Sometimes getting to sleep can be a major challenge, whether because your mind is focused on work or your body’s simply not tired. But those nights of tossing and turning can result in poor performance, bad moods, weight gain and exhaustion. If you’re having difficulties getting to sleep, the good news is there are a number of things you can add to your routine to help you catch some zzz's.
Even if your body doesn’t feel tired, there are certain actions you can take to help switch it into night mode. One place to start is by shutting off your smartphone and any other tech that could serve as distractions. You can also try adding reading, coloring in a coloring book and stretching to your bedtime routine to help you sleep.
Here are 10 ways to make your night routine so boring you’ll sleep like a baby.
Turn off your phone
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Technology, especially smartphones, are major distractions. While they’ve improved our ability to communicate and connect, they do come with downsides. Not only do people wake up and check them throughout the night, but studies show that the screens themselves can have negative effects. The blue and white light of screens prevents a person’s brain from releasing melatonin, a hormone that induces sleep. Thus, turning off your devices all together will not only help you disconnect socially but also improve your brain’s ability to put your body into sleep mode.
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Stress can be incredibly disruptive to sleep. Recent research finds that reading before bed helps to significantly reduce stress, resulting in better sleep. In fact, reading reduces stress by a whopping 68 percent, on average, according to a study, and it typically only takes six minutes to start calming a person’s nerves. Overall, researchers discovered that 39 percent of people who read before bed sleep very well.
Listen to “pink noise”
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Sure, classical music or ocean sounds might be helpful in luring you to sleep, however recent research suggests that “pink noise” may work even better. Essentially the “cousin of white noise,” pink noise features a balance of high and low frequencies that are more natural and smooth than those of white noise. During a recent study, researchers observed and compared people who listened to pink noise before bed and people who didn’t, and discovered those who did not only slept better but performed better on memory-based tasks the next day too.
For a good night’s sleep, avoid turning up the heat in your home and instead, turn it off. At least that’s what research suggests. Naturally, our bodies’ temperatures rise and fall throughout the day, however they reach their lowest thermal points during the night in order to help our bodies cool off and reset. Therefore, to help your body reach these lower temperatures faster and encourage a deeper sleep, create the right environment, starting with the thermostat. For optimal sleep, a bedroom should be between 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
Take a shower an hour and a half before bed
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If you typically take a shower in the morning, you might want to try switching around your schedule. While research has long suggested that a nice warm bath can help induce sleep, it was recently discovered that a warm shower can have the same effect. A 20-minute shower an hour and a half before you hit the hay will help to warm you up and make you tired, but also give your body enough time to cool off afterward and fall asleep.
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A simple thing to do to get better sleep is putting on a pair of socks. According to the National Sleep Foundation, wearing socks helps indicate to our bodies that it’s time for bed, ultimately helping put our minds into sleep mode. Sleeping in socks also helps to keep a person’s feet warm throughout the night, which can often be a major cause of sleep disruption.
Use lavender aromatherapy
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Aromatherapy is known to have several effects on a person’s mood and sleeping patterns. More specifically, research suggests that the scent of lavender helps relieve a person’s stress and improve sleep quality. One study found that it not only helped improve the sleep of patients with insomnia, but in general, the sleep of perfectly healthy people too.
It can be hard to get to bed when you’re rummaging through tomorrow’s to-do's in your head. Often, these thoughts can cause stress and get you tossing and turning throughout the night. To help you sleep better, recent research finds that taking five minutes to write down your responsibilities and to-do's can help. According to a recent study, “offloading” your responsibilities by writing them down helps to significantly reduce stress and fall asleep quicker.
Color in a coloring book
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To help get you into bed, revisit your childhood and try coloring in a coloring book. Coloring has been found to help adults detach from a day's stresses and get their minds focused on something easy, ultimately putting them in a meditative and relaxed state. An earlier study found that monotonous coloring of a complex geometric pattern reduces anxiety and induces sleepiness. Publishers have created adult coloring books catered to sleep and relaxation, including Color Me to Sleep and Color Me Calm.
Do some light stretching and yoga
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Yoga is known to help people relax, destress and practice mindfulness, especially before bed. The good news is you don't necessarily need to be in a yoga studio to practice. A simple five minutes of stretches before bed can help get you a better night's sleep. According to an article published in Harvard Health, "yoga is a gentle and restorative way to wind down your day." Some 55 percent of people who practice yoga say their sleep is improved and 85 percent say they are less stressed.
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