A Guide to Sleeping Better

a guide to sleeping better
Laying in bed, wide awake at 3 am isn’t fun for anybody. Suffering from sleep problems isn’t only frustrating, though. It can also have a negative impact on your mental and physical health, leaving you feeling emotionally drained and sluggish the next day.

For anybody that has insomnia, getting a good night’s sleep is virtually impossible. Even if you don’t have much trouble reaching the initial stages, getting into the deeper levels of sleep can be a problem for millions of people worldwide.

An estimated 30% of the American population suffers from insomnia.

It doesn’t have to be this way, though. Even for the most notorious insomniac, there are certain things you can do to help yourself wind down after a stressful day and increase your chances of getting a good night’s sleep.

That’s why we’ve created this guide to sleeping better. Below, you’ll find a wealth of hints and tips that will help you get the best night’s sleep of your life.

It will also equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to maintain your sleeping pattern night after night.

The Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep

Let’s take a look at why getting a good night’s sleep is so important before we start.

Aside from helping us feel refreshed and ready to face the next day, reaching those deeper sleep stages and maintaining them across several hours delivers a plethora of health benefits.

To begin with, getting more sleep can help you lose fat and maintain a healthy body weight. There are a few reasons behind this. Mainly, lack of sleep means an increased appetite as you need extra fuel to get through the day. This can then lead to overeating and, ultimately, weight gain.

Not getting enough sleep can also increase your chances of suffering from a heart attack or a stroke. There’s an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, too, as a lack of sleep has an adverse effect on your blood sugar levels.

Getting a good night’s sleep can even help to improve your memory. During sleep, your ‘practice’ skills are strengthened through a process called consolidation. This means that new things you’ve learned throughout the day are more likely to stick in your memory.

These are just a few of the reasons why getting a good night’s sleep is so important. Sleep is a personal thing, though, and being able to drift off gently is much easier for some people than it is for others.

So, where do you begin? It’s all about preparation, and perfecting your surroundings is the first place to start.

Tips for Creating a Restful Environment

Creating a relaxing, restful environment is vital when it comes to getting a better night’s sleep. But this is something that’s often easier said than done.

If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at our tips below. These will help you transform your hard-to-sleep-in bedroom into a relaxing paradise you can’t wait to nestle into at the end of each day.

Ideal Room Temperature

Ideal room temperature

The first thing to think about is the temperature of your bedroom.

If your surrounding temperature is either too hot or too cold, getting a peaceful night’s sleep will be much more challenging.

Of course, this is something that will differ from person to person.

Generally speaking, the ideal temperature for a bedroom is considered to be between 60ºF – 65ºF.

The temperature of your room will also fluctuate throughout the year according to seasons. So, let’s take a look at how to control your bedroom’s temperature during warmer weather, to begin with.

Start by keeping an eye on the sun’s movement during the day.

If blazing sunshine is beaming in through your windows all day long, it will create a greenhouse effect and significantly add to the warmth of your room.

One way to keep the temperature down during the day is to keep your drapes or blinds closed. This will help repel the heat and stop this greenhouse effect from happening.

However, it is important to note that if your drapes are made of particularly thick material, they may absorb heat rather than repel it. In this case, try swapping your drapes for a summer alternative made from a lighter fabric during hotter weather.

Air conditioners and fans are also an excellent way to help keep your room’s temperature down during the day. You can also keep one running throughout the night during a relentless heatwave, but you’ll want to make sure it operates as silently as possible. Otherwise, you may find the noise waking you up sporadically throughout the night.

You might be thinking that keeping your windows open during the day will help keep your room cool. But is this true? Surprisingly, it’s not. Leaving your windows open all day long will let hot air into your room, which, in turn, will add to the rising temperature.

You’re much better off opening your windows at nighttime when outdoor temperatures are cooler. This will allow cool air to circulate throughout your room and will bring the temperature down at a much faster rate than leaving your windows open during the day.

Once the hot weather has passed and we start heading into fall and winter, you’ll need to rethink your bedroom’s temperature setup.

Unlike summertime, it’s essential to let as much natural light into your room during the day as possible. This will give you the best chances of getting the temperature up to that 60ºF – 65ºF optimum range.

However, once night falls, it’s all about how to retain the warmth your room has absorbed during the winter months.

Drapes made of thicker fabric will help keep your room insulated. You can also help your room retain the warmth it gains throughout the day by laying a rug on the floor.

If your room gets really cold during the winter, you might want to think about programming your heating to come on at set intervals throughout the night. This will give your bedroom little bursts of warmth and helps to keep the temperature consistent.

Avoid Light Interruptions

Darkness is essential for a good night’s sleep, and any light that leaks into your room will send signals to your brain that it’s time to wake up.

With that in mind, bright lights shining into your bedroom when you’re trying to fall asleep are almost guaranteed to keep you awake.

Street lamps are one of the biggest culprits here, but luckily, there are a couple of ways you can deal with this issue.

The easiest way of keeping light pollution out of your room is to invest in some heavy drapes. The thicker the fabric, the harder it will be for the light to penetrate through and shine into your room.

There are even special ‘blackout’ curtains available that are designed to keep your room as dark as possible.

If your bedroom window is directly opposite a bright street lamp, you might need an extra layer of protection against artificial light. Covering your window with a tint-film will help block out some of the light and, when paired with blackout curtains, will give you a better chance at keeping your room dark.

Televisions, computers, and cellphones can emit a lot of light too. So switch off all of your devices and allow yourself to sink into a peaceful slumber that is uninterrupted by annoying light.

Peace and Quiet

As well as light interrupting your sleep, it’s essential to think about your surroundings’ sound levels. Too much noise will keep your brain alert, which, in turn, will prevent you from falling asleep.

Start by addressing any potential sound coming from inside your room. Turning off any televisions or speakers is a great place to start.

A clock with a particularly loud tick can also be very disturbing when you’re trying to get to sleep. If you do own one of these, consider removing it from your bedroom.

Keeping your bedroom door shut is a good way of preventing any noise coming from another part of the house from interfering with your sleep. Try placing a draught-excluder along the bottom of your closed door to drown out any extra noise too.

Next, consider any sound coming from outside your home.

This is much harder to control, especially if you live in a busy city, but there are certain things you can do to reduce the noise level it produces in your room.

Thick drapes are a good way of creating a buffer against external noise as they will absorb a fair amount of sound. Laying thick rugs in your bedroom is also an effective way of absorbing excess noise. This is especially useful if you live in an apartment building and want to block out any noise coming from the floor below.

If you’re working with a larger budget, you might also want to consider upgrading your windows to high-performance double glazing. You could even have triple-glazing installed, and this is perhaps the most effective way to prevent any external sound from entering your room while you’re sleeping.

Choose High-Quality Bedding

The more comfortable you are at night, the more likely you are to be able to fall into a deep sleep gently.

And comfort starts with the bedding you choose.

Dress your mattress with a mixture of high-quality sheets and blankets.

There are loads of different materials to choose from, and the choice you make will be personal to your tastes and sleep requirements.

But getting it right will create a luxurious, relaxing nest that you can sink into.

Your duvet comforter is the first place to start.

You’ve got a good choice between different fillings, and each one will be better for each individual’s sleeping preference.

To make it a little easier, we’ve summarized this below:

  • Down: Duvet comforters that are stuffed with down are relatively lightweight and therefore offer excellent breathability. Despite this, they don’t lack anything in terms of warmth and will keep you cozily wrapped up on a winter night.
  • Down Alternative: Perfect for anybody that suffers from feather allergies. This gives the same performance as Down but is created with synthetic material – usually polyester.
  • Cotton: Lightweight, hypoallergenic, and highly breathable. Not as thick as down but still able to create the warmth you’re looking for. Cotton duvet comforters are often machine washable too, which makes cleaning them much easier.
  • Wool: The warmest of all four materials and ideal for dressing a bed with during an unusually cold snap of weather. Wool duvet comforters also tend to be moisture-wicking, and they’re excellent at regulating body temperature.

Now let’s look at what you want to cover your duvet comforter with. Color and style are important for making your home look beautiful, but there’s more to consider than pure aesthetics.

If you want super soft sheets, you can’t go wrong with a set of cotton sheets and pillowcases to cover your duvet comforter with. These will allow your skin to breathe without allowing warmth to escape. This makes them great for all seasons.

Cotton sheets are also a better choice for anybody that suffers from skin sensitivity issues. They don’t trap dirt or allergens and are generally the most skin-friendly sheets you’ll be able to find.

Linen sheets are a good choice for anybody that finds themselves getting a little too warm at night. This is because they can regulate your body temperature, keeping you cooler during the summer months.

They’re body-regulating capabilities also mean they’re able to keep you nice and warm when the winter months take hold.

Choose The Right Pillow For You

Your bedding and duvet comforter is just one part of the game.

Your head also needs a comfortable, supportive place to rest as you begin to fall asleep.

Choosing the right pillow for your individual needs will help you do this.

Do you like sinking into a cloud of softness? Or do you prefer a firmer surface that offers more in terms of support?

Like a duvet comforter, there are many different fillings to choose from when looking at pillows, so take your time and think about what you find most comfortable.

Materials such as memory foam will offer you the best of both worlds. This type of pillow will contour to the shape of your head, allowing you to rest your head on a soft surface while simultaneously keeping your neck supported.

Pillows stuffed with down are generally less supportive but offer a super soft, highly-cushioned place to lay your head.

Declutter Your Bedroom

Keeping your bedroom as minimalistic as possible can also help you create a restful environment.

The more things your room has dotted around it;

The more aware of them you are!

The more aware you are;

The less likely you’ll be able to fall asleep peacefully!

Clear out any clutter that has gathered in your room over time.

Keep your bedside table as organized as possible and only keep things on it that you might need to reach for during the night or that you use to help you drift off.

Introduce Pleasant, Calming Aromas

You can also turn to aromatherapy in your quest to create a restful bedroom environment.

Certain essential oils emit calming aromas that can help you relax and drift off into a deep sleep.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular below.

  • Lavender
  • Cedar Wood
  • Bergamot
  • Sweet Chamomile
  • Ylang Ylang

Try adding a few drops of your chosen essential oil into an aroma diffuser and place it on your bedside table.

For the best results, turn the diffuser on an hour or two before you get into bed.

This will allow the relaxing scent to fill your room gives you a better chance of falling asleep faster.

Invest In A High-Quality Mattress

Investing in a high-quality mattress is a great way to help you get a peaceful night’s sleep. As with bedding, finding the perfect mattress is a personal thing, and there are even some that are designed to support your body comfortably in certain positions.

There are a couple of essential components to look for when you’re researching your mattress. The first, and arguably the most important of these, is the material used for support.

These fall into two main categories – foam mattresses and spring mattresses.

Foam mattresses are the best choice for anybody who prefers a supportive sleeping surface but still wants to sink into something soft. They are particularly good for side-sleepers as the foam used in their construction will mold to the contours of your body, allowing your joints to sink into the mattress while your spine remains supported.

They are also an excellent choice for anybody that suffers from joint pain as, no matter what position you end up sleeping in, there isn’t any pressure put on the hips or shoulders.

Different types of foam mattresses include:

  • Memory Foam
  • Reflex Foam
  • Gel Foam
  • Latex Foam

A spring mattress is the more traditional of the two and is the sort of mattress that’s reminiscent of sleepovers at your grandparent’s house. They are available in different thicknesses from soft to orthopedic, which makes them a highly versatile choice.

They are incredibly popular among people that like to sleep on their backs but are equally suitable for a range of sleeping positions. This is mostly due to their firmness. They also tend to be a more popular choice for couples sharing a bed, as they don’t tend to allow for the transfer of movement.

The different styles of spring mattresses are:

  • Pocket Sprung
  • Open Coil
  • Miracoil

Investing in a high-quality mattress can be an expensive route to take in the quest for a better night’s sleep, though. But, even if you’re working with a tight budget, there are some products available that can give your existing mattress a new lease of life.

These include mattress toppers and pads, which are available in a range of materials and thicknesses to suit any sleeping position or support needs.

Tips For Winding Your Day Down

Our lives are busier than ever. Between juggling the school run, excelling in a hectic career, cooking dinner, and trying to fit in social life, our brains are always thinking about something.

This makes winding down virtually impossible at the end of the day, and very few people are capable of getting into bed and falling asleep straight away. However, there are certain things you can do to begin relaxing in the run-up to bedtime and sending the signals to your brain that says, “Calm down, it’s time to go to sleep.”

Let’s take a look at some of the most effective ways to wind down at the end of the day below.

Relaxing Music

Creating a playlist of relaxing music is a great way to help you fall asleep.

Classical music is the most effective of all genres for curing insomnia. There have even been studies to show its effectiveness in improving sleep quality in young people.

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to classical music, try some of the pieces below:

  • Satie – “Gymnopédie No.1”
  • Holst – “Venus the Bringer of Peace (The Planets)”
  • Chopin – “Nocturne No.2, Op.9”
  • Ravel – “Piano Concerto in G Major (2nd movement)”
  • Beethoven – “Moonlight Sonata (1st movement)”
  • Bill Evans – “Peace Piece”
  • J.S Bach – “Prelude No.1”
  • Massenet – “Meditation”
  • Debussy – “Rêverie”
  • Mozart – “Concerto for Flute and Harp (2nd movement)”

Each of these classical music pieces is extremely relaxing and doesn’t feature a swelling orchestra that might shock you awake as you begin to fall asleep.

Reading A Book

One of the most reliable ways of winding down after a busy day is by escaping into the alternative reality found in a good book.

In fact, there may be no better way to forget any anxieties than by focusing your attention on a fictional character’s adventures.

Reading doesn’t just help you forget any worries that might be standing in your way of a peaceful night’s sleep, though.

Settling into a comfortable position will make you feel more relaxed.

Your eyes will also begin to feel tired from the physical effort needed from them as they scan each word on the page.

Your brain will start to tire from translating the text into meaningful words too.

This creates the perfect trifecta for slowly relaxing every muscle in your body and beginning to fall asleep gently.

There’s also less mental pressure involved than there is in trying to force yourself to get to sleep.

Dim The Lights

To fall into a deep sleep, your bedroom must be as dark as possible. However, suddenly turning all the lights off and plunging yourself into total darkness can cause your brain to become slightly confused. It may even go into ‘panic mode,’ forcing you to be more alert of what might be lurking in the sudden darkness.

Think of it in primitive terms. Back at the dawn of time, long before electric lighting, we knew that the day was coming to an end by the dimming daylight. This then sent signals to our brains that the time had come to head to bed.

However, in an age of well-lit streets and interior lighting, these signals are no longer as easily recognized. So, to recreate this and trick your brain back into thinking the sun is setting, start dimming your lights a couple of hours before your bedtime.

This can be done by installing dimmer switches in place of traditional light switches or turning off overhead lights and turning on lamps with ambient bulbs. There are even WiFi bulbs available that allow you to control their brightness and color through your cellphone or virtual assistant.

Disconnect From Devices

Whether you find yourself glued to the screen of your smartphone or tapping away at your laptop’s keyboard until the early hours of the morning, in an age of modern technology, we are all chained to our devices.

But disconnecting ourselves from our devices an hour or two before bedtime can actually help improve sleep quality. Devices with displays work with blue light, which produces cortisol – the hormone that helps you wake up in the morning.

By switching your device off, you’ll shut out the blue light, and your brain will become more aware of the actual time of day. This allows it to start preparing you for sleep.

Turning your devices off also prevents any annoying notifications from coming through and stealing your attention away from what you ought to be focusing on – getting yourself ready for a decent night’s sleep.

Granted, it can be difficult to remember to disconnect from your device. Try setting yourself an alarm for a couple of hours before your intended bedtime. When it goes off, turn all of your devices off and switch to reading a book or draw yourself a relaxing bath instead.

Pro-Sleep Habits To Undertake During The Day

As well as creating a restful bedroom environment and exchanging your device for something a little more relaxing just before bedtime, there are some daytime habits you can practice to help you get a better night’s sleep too.

Get Plenty of Exercise

Exercise comes with a variety of health benefits. From keeping those extra pounds off to releasing a flow of mood-boosting endorphins. But did you know that following a regular exercise routine can help improve the quality of your sleep too?

There’s a simple science behind the reasoning. Put simply, the physical exertion you put in will help tire you out. Think of a child who’s been running around all afternoon and then collapses into a sound sleep that evening. The same principle applies; we’re just a little older.

The endorphins that exercise produces help reduce our stress level too, which puts us in a much better mood and gives us a clearer, worry-free feeling once we’ve tucked ourselves into bed.

While you can exercise at any time of the day, the best times for helping you sleep better are morning or early afternoon. This is because it will help you reset your sleep/wake cycle, raising your body temperature earlier in the day and then dropping it and triggering sleepiness at nighttime.

Getting up and working out first thing in the morning helps you prepare better mentally for the day ahead as well.

There is some dispute over whether exercising in the run-up to bedtime is a good idea for getting better sleep. The physical effort is going to tire you out after all. Generally speaking, however, it’s not a good idea to exercise in the four hours leading up to bedtime.

This is because your adrenaline levels will be higher, which makes settling down a little more difficult. Your body temperature will also be higher when you get into bed, which increases your heart rate and makes it harder to relax.

Be careful not to go in too hard straight away, though, especially if you’re new to exercising as this might cause injury. Gentle aerobic exercises such as jogging or cycling are a good place to start.

Get Plenty Of Exposure to the Sun

You might be surprised to learn that getting plenty of sunlight throughout the day has a really positive effect on your sleep quality. This is particularly true of morning sunlight. But why is this?

Exposure to morning sunshine helps to suppress melatonin. The melatonin hormone is essential for getting into deeper levels of sleep. However, increased melatonin levels in the morning can make waking up incredibly difficult and leave you with a groggy, sleepy feeling that can take a good few hours to shake off.

Letting plenty of sunlight through your bedroom windows each morning or heading out into your garden to bask in the morning sun allows loads of blue light to flood into your eyes, which lowers your melatonin levels and helps you wake up faster.

While your melatonin levels are being lowered, your cortisol levels are simultaneously increased. If melatonin is the ‘sleep’ hormone, then it’s fair to think of cortisol as the ‘awake’ hormone. This increase of cortisol produced by sunlight helps our bodies create the optimal circadian rhythm.

Put simply, an optimal circadian rhythm means that your body has a better understanding of when it’s daytime and when it’s nighttime. This helps us get back to that primal state of knowing it’s time to start falling asleep once it’s dark and waking up with energy once the sun has risen.

That’s not all, though! Exposure to morning sunshine also boosts our serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates our mood and our sleep. It’s also a precursor to melatonin production.

So, the more serotonin your body produces, the more melatonin it will produce at nighttime. This increases your chances of getting a restful night’s sleep and allows you to get into the really deep levels that leave you feeling relaxed and energized the next morning.

Monitor Your Caffeine Intake

We all know how that first sip of coffee in the morning helps wake you up and gives you the energy to get your day started.

However, too much caffeine throughout the day of the day can negatively impact your sleep.

Coffee isn’t the main culprit behind caffeine consumption, though.

There are many things we might eat or drink throughout the day that are high in hidden caffeine.

So, even if you believe you’re carefully monitoring your caffeine intake, you might be surprised to learn that you’re consuming more than you thought.

Here are some of the most caffeine-packed foods and drinks to avoid in the build-up to bedtime:

  • Black Tea
  • Green Tea
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Soda
  • Energy Drinks
  • Caffeinated Chewing Gum

However, each person is different, and people with busier jobs and lifestyles might need to call upon caffeine more often to help keep them motivated throughout the day. But what’s the cut-off time for your last caffeine hit?

Generally speaking, you should stop any caffeine intake at least 6 hours before heading to bed. Doing this will allow your body to process it, will prevent the suppression of melatonin, and lead to a better night’s sleep.

Don’t Eat Too Late In The Day

Another surprising thing that can affect the quality of your sleep is eating too late in the day. This is because eating later on kicks your digestive system into gear and keeps it working throughout the night, making it harder for your body to concentrate on getting to sleep.

It’s not just the physical processes of digestion that affect your sleep, though. Eating later in the day prevents your body from releasing melatonin. With that in mind, it’s generally advised that you should have your last meal of the day at least three hours before you’re planning on heading to bed.

It’s worth noting that certain foods can cause insomnia too, so these should be avoided by anybody that has real difficulty sleeping. These include:

  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Soda
  • Energy Drinks
  • Spicy Food

You might also be familiar with the term ‘nightcap.’ This famous phrase implies that an alcoholic drink before bedtime will help you fall asleep. However, this is absolutely not the case.

Alcohol stimulates the nervous system and acts as a depressant. So while you may begin to feel sleepy after a tipple or two, you’re far more likely to suffer from light, restless sleep throughout the night. Not to mention, you’ll have to deal with the hangover drinking before bed brings on in the morning.

Don’t Smoke

It’s not news that smoking is bad for you. We’re all more than aware of the damaging effects it has across a huge variety of organs and systems within our bodies. But smoking is also terrible for getting a peaceful night’s sleep.

Cigarettes and cigars contain nicotine. This is a powerful stimulant that, along with many other side effects, will keep you wide awake throughout the night. When you eventually manage to drift off, the presence of nicotine in your body also prevents you from reaching the deeper levels of sleep where restorative rest is achieved.

Instead, the sleep you get will leave you feeling less energized and refreshed. Many smokers then turn to nicotine again to give them the boost they need to get on with their day, and the vicious cycle of nicotine dependency and poor-quality sleep continues.

Giving up smoking is one of the best things anybody can do to get a better night’s sleep. It will also prevent many other health problems from forming, so it’s an excellent choice to make for your general health.

Regulate Naps

The amount of sleep you need per day fluctuates depending on your age, with adults between the ages of 18 and 64 needing around 7 – 9 hours per night. This is best taken as one long period of sleep at nighttime, rather than spread throughout the day.

Napping throughout the day will decrease your chances of falling asleep quickly and peacefully when you settle yourself into bed later on.

However, with that being said, the occasional nap can give us the extra boost we might need to get through a particularly challenging day. It’s important to regulate the time of your naps to no more than 30 minutes at a time, though.

This will stop your body from reaching the deeper sleep stages and allows you to wake up feeling refreshed rather than confused and groggy.

If You Still Can’t Sleep…

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, it can still be challenging to fall asleep. If you’re familiar with the above advice and have tried everything you can think of, there may still be something you can do.

Let’s explore some further insomnia-beating options below.

Consider Relaxation Techniques

Getting ahead of the game and creating a relaxing atmosphere in the buildup to bedtime is a sure-fire way to help you wind down.

But, as well as dimming the lights and disconnecting from your drive, there are a few relaxation techniques that can help you relax even further. We’ve listed some of the most popular and effective of these below.

  • Organize Your Day: Grab a notepad and write down everything you need to do the next day. By doing this, you’ll be taking these worries off your mind and clearing your head a little more. This will allow you to concentrate on falling asleep rather than thinking about what the next day holds.
  • Breathe: Place one finger over one of your nostrils and take a deep breath in. Hold for a few seconds, then place the same finger over your other nostril and breathe out. Continue this for five minutes.
  • Herbal Teas: Just like essential oils, some herbal teas can soothe and relax you ahead of bedtime. These include chamomile, lavender, and mint.

Experiment With Different Sleep Techniques

Laying in bed, staring at the ceiling, and wishing you could sleep can cause untold frustration. And, as the frustration grows, so does this impossibility of drifting off to sleep.

So, rather than letting anger or sadness get the better of you, take a deep breath and try one of these sleep techniques.

  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Start by getting yourself into a comfortable position. Starting with your feet, clench each muscle and hold for 5 seconds, then relax. Pause for 10 seconds, focusing on your breathing, then move on to the next muscle. Work your way upwards from your feet to your forehead.
  • Humming: Humming a single note at a consistent volume has the same relaxing effect on your nervous system as breathing. It helps your face, neck, and shoulders relax more too, so you’ll feel soothed and calmed.
  • Sound Meditation: Crashing waves, the gentle pitter-patter of falling rain, or the sounds of the rainforest floor. All of these are classed as ‘non-threatening sounds’ and excellent choices for practicing sound meditation. Invest in a sound machine and immerse yourself in the selection of relaxing sounds.
  • Guided Imagery: Take your mind’s eye off to a place you find peaceful and relaxing. This could be a beach or lying underneath a starry sky. There are also some great apps that can take you through a guided meditation by softly describing the scene to you.

Keep A Sleep Journal

It’s often easier to pinpoint where the problem lies by keeping a record of everything you did that day.  

A sleep journal can help you do this.
Think of it as a food diary you might keep if you were trying to lose weight, and use it to look back over your day and see how your actions and experiences affected your sleep.
It’s really easy to create a sleep journal too.


Use a blank notebook and create columns that allow you to chart the following for each day:

  • Exercise: What did you do? How long did you exercise? And at what time?
  • Caffeine: How much caffeine did you consume? And at what times?
  • Stress: How often did you feel under pressure? And what caused it?
  • Food: What did you eat? And at what times?
  • Medication: Did you take any medication? Does it have any side-effects?
  • Sleep: What time did you go to bed and wake up? How many times did you wake during the night?

Tracking your daily activities and your sleeping habits in this way will help to give you a much clearer indication of the things that might be causing insomnia. Once you’ve discovered what they are, you’ll have a much better chance of making the appropriate changes.

If You Still Can’t Sleep – See Your Doctor

Seeing your doctor should be your last resort, but if you are still having trouble sleeping even after following all of the advice above, book an appointment with your doctor’s office.

Depending on the severity of your sleep disorder, they may be able to refer you to a specialist or prescribe medication to help you sleep better.


When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, preparation is critical.

Make sure your bedroom is set up in the most comfortable, relaxing way possible. Block out any annoying artificial light, keep your room at the optimum temperature, and sound-proof against disturbing noise. Unplug yourself from the outside world by disconnecting from your devices too.

Remember also that every person’s sleep requirements are different. Sleep is an extremely personal thing that is unique to each individual, so make sure you take the time to find a mattress and bedding that is comfortable for you.

The things you do during the day will also impact the quality of your sleep. Get plenty of exercise, let the morning sunshine make contact with your skin, and monitor your caffeine intake.

Practicing sleep relaxation techniques ahead of bedtime will help you wind down after a busy day even more.

So, set yourself a bedtime routine, allow your brain to relax, and allow yourself to feel tired. All of this will set you up for a night of deep, restful sleep.

About the Author

Daniel Max

Interior Designer, Living in New York City. My sole work is to make indoor spaces functional, safe, and beautiful. It is achieved, by determining space requirements and selecting essential and decorative items, such as colors, lighting, and materials. Work always starts with a drawing, reading, and editing blueprints!