Surviving Insomnia—How to Get Your Best Night’s Sleep

Surviving Insomnia—How to Get Your Best Night’s Sleep

Everyone knows that sleep is important.  Not getting enough sleep can affect our physical, mental, and cognitive health.  Unfortunately, our high stress and constantly on-the-go world doesn’t encourage getting a good night’s sleep, and many of us struggle with falling asleep, staying asleep, or feeling rested in the morning.  In fact, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 1 in 3 adults aren’t getting enough sleep.  Yikes.

As someone who has struggled with insomnia, here are some tried-and-true tips that might help you get your best night’s sleep.

Optimize Your Bedroom

Make your bedroom the ideal environment for sleeping by reducing external noise, setting the temperature, and reducing light.

White noise machines, a fan, or even a white noise app are great options for reducing external noise, while black-out curtains can help to stop the sun from shining a spotlight on your bed every morning.  As for temperature, according to The National Sleep Foundation, “The best bedroom temperature for sleep is approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius).  This may vary by a few degrees from person to person, but most doctors recommend keeping the thermostat set between 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 to 19.4 degrees Celsius) for the most comfortable sleep.”

Reduce Blue Light Exposure

Blue light—emitted largely by devices like smartphones, laptops, and TV screens—messes with our circadian rhythm, essentially tricking our brain into thinking it’s daytime.  In my opinion, the best solution to this problem is limiting or cutting out screen-time one or two hours before bed.  When that’s not possible, you can use blue light filtering glasses or change the settings on your device to reduce the amount of blue light it emits.

Follow A Consistent Bedtime Routine

Try to go to bed at the same time every night and take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours before you go to bed to wind-down and prepare your body for sleep.  Practices such as having a bath, reading a book, listening to music, journaling, having a snack, meditating, or stretching before bed can reduce stress and anxiety, as well as help you connect to your circadian rhythm.

Try Natural Sleep Aides

Natural sleep aides can include vitamin supplements, like melatonin or magnesium, as well as herbal teas.  A warm cup of tea has a calming effect all on its own, but look for teas that include sleep-inducing ingredients such as chamomile, valerian root, lavender, lemon balm, passionflower, and magnolia bark.  Of course, teas containing caffeine should be avoided.

Invest in Sleep-Promoting Products

While there are a million products on the market that claim to aide sleep, I have personally had success with two: weighted blankets and Dodow.

Weighted blankets can range in price from $50 to $300+, depending on the size, brand, and weight.  I have a queen-size, twenty-pound blanket that cost around $200—an investment, for sure, but sleeping with my weighted blanket feels like sleeping in a warm hug.

Ringing in at around $80, you might find Dodow more affordable than a weighted blanket.  The little device encourages meditation-like breathing (and therefore, relaxation) without the mental stimulation of counting your breaths.  I cannot say enough good things about Dodow—it helps me shut off my racing thoughts and calm my body to get me in the perfect state for a great night’s sleep.

Of course, always talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about your sleep and consult with a medical professional before taking any supplements or making major changes to your lifestyle.