- Make your bedroom as dark as possible. Our sleep cycles are controlled by circadian rhythms. Darkness causes the pineal gland to release melatonin which makes you sleepy. Ridding your room of unnecessary light is an important step. Start with making sure your curtains/blinds are blocking as much light as possible. This also includes all screens: Televisions, cell phones, tablets, computers all emit light. If you cannot eliminate all light from the room, invest in an eye mask to prevent light from reaching your eyes.
- Back to screens, if you can’t turn your phone off or like to read e readers before bedtime, switch to the red-light predominant option under settings and lower the brightness as much as possible. Most iPhones also have a setting where the phone switches to red light at a certain time. There are also special glasses that block blue light and filters that you can purchase to place on devices to decrease blue light.
- Make sure your bedding is comfortable. Some people like firm mattresses and some like it soft. Whatever your like, make sure you have it, and it works for you. Also invest in your bedding. Make sure your sheets are comfortable. If you are one of those people that gets really hot at night, invest in moisture wicking sheets (SHEEX is one company that makes these). If you get really cold, then invest in extra blankets or flannel sheets.
- Is your partner, kids or your pets preventing you from sleeping? If you have a partner that snores loudly, just remember that you do not have to sleep in the same room. Same goes for the pets and kids. Ear plugs may also work.
- What to avoid before bedtime- Tobacco (nicotine is a stimulant), caffeine (also a stimulant and this includes chocolate ☹). Also try not to eat 2 hours before bedtime. This will allow for better digestion and help promote sleep.
- Exercise promotes sleep but usually only if you exercise in the morning. At the very least, try to wind down strenuous exercise at least a few hours before bed. Its harder to shut down if you perform vigorous exercise in the evenings right before bedtime.