You surely know that good sleep is literally vital. You probably also know that the modern lifestyle often gets in the way of deep and healthy sleep. As someone who struggled with sleeping soundly as a child already, I have researched countless sleep solutions over the years. A few have stood out and help me to go from restlessly rolling around in bed to peaceful sleep. I wrote them down because I hope that those sleep solutions can help you as well. Enjoy!
Disclosure: Some of the links below are so-called provision links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Sleep solutions: Items to help you sleep
The quickest way to improve your sleep situation without changing your environment or your lifestyle. These products will improve your sleep and all you need to do is getting and then using them.
One of the best purchases I made in the last years were some dark, heavy curtains* for the bedroom. Not only do they do an awesome job at keeping the street lights out they also limit street noise a little. You can get good ones here*.
The light blocking is the really important thing though. Having your brain exposed to light constantly does not only confuse your sleep rhythm. By disrupting your circadian rhythm it also might make it way more difficult for you to lose weight!
As I wrote in my article on “How to balance hormones naturally“, sleep and hormones are super closely connected. And hormones affect really everything in our bodies: From mood to weight to how symmetrical our faces look.
A Sleep mask
For all those times when I am not sleeping in my bedroom, for example when traveling, I love my sleep mask*. To be completely honest I got it once just to feel fancy. (Don’t they look fancy to you? Somehow?) But by now I am really using it regularly and I am extremely grateful for it. The annoying street light outside your hotel room? No problem, I got my fancy sleep mask!
A headphone headband
Ohhh, headphone headbands*! I think this invention is so genius and simple at the same time! When insomnia strikes I often like to listen to guided relaxations or sleep meditations. And more often than not, I do fall asleep. …Only to wake up a few minutes later, because my clunky headphones get in the way of me rolling on my side…
Enter “Sleep headphones*“. I stumbled upon this one night when I couldn’t sleep. Of course.
The awesome thing about them is that they really don’t get it your way at all, because the built-in headphones are extremely flat and light.
I am using this Bluetooth sleeping mask* and I love it!
Sleep solutions: Sleeping habits
While buying some little helpers to improve your sleep will definitely help, you should also take a good look at your sleep hygiene. Improving your evening habits will go a long way for better sleep!
Go screenless 1 hour before bed
This is the one thing EVERYONE and their mom tells you about better sleep. For a good reason. So I am not even going to explain to you why you should go screenless. Just do it. Non-negotiable. Ideally, your phone never even enters your bedroom.
If you have strong separation anxiety regarding your phone, I recommend Mel Robbins’ 4 tips to detach from your phone. That lady simply knows what’s up.
Have a soothing evening routine
During your screen free hour, you will all of a sudden have way more time. (That’s how screen addiction works. I know. I am very guilty!)
Use this time to form new good habits to calm yourself down and prepare for sleep. Get out pen and paper and write down all things that come to mind. All the tasks that still keep your brain buzzing. Next, decide what to do with them.
This will release the “cognitive burden” you are experiencing because of the so-called Zeigarnik effect.
The Zeigarnik effect describes the inability of your brain to stop thinking about something unless it is completed. Once you write down the task and what you will do with it next, you can let it go.
Eat a light dinner
Another thing that I need to keep telling myself. Get your bigger calorie load earlier in the day and keep dinner light. If your body is working hard on digesting your evening meal, sleep will not come lightly. And it won’t be as restful either!
Sleep solutions: Foods that help you sleep
Other than keeping dinner light, there are also a few selected foods that will support your night rest!
Indulge in any foods that are high in melatonin. A few examples are tart cherries, broccoli, asparagus, tomatoes, grapes, and olives. Walnuts and flax seeds also work.
Is it only me or does this read like an excerpt of Dr. Greger’s daily dozen? Seems like his diet recommendations really are the cure for everything.
Sleep solutions: Sleep techniques
Now your diet might be great, your room might be dark and you haven’t looked at a screen in two hours. Still, your brain is buzzing with thoughts and unrealistic, but very dramatic scenarios.
If this sounds familiar to you, it’s time to make your brain shut up – by using breathing techniques. Or as a Yoga teacher would say: “Out of the mind, into the body.”
The “4-7-8 breathing exercise”
A breathing technique that got famous for its’ effectiveness is the “4-7-8 breathing exercise”. If you have 5 minutes watch the explanation by the inventor himself:
If you don’t have 5 minutes, these are the steps:
1) Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
2) Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
3) Hold your breath for a count of seven.
4) Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
5) This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
What are your favorite sleep hacks? Did I forget something important? I love to learn, so please leave me a comment with your experiences.
*These links are so-called provision links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.