Strategies to Sleep Better

The NY Times released an article today about sensory impacts on sleep, begging the question, "What can I do to help myself sleep better"?

The psychological literature promotes five general rules that promote sleep hygiene, listed below:

  1. Create a bedtime routine.
  2. Establish a consistent bedtime and wake time each day.
  3. Have proper nutrition (limit alcohol before bed, stop caffeine by mid-afternoon).
  4. Exercise daily (preferably in the morning).
  5. Turn off all "screens" at least 2 hours before bed.

The NY Times article has elaborated upon these five principles but nevertheless are generally consistent with established literature. Please follow the link for the full article, but to summarize:

  1. Create sleep associations (like a bedtime routine). This could include smells that are associated with sleep (like putting lavender on your pillow before bed).
  2. Have your room be so dark that you cannot see your hand in front of your face.
  3. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
  4. Exercise.
  5. Keep your room cool (around 60 degrees Fahrenheit).
  6. Sleep in a quiet space or use a white noise machine if a quiet space is not available.
  7. Cut caffeine at least 6 hours before bed.
  8. Limit alcohol before bed. 
  9. Establish a pleasant routine for waking up in the morning.

Personally, I think simpler is better, so I try to remember a few key tasks around sleep: Exercise, be careful about what I eat, and have a routine that includes something without screens before bedtime. I also truly enjoy waking up to the smell of coffee and find that getting out of bed for that first cup can be enough motivation to get my day started. 

Other tips and tricks can be found by following the links below:


National Sleep Foundation

Mattress Firm

Alaska Sleep Clinic

What strategies work for you?

Wishing you all a great night's rest!