Thanks to Matthew Walker and Chris Winter, we see sleep in a new light. I remember during my college time that everyone thinks that sleep is for the weak. Turns out, that’s wrong. Sleep is the most important phase of our life cycle, where we restore our body clock and our circadian rhythm. That’s why it’s important to prioritize our sleep.
We need to sleep better at night. Even if you’re a heavy sleeper, I think everyone can benefit from a “sleep-care”. You might not realize that you were awake last night due to loud noise or a certain movement, but you didn’t remember it. Any wake time disturbs our sleep cycle and interferes with our health.
If you’re a light sleeper like me, you might experience sleeping trouble at night. A slight crack or a flashing light might startle you awake at night. I’ve read countless articles that said some people are inherently light sleepers and some people are heavy sleepers. Some said that the light sleeper trait comes from a genetic issue. That makes me think, is that every light sleeper doomed to sleep deprivation?
Turns out, that’s not the case! We can sleep heavily like a pig every night. In order to have that, we need to prioritize self-care for our sleep. In the list below, you will find the mandatory condition to sleep better at night and the additional condition that will improve your sleep. A light sleeper myself, now I can sleep soundly at night! By the time I write this article in May 2021, I managed to have a good night’s sleep for 7 to 9 hours per day for more than 2 years.
Let’s find out the 27 self-care ideas to sleep better at night.
Mandatory self-care routine to sleep better at night
When it comes to sleep, some self-care is mandatory and some are additional. No need to be intimated by the list below; most of these self-care ideas are easy to apply where you can do that unconsciously. Here are 10 mandatory conditions to sleep better at night.
1. Make your room very dark.
Turn off any lamps and any led from your devices. Close the window, the curtains, and the door.
2. Turn off all electronic sounds.
Turn off your television. If you don’t watch television anymore, turn off the speakers of your phone and digital devices.
3. Stop drinking caffeine after 12 pm.
Any caffeine whether it comes from coffee or tea will disrupt our sleep pattern, so avoid it whenever you can.
4. Avoid eating 3 to 4 hours before bed.
This is especially helpful if you have a gut problem because sleeping right after we eat will induce acid reflux.
5. Make your room slightly cold.
Turn on your air conditioner or fan if you have any. If not, change your blanket to a thinner one.
6. Wind down 1 hour before bed at the minimum.
Stop doing anything stimulating like scrolling social media, watching action movies, reading an interesting book, listening to a podcast, reading devastating news, or anything that will turn on your attention. Everything interesting can wait until the next day. Most important, stop working!
To help you wind down better, you can try several evening self-care ideas after you finish work or study.
7. Relax your thought
What makes me trouble sleeping at most because I often overthink and worry at night. While it’s not easy to ease our overthinking habits, know that any thought can wait until the next day. When I’m overthinking, I usually affirm myself with this thought: “this can wait until the next day”, “no need to think about this because it will only reduce my sleep”, “thank you, overthinking mind to alert me. see you next time!”. In addition, you can practice breathing exercises or mindfulness meditation.
- 11 Free Mindfulness Meditation Apps Worth to Try in 2021
- 31 Simple Mindfulness Practice for a Calmer and Blissful Life
8. Turn off phone notifications during bedtime.
Turn off even the vibration mode. Turn on the do not disturb mode! After all, if it’s important, anyone will call. The do not disturb mode will not turn off the vibrations on call.
9. Install an anti-blue light app on your phone, laptop, or any digital device.
10. Clean up your bed!
Anyone will definitely sleep better on a clean and fresh bed sheet.
Additional self-care ideas to improve your sleep
After I checked off all the mandatory conditions for sleep care, I usually apply some additional tweaks to improve my sleep. Here are 17 additional self-care ideas to improve your sleep.
1. Use earplugs especially if you’re sensitive to a slight noise.
I use a foam earplug as it’s flexible and soft. If the earplug is too big, you can just cut the excess with scissors and adjust the shape.
2. Use white noise machines or apps.
For me, using white noise is mandatory. I use the Atmosphere app with headphones and set the volume to a very minimum.
3. Listen to sleep stories before bed.
Sometimes I use Loona app to listen to a calming sleep story. Besides sleep stories, I often hear an audiobook, turn the volume to a minimum, and set the timer to 15 minutes. You can use any meditation app for sleep meditation, too.
4. Put your phone away if possible.
If you don’t need to use white noise apps, then just put your phone away before bed!
5. Use an eye mask, especially if you’re on vacation with a bright surrounding.
6. Use lavender essential oil.
You can diffuse lavender essential oil a few hours before bed. A smell of lavender will help to relax and calm down. Alternatively, you can drop several lavender oils on your pillow or a cotton ball and place it near your nose. Sometimes I drop some lavender oil to my bolster pillow and hug it! Since it’s on my pillow, I don’t mind if it leaves a stain.
7. Stop working 1 hour before bed at the minimum.
This is mandatory especially if you’re working until late at night. Since we work from home from time to time now, we need to consciously limit our work time and prioritize our sleep.
8. Change to a comfortable bed if possible.
Before I moved in with my partner, I sleep in a single spring bed and I don’t have any trouble with the bed movement. However, I found that this cause a trouble if you sleep with your partner (well, since I’m a light sleeper, a slight movement feels like an earthquake). So, I invested to buy a pocket spring bed that effectively reduces movement during sleep. This is the best decision ever for my sleep regime!
9. Wear comfy pajamas or sleepwear. Enough said 🙂
10. If you just got a fight with your partner, try to resolve it before bedtime.
Besides this will help you sleep better, this will help you strengthen your relationship. No one likes to sleep anxiously with your partner beside, right?
11. If you cannot sleep until midnight, get up from your bed and do something relaxing for a while.
If you often lie awake at night in your bed, your brain will unconsciously correlate your bed with sleep deprivation. And we need to avoid that. Separate ourselves from our bed until we get sleepy. So that our brain remembers that our bed is the place for sleep, not the place for overthinking and insomnia.
12. Not using bed for work. Never!
The bed is meant for sleep (and sex) only.
13. Have a consistent sleep schedule, includes in the weekend.
Having read The Sleep Solution, I decided to build a consistent sleep schedule around 9 to 10 pm every night. If you don’t get used to it, that’s okay! Try to lie down at 10 pm and you’ll see your body will adjust after several days or weeks.
14. Just sleep when you’re sleepy!
Turn off Netflix, put down your book, don’t drink coffee, and stop working if you’re tired. Our sleep time cannot be recovered (paying of sleep debt is a myth!), and your future self will be thankful for a good night’s sleep.
15. Reduce naps during the daytime.
The more you are tired during the day, the better. Because then you will easily sleep when the night arrives.
16. Do some exercise.
I love to exercise in the morning and this has helped me to build a consistent sleep routine. Because I exercise in the morning, then I need to sleep at 10 so that I got 8 hours of sleep. You already know the benefit of exercise, right? Not to mention that exercise will make us tired at night and this will help us more sleepy and sleep easily!
- 10 Free Home Workout Apps to Kickstart Your Exercise Routine
- 10 Easy Ways to Start a Workout Habit
- 31 Healthy Tips to Stay Active While Working From Home
17. Track your sleep pattern.
This will helps you to find out to avoid what bothers your sleep and find out what improves your sleep. You can use this free wellness tracker I’ve created below.
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What are your favorite self-care ideas to sleep better at night?
That’s it! I hope you find these self-care ideas useful to make you sleep better at night. Sleep is one part of our health that needs to be taken care of seriously. Prioritizing self-care is important to improve our wellbeing. In the end, we are the ones who will feel the benefit of self-care.
- 31 Self-care ideas to nourish your mind, body, and soul
- 31 Self-care night ideas to relax after a stressful day
- 25 Morning Self-care Ideas for a Better Daily Routine
Download free resources: Free Self-care Planner