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5 Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep

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Sleep may very well be the most important part of our day. It prepares our bodies to conquer our endless to-do lists, and a million other things. The only problem is that it can be difficult to carve out time for sleep. That’s why it’s necessary to sleep “smarter” and more efficiently! These five tips should help you discover a few ways to get the best night’s sleep possible.

1. Exercise

I think exercise may be the one of the greatest ways I can ensure sleeping through the night. Even 30 minutes of exercise a day can help keep me energized at work, and sleep better at night. The key is exercising at the right time of day. Dr. Virgil D. Wooten of HowStuffWorks.com notes:

“When it comes to having a direct effect on getting a good night’s sleep, it’s vigorous exercise in the late afternoon or early evening that appears most beneficial. That’s because it raises your body temperature above normal a few hours before bed, allowing it to start falling just as you’re getting ready for bed. This decrease in body temperature appears to be a trigger that helps ease you into sleep.”

Exercising can certainly help you sleep better, as long as it’s not immediately before you go to bed!

2. Ritual and Atmosphere

Give your body a schedule so it can expect when to fall asleep every evening. Aim for the same bedtime every night. If that’s not possible, tell your body you are ready for sleep by shutting off your devices (no screen time!) at least 30 minutes before bed, doing some light stretches, reading, or another calming activity. Make absolutely sure that you have a dark, comfortable atmosphere to sleep in. Cover your laptop light. Wear an eye mask. Play some soothing music. (There are numerous apps just for this purpose such as Quick Sleep, where you can choose music, white noise, or the sound of beaches, rain, etc.)

3. Jot Down Your Thoughts

One important part of my nighttime ritual is jotting down all the thoughts floating around in my head. Keep a notebook on your nightstand and write a quick list of everything you’re thinking that moment right before bed. (Okay, sometimes you can’t write everything you’re thinking, but try!) By putting your thoughts to paper, you are releasing them from your mind for the evening. Make a to-do list for the morning, write why that person is making you angry, or what your weekend plans are. Writing down anything in order to ease and free your mind will help ensure a carefree night’s sleep.

4. Chamomile Tea (and no caffeine)

If you can avoid caffeine 24/7, more power to you! I have made it a habit to stop drinking coffee after 2:00pm. When I get a craving in the late afternoon or evening, I turn to tea instead. I’m a new tea drinker, and by no means an expert, but chamomile tea has been my life saver. It is widely known as a sleep aid, and promotes a restful night of sleep. Add it’s another addition your nighttime routine!

5. Prepare for the Day Ahead

Ever had those dreams where you’re late to class? Just missed the bus, subway, or train? Walk in late to a meeting? I have discovered that I have these dreams less and less on nights when I prepare for my day the night before (what a surprise)! Pack your lunch, decide what you’ll wear, make sure everything is in your handbag, gas is in your car, etc. You can guarantee yourself a better night’s sleep, without the tossing and turning, by just taking five minutes to prepare.

What tips do you have for getting a better night’s sleep? Tell us in the comments!

Photo: Getty Images

Topics:

#Sleep Wellness Lifestyle Work-Life Balance
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If you can avoid caffeine 24/7, more power to you! I have made it a habit to stop drinking coffee after 2:00pm |
I cut out caffeine as my New Year's Resolution (it's still standing!) in large part because I really needed to improve the quality of my sleep. Combining no caffeine and my push to at least do yoga or some kind of holistic body movement (running, stretching) once every other day has made all of the difference.
It boils down to the fact that in order to exert yourself in the ways that you want, both mentally and physically, you need to understand how to recover, both mentally and physically. This is something that as a self-professed workaholic, I am working on really centering to improve both my exertion and my recovery and avoid burning out.

These are so useful! I definitely have a hard time shutting down my screens since my long distance bf and I often fall asleep on Skype. While I do love to run, I also find that keeping a semi regular bedtime and a nice cup of herbal tea before bed is just the ticket to good sleep.

I purchased the Sleep Cycle app for my iPhone and now I'm excited to go to sleep! Having a reason to go to bed and wake up in the morning, even if it is for statistics on my sleep habits, helps me wind down and be ready for slumber.

I'm a huge proponent of writing down your thoughts before going to bed. I find that the #1 cause of my sleeplessness is an overactive mind. Writing down your thoughts does two useful things, actually—first, it helps quiet your mind for bed, and second, it ensures that you don't lose any of your great ideas :)

I recently started turning off all screens at least 30 minutes before bed, and I can't tell you how much it helps! I don't understand all the stuff about Circadian rhythms or whatever it is, but something about the artificial screen light can really throw you off your sleep schedule.

Carly Heitlinger
Carly Heitlinger

I have a really hard time "shutting off" my brain before going to sleep. Because of this, I've implemented a really strict nighttime routine that helps me unwind and prepare for sleep. I also include 30 minutes of reading into my routine which gives me a great break from "screen" time and is super relaxing.

I think that regardless of WHAT goes on during your routine, just having a routine trains your body to prepare for sleep!

Anonymous
Anonymous

It's SO useful all this info. i'm gonna try it ;)
thanks!

I have been struggling to decide when the best time of day would be to work out - knowing that late afternoon will help my sleep is an important new piece of information!

Great tips. I will trying these tonight

Alexandra Ricci
Alexandra Ricci

I find that I can have no distractions in my bedroom to receive the best sleep. I have removed my television and clutter, and I sleep so much better. Also having a fan on helps too. Great article.

Fantastic article. Recently, I have taken my night ritual more seriously and have seen great results with better sleeping habits! Thanks for sharing!


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