10 Tips and Tricks for a Better Night's Sleep

I am very back and forth when it comes to sleeping habits. Sometimes I never sleep no matter how hard I try, and sometimes I can sleep for days on end. A good night's sleep can mean the difference between a great productive day or a long miserable one.

Sleep is especially hard to come by while you're in college. You know that saying that everyone tells you about college? It’s either sleep, social life, or grades? Although this phrase is partially true, sacrificing sleep is not something you should be doing to yourself because it’s just bad for you. I get it though, we all have those weekends where the parties seem non-stop, and then the next week you have five tests, four papers, three projects, two worksheets, and a partridge in a pear tree all due on Wednesday.

“Okay so how do I get to sleep tonight so I can get all this crap done?” Well, I'm gonna tell you! Here are my best tips and tricks for getting the best night's sleep of your LIFE!


1. Go to sleep early!

Your biological clock is basically an internal time clock that determines when you should be awake and when you should be asleep (Source Credit). Stuff like traveling, menstrual cycles, daylight savings, and staying up and sleeping in can mess with your clock. Resetting your biological clock is no walk in the park; in fact, it sucks. The first step is going to sleep EARLY! Bum bum buuummm.

This is so hard for me. I’ll be sitting in my bed at eight o’clock watching Law and Order SVU and I’ll say to myself “One more episode.” Then BOOM its 11:45. And by the time I do brush my teeth and get all cozy in bed, I have to pee. After I pee, I’ll be on my phone for 45 minutes and then I’ll have to pee again. Before I know it, it's eight a.m. I go to class, come home then nap for four hours. Which brings me to my next trick.



I can't stress this one enough. Napping will screw everything up. I know it's painful, I understand, napping is my life. But napping is evil (like donuts). It will ruin everything.

When you get home from whatever you were doing, don’t even go near your bed. If you do sit in bed and start getting that heavy eyelid feeling get up, walk around, do some squats, drink some coffee, run outside and jump in that frozen lake in your backyard, whatever. Just don’t nap. But maybe put a “Do not touch. May bite,” sign on your back because you’ll definately be cranky.

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3. Get up immediately after your alarm goes off. 

I know how tempting hitting that snooze button is, but seriously it's a bad habit and newsflash: you ain't getting any more sleep when you take those extra ten minutes. Don’t give in to the temptation. Here's my best advice: put your phone on the other side of the room. That way you won't want to scroll through social media before you go to sleep and you'll have to get up to turn off the alarm the next day. 


4.  Use lavender. 

Lavender is a gift from God. Sniff it, lather it on your skin, drink it, eat it, bathe in it, roll in it, sleep with it. Lavender is known for its magical ability to make you sleepy. Trust me, it works.

Before bed, put some lavender lotion on and drink a lavender and camomile tea 20 minutes before bedtime. Don’t do it any later because then you’ll have to get up to pee. Also, lavender stuffed animals are amazinggg. You put them in the microwave for about a minute, and it warms the lavender. They smell amazing and they’re warm and toasty like freshly dried laundry. If you're too old for stuffed animals (psh, no one really is) you can buy a pillow instead. They’re pretty pricy, but it's also possible to DIY one!

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3. Take melatonin. 

Melatonin is an excellent way to get to sleep fast and easy. If you know you won't sleep well, but you have to because you have a massive test in the morning, melatonin will have you sleeping like a baby (and give you super weird dreams). I discourage using it on a nightly basis because you can become accustomed to it and then it won't work for you anymore. So only use melatonin in case of emergencies. 


4. Take hot showers/baths.

This one is a doozy, and it really helps. Take a warm bath, listen to some soothing music, (maybe drink a glass of wine if you're legal), put in a bath bomb, and add some lavender oil for a bonus. Make sure you get in bed quickly afterward because the soothing effects will wear off. This goes for pretty much everything on this list. Finish up with some lavender lotion. Like my mother always says, you can never have too much lavender. JK, she doesn’t say that, I do.

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5.  Lower the temperature in your room. 

No one can sleep if it’s too hot. Sleeping when you’re too hot is torture. So before you go to sleep, drop that thermostat a couple of degrees and cuddle up under all your cozy blankets.


6. Exercise during the day. 

This one is obvious; exercising makes you tired. Exercising will also help regulate your biological clock by helping it realize that the day time is for moving and not resting. Make sure you don’t over do it though because overexerting exercise can actually lead to poor sleep. I would know. In the winter after skiing all day, I wouldn’t so much as get a wink of sleep.


7. Drop that phone!

I briefly went over this tip in the layout of my nightly struggles, but I would like to reiterate it. Really. Truly. Don’t. Stay. On. Your. Phone. I am guilty of doing this pretty much all the time but don’t do that. Don’t be like me. If you really can't stand not doing something while in bed, please see tip and trick number 8. 


8. Read at night.

Reading really does help me sleep, but sometimes it can backfire on you. If you pick up Moby Dick, you’ll be out like a light. I'm not trying to bash the great works of Herman Melville, trust me, it's a great piece of literature, I'm just saying there's no need to hit yourself with this book in order for it to knock you out. But if you pick up a Stephan King novel or something along the lines of James Patterson, honey, you will be up all night long. Do not grab something thrilling, scary or even remotely exciting. Pick an old classic that isn’t super boring but isn’t action-packed, and you’ll have smooth sailing to dreamland.

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9. Focus on staying awake. 

Get all comfy in bed and try to force yourself to stay awake. Reverse psychology, my dear Watson. When you’re lying there thinking about all the work you have to do tomorrow and how important it is that you get a minimum of eight hours, you will soon find that a good night's sleep becomes less and less of a possibility. Instead of doing that, becuase obviously it's not working, try the opposite. 


10. Listen to something. 

This does not work for me. I need blinding darkness and pure silence, but I have heard people preach miracles about this technique. Something as simple as turning the fan on may knock you out, but listening to music, rain or the ocean is a great way to help you relax. I don’t sleep with sound but it is something I use to study, and when I do, I use the app White Noise. It has so many good sounds; sounds you’d never even think of, like “HairDryer.” 


Getting to sleep is hard, and I know some of these tricks may not work for you, but make sure you try out every tip before you rule this article out as a bust. I bet you a dollar (I'm broke ha) that at least one thing on this list will work for you, and if it doesn’t, then you might be struggling with insomnia. If that's the case you may need to seek medical and psychological help, and I strongly encourage you to do so, so you can get a good night's sleep. 

But you probably didn’t use enough lavender. Seriously, lavender is the best.