Last Updated on February 12, 2021
Has the last year thrown off your sleep schedule or is it just me? I find myself consistently resisting bedtime, and I’ve fallen into a slew of bad habits. One of my goals this year is to create a healthier night time routine so I can sleep better.
I also want to improve my quality of sleep, and feel refreshed when I wake up. And if these under the eye bags happen to disappear too – I wouldn’t be complaining.
I’ve been consistently working on all of these things for the past six weeks, and while my eyes are still a bit puffy, I’m really excited to share all my tips with you on how to sleep better!
And, I’m even more excited to be doing this in partnership with SOL Organics. All thoughts and opinions are my own, for more information please see my disclosure policy.
SOL Organics makes dreamy eco-friendly sheets and I’ll be sharing a bit more later in the post. When it comes to sleeping better, the number one most important thing is that you need to find a small ritual that works for you.
I know there’s tons of videos online with elaborate night time routines that take hours. And, while that may work for some people – I have a busy life. Not only is that unrealistic – I don’t want to spend that long ‘winding down.’ It honestly sounds boring and uninteresting.
I’ve found success in just picking one or two things I know I can commit to and do them consistently which signals to my body, ‘It’s time for us to wind down.’ I’m going to walk you through my short routine and then share 10 proven ways you can sleep better and improve your quality sleep naturally.
my nighttime routine:
I recently did a YouTube video on my nighttime routine on Sundays which is a bit more elaborate than Monday – Saturday. Just to reiterate, I find long routines to be laborious so even my Sunday night routine is kept at a cool 45ish minutes.
- Stop working at least two hours before bed
- Brew a cup of herbal tea, take herbal sleep supplements, and CBD an hour before bed
- Turn off TV and all tech devices half an hour before bed.
- If it’s shower day, take a hot shower
- Skincare routine
- NO TECH IN BEDROOM
- Breathing exercises
- Sleepity, sleep, sleep
how to sleep better naturally:
My routine is pretty minimal, and relies on reduced stimulation before bed and on one or two calming practices. Below you’ll find a few ways you can reduce activity and some calming practices you can adopt to make your perfect night time routine so you can sleep better and improve your sleep quality too!
create your own ritual:
Take some time to experiment and figure out what a good nighttime ritual is for you. You want to make sure this is something you can repeat – consistency is the most important thing!
I wouldn’t try to do all of these but pick one or two to experiment with and see if this unplugged time helps you decompress.
Taking a hot shower always gets me relaxed. Now, I try not to make them too long for the sake of conserving water, but even if it’s only a 2-5 minute shower, there’s something about hot water and feeling clean that makes me want to snuggle up in bed.
I like to use a nice bar of soap and exfoliate with an all natural loofah. After I get out, I have a little bit of towel time – which is just sitting around in a towel.
do a stretch routine:
You want to avoid a lot of vigorous exercise right before bed, but try a light stretching routine. If I’m feeling tight, I like to take 5 minutes to stretch everything out.
Focus on deep breathing while you’re stretching to get you in a relaxed headspace. (I’m yawning just thinking about it.)
breathe or meditate:
Take a few minutes to only focus on breathing. I like to breathe on an in count of four and an exhale of 8. Try to only focus on your breath and nothing else for a few minutes. I do this as soon as I lie down to go to sleep so I’m focusing on the numbers instead of worrying about what I need to get done tomorrow.
If you’re like me and your mind starts racing as soon as you lie down, try journaling all of your thoughts before bed. When I write things down on paper, I feel more secure that I’ll remember those thoughts in the morning because my thoughts continue to speed through my mind because I’m afraid I’ll forget in the morning.
a few other calming activities to help you wind down before bed:
- fold or put away laundry
- read a book
- massage your forehead and jawline to drop tension
- put on some relaxing music (preferably without lyrics)
make your room a sanctuary:
Your bedroom should inspire relaxation. Clutter really stresses me out so I try to keep my bedroom organized and the design fairly minimal.
This helps me sleep so much better than when my room was packed with furniture, lots of books, and clothes tossed everywhere.
I also try to make my bed as comfy as possible. Consider getting a few nice pillows and a nice set of silky or linen sheets so you’re excited to slip under the covers.
We spend ⅓ of our life in bed so I think it’s worth splurging to make sure we’re wrapping ourselves in well-made organic fabric. Organic materials regulate body temperature much better than synthetic materials.
Switching to organic sheets and an organic mattress greatly improved my quality of sleep! There’s no more waking up in the night sweating because everything is much more breathable.
SOL Organics makes certified Fair Trade, Organic Cotton, and GOTS certified, and they ship completely plastic free.
Their factory partner runs a transparent supply chain from farm to factory to fabric, using only non-GMO, certified raw 100% organic cotton, manufactured in a FLO-certified factory.
And, as a huge bonus they’re offering all GZW readers 20% off with the code ‘GZW20’ just apply it at checkout.
don’t work from bed:
The bed is so comfy, and I know you don’t want to leave those warm inviting sheets, but you have to stop working from bed.
Ideally, remove work from your entire bedroom, but with more of us working from home, we don’t all have the luxury of working in a separate room. But, that doesn’t mean you should sit in your pajamas half under the covers with your laptop up. OR endlessly scrolling through social media…
I used to think, “What’s the harm in scrolling through social media in the morning or before bed?” Or, “It’s OK if I answer a few emails from bed.” WRONG.
I have noticed a huge difference in how productive I am in the mornings and how I sleep better when I simply keep tech out of the bedroom.
I plug my phone into the bathroom. When the alarm goes off in the morning, I have to get up and go into the bathroom to turn it off.
aim for consistency:
Try and head to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning.
I’m not 100% successful at this (especially on weekends), but if you struggle with consistent insomnia the American Academy of Sleep Science recommends diligent planning in going to sleep at the same time every night and waking up at the same time each morning.
You’ll find varying information online about what time you should unplug before going to bed, but I think you need to find what works for you.
I stop using my phone a few hours before bed, but often watch a TV show 1-2 TV shows after dinner and before bed. The blue light from tech devices can throw your body’s biological clock—the circadian rhythm—out of whack.
Try unplugging and participating in one of the more relaxing tasks above before going to sleep.
I gave up most caffeine from 2017-2019, and wrote a blog post on the experience. I would have the occasional cup of green tea, but last year I was drinking a daily cup of coffee. It was a small ritual my husband I would do together which put us on the same page for the day.
Since we’re both working from home, it was nice to have a centered activity for the two of us. Since, I’ve added coffee back into my diet, I definitely notice a difference in my sleep quality if I drink a cup at 2 or 3 pm so try to cool it in the afternoon, and stick caffeine before noon!
make sure you’re hydrated:
I see so many articles stating that you shouldn’t drink a bunch of water before bed. And, I definitely think that can be a valid answer, but for me – I often wake up in the middle of the night because I’m thirsty!
My mouth is so dry and I just need more water. I’ve always been really prone to dehydration. If you’re similar, then I’d recommend making sure you drink some water before bed instead of vice versa.
try to avoid eating a big meal directly before bed:
You don’t want to go to bed hungry, but you also don’t want to eat a super big meal right before bed either. If you’re hungry try and aim for a light snack that won’t cause indigestion while you’re sleeping.
- A cup of fruit
- Air popped popcorn
- Some nuts
- Whole grain toast
- Kiwi – which is actually supposed to help with sleeping! (source)
- Banana with nut butter
Spending time in the outdoors may improve your sleep. Dr. Phyllis Zee studied nature’s links with our biological clocks and just how powerful exposure to natural light and darkness can be when it comes to getting a better night’s sleep. (source)
Try to take a mid-day walk or work near a window! I know I always feel better when natural light is shining through my windows.
consider a sleeping aid:
I take an herbal sleep supplement and CBD oil to help unwind and destress. Those things might be right for you. Or if you’re continuing to have a lot of issues, you might need to see a doctor.
I’d like to thank SOL Organics for sponsoring this post. If you need new sheets, I can’t recommend SOL Organics enough.
PLUS, don’t forget about that 20% off for GZW readers! Use the code ‘GZW20’ at checkout!