. Try a few options out until you find what works for you.
5. You guessed it – try some yoga.
Here are some poses that are great for relaxing: Standing Forward Bend, Reclined Supta Baddha Konasana, Supported Supine Twist, Legs Up the Wall, Savasana. The more pillows and blankets and restorative poses you incorporate the more relaxed and supported you’ll feel.
Take a few moments to notice your thoughts, and then let them go. They flow in and out of your brain like ocean waves. After committing to the practice for a period of time, you will start to notice that it will lead to increased sense of calm and relaxation.
Bonus Tip: If you can’t fall asleep, get up and do something else for a few minutes. That will eliminate the dreaded pre-dawn thought cycle - when you’ve been tossing and turning since 2 am and it’s now 5 am and you could have done something productive with those 3 hours and you wasted so much time and today will be a bad day because you haven’t gotten your sleep and it’s the worst and now there’s no way you’re ever going back to sleep this morning. Get out of bed and do something else to tire your brain out before trying to fall asleep again.