8 Tips and Tricks for Improving Sleep

Restless nights spent tumbling around in bed trying to find the perfect position. Staring up at the blank ceiling. Begging to close your eyes and drift off into sleep. Or maybe you are holding your eyelids open late at night, struggling to focus on the impossible assignment in front of you. Staying up until morning to finish just in time to get a few hours of sleep. Then waking up to trudge over to class, feeling like you are sleepwalking. Maybe your roommate is a night owl. You close your eyes but the light still seeps in under your eyelids. You try to focus on sleep but the only thing you can hear is your roommate’s fingers pounding on each key of their computer. 

 

Whatever it may be, waking up in the morning and feeling like you were never even asleep can be one of the most frustrating feelings. You might feel defeated, letting the circles under your eyes get darker and darker. Alas, there is hope. Take a look below, here are 8 tips and tricks to help you get a good night’s sleep. 

 

  1. Stick to a sleep schedule 

Our bodies run on a circadian rhythm. This essentially means that our body follows an internal clock, telling us when to sleep and when to wake. If we create an irregular sleeping schedule, our bodies will struggle to fall asleep and wake up. It is important to sleep and wake at consistent times. Adults typically need 8 hours of sleep every night, so try to focus your sleep schedule around this. Remember to keep this schedule consistent even on the weekends. This might be difficult if on weekends you are out on the town, hours past the time that you would normally sleep on weekdays. If you focus on consistency every day of the week, though, your body will fall into a natural sleeping pattern. 

 

  1. Declutter your mind

It can be impossible to fall asleep at night if you close your eyes and all you can see is a list of things that you need to do. Your mind might not be able to push aside this list, leaving you lying in bed unable to feel calm. If this endless list often runs through your mind at night, it might be helpful to try and declutter your mind. Rather than continuing to lay in bed feeling anxious, get up and write down your thoughts. Laying all your thoughts down on paper might help to clear your mind, leaving it emptier as you get back into bed. 

 

  1. Improve your bedroom environment

Even after decluttering your mind, it might be difficult to fall asleep if the physical space around you is cluttered. You might want to focus on factors in your room such as lights, temperature, noise, etc. Try to minimize any external lights such as those from an alarm clock or led decorations that might distract your sleeping. If you have a roommate, it would be important to talk about lights and noise at night to establish an agreement about when to turn the lights off at night and also when they should be using headphones at night. Also, it can be helpful to try and have your room in an organized state when you are going to fall asleep in order to establish a relaxed and clean environment. 

 

  1. Establish a night-time routine

Rather than getting right into bed without any preparation for sleep, try to establish a routine that you can follow every night to calm yourself before bed. Focus on activities that will leave you feeling relaxed, peaceful, and ready for sleep. This routine might include taking a hot shower, using your favorite face mask, drinking some tea, listening to relaxing music, meditating, or even doing some gentle yoga. Try out multiple different activities to help you decide what leaves you feeling most relaxed. 

 

  1. Swap your phone for a book

It might be tempting to lay down in your bed and pull out your phone to scroll through Instagram or watch tiktoks for an hour or two, but this could be harmful to your sleep. The negative effects of the light from your phone could be disrupting your ability to fall asleep. As difficult as it might be to resist the temptation to go on your phone while in bed, it might be beneficial to swap your phone for a book. If you are not typically a reader, try to find a book that you can enjoy and one you find easy to read. You can read anything. This might include fantasy or fiction books, as well as cookbooks or a self-help book, maybe even a magazine that you are interested in. 

 

  1. Be mindful during the day

There are several habits during that day that might hinder your sleep at night. For example, drinking too much caffeine too close to bedtime can make it very difficult to sleep. You should also try to focus on not eating or drinking too much late at night because this can also be harmful. It might be helpful to also incorporate more movement in your daily routine, whether that be walking more or devoting time to exercise. However, try to avoid exercising late at night because this could leave you with too much energy at bedtime. 

 

  1. If you can’t sleep, move around

If you find yourself staring at the ceiling or constantly turning over in bed after at least 30 minutes of trying to sleep, get up. It can be helpful to get up and move around if you are unable to sleep. Get out of bed, walk to the bathroom, write something down in your journal, read a few pages in your book, or even just walk around your room/apartment. Once you lay back down in bed, you will most likely find it much easier to drift off. 

 

  1. Talk to your doctor

While it can be normal to have a few restless nights, you can experience many negative physical and mental health effects from continued sleepless nights. If you have tried several of these or other tips and still find yourself waking up exhausted, it might be good to talk to your doctor. A doctor can help you to get to the bottom of your restless nights and guide you in treatment to solve these underlying causes.