Let’s face it, our generation has developed into a sleep-deprived group of insomniacs. Maybe it’s from the absurd amount of screen time we have now, or maybe it’s just the fact that we are (sadly) always stressed out by the state of the world. In any case, it is a problem millions of young adults face today, one I’d like to help you solve if you do in fact fall under this category.
Unfortunately for me, I have had sleeping troubles since my freshman year of high school, but fortunately for you, I am now an unofficial and unlicensed expert on improving quality of sleep! So here are eight tips and tricks for catching those Z’s and finally waking up feeling well-rested (I promise it’s a real thing, not just a myth!):
Melatonin. Melatonin. Melatonin. I cannot stress the importance of this ultimate secret weapon strongly enough. While there are many health benefits to taking melatonin, there have been several research studies that show its connection to providing a better night’s sleep. Falling asleep faster, staying asleep longer and minimizing restlessness are all among the pros. Better yet, there are a variety of ways melatonin can be taken. So go get yourself some melatonin gummies, diffusers, pills or pens and start sleeping better tonight!
The culprit behind an inability to fall asleep is often an overactive mind, a.k.a. the main reason I haven’t slept in years. We have busy lives, never-ending responsibilities and a worldwide pandemic going on right now, so it’s no wonder sleep tends to be the first thing thrown out the window. But never to fear, this can be helped. We need to practice mindfulness and meditation, working to slow down our minds and clearing out all of the racing thoughts we allow to consume us. Light a few candles, turn on peaceful music and start relaxing your mind and muscles, it helps!
- Avoid napping
STOP. NAPPING. Naps will interrupt your sleep cycle by helping your body to feel well-rested for longer periods of time (during the day into the night), making it infinitely more difficult to go to sleep when you’re ready. I know it’s hard when your head starts nodding and the eyes start drooping but stay strong girl! I don’t care if you gotta physically hold those eyes open, stay awake.
- exercise at the right time
Exercise has a long list of benefits for your mental, physical and emotional health with improved quality of sleep taking the cake here. But, exercise can also be detrimental to getting a good night of sleep if done too close to bedtime. Exercising pumps out chemicals that pump you up so that you can work out harder and longer, which means that if you start pumpin’ that iron too late, you’re never going to shut your body down and relax. Instead, aim to exercise in the morning or afternoon so that your body can feel good and have plenty of time to wind down.
- Sound therapy
I get it, not everyone likes ASMR, but hear me out! If the girls petting microphones with makeup brushes while whispering awkwardly are not gonna help you sleep, try out some other forms of sound therapy to relax your mind completely. Soothing classical music is always a good way to go and my personal favorite is a genre of video on YouTube known as “oldies from another room.” These videos normally have some form of rain sounds or fire crackling along with songs from the ’50s muffled in the background to give off a warm and cozy atmosphere. It may seem odd at first, but it has seriously helped me tons!
Time to strap on the gas mask and brave the overwhelming aromas of Bath and Body Works to find your signature sleeping scent, ladies. Some scientifically proven scents that improve sleep quality are lavender, rose and peppermint, among several others.
Side note: Do not leave candles burning in your room while you are asleep! Instead buy a diffuser or aerosol room spray to get those scents flowing!
- fix your environment
Our environments are often what’s killing us guys. Turn off the bright lights as soon as you know you’re winding down for bedtime. Stay off your phone. I cannot express how badly staring at electronics affects your ability to fall asleep; don’t do it! Stay off your phone and laptop at least an hour before bed. Try to minimize the amount of loud and upsetting noises that come your way. And lastly, eliminate light as much as possible—the darker it is in your room, the easier it will be for your body to fall asleep!
- drink up
I’m gonna be straight with you, drinking warm milk sounds less than appealing to me and is probably something I’d never try. But if you’re willing, science says this drink should help your body prepare for sleep at night! If you’re like me and would rather stray away from that dairy delight, there are other sleep remedies such as chamomile tea that help too!
Sleeping does not have to be seen as an arduous task that you dread partaking in every single night, I promise you. If we make conscious efforts to help our bodies prepare for a solid night of sleep, then we will be approaching that full eight hours of delicious unconsciousness in no time, feeling rejuvenated and more energetic when we wake up than ever before. Try out some of these tricks, if not several of them, and start taking back that sleep you so clearly deserve! Sweet dreams ladies!