40 Easy Things you Can do to Get Better Sleep

Updated: Feb 11, 2021

I used to think I had an anger issue. The number of mommy tantrums I was regularly having rivaled those of my toddler’s, and I was constantly irritated by everything my husband said or did.

Once, when my sister was visiting, I was mid-rant about all the ways my husband was getting on my nerves when she laughingly told me to go take a nap.

“WHAT!? I’m not sleepy! I’m obviously righteously outraged!”

Guess what? I needed a nap. Just like a cranky toddler.

In the years since that time in my life, I’ve come to realize that prioritizing sleep is the #1 thing I can do for my happiness, my relationships with my family, and my prayer life.

Seriously, the next time you think you’re in a time of desolation, go get some sleep. I’m willing to bet that 99% of the time you’re just sleep-deprived.

Still, getting a good night’s sleep is no easy task while you’re in the trenches of parenting little kids. It’s easy to despair at the complete unfairness of teething babies, colic, little kid nightmares, and the million and one other ways that our sleep is shattered by little ones.

Even if you don’t have little kids, insomnia plagues 40% of Americans every year. Throw in the fact that we are busier than ever, constantly connected to technology, and desperately trying to eke out a little “me time”--and a good night’s sleep can start to feel like a pipe dream.

So here’s the deal: you can’t control everything about your sleep. Kids are going to wake up, dogs will desperately need to pee at 2:00 AM, your spouse will snore, your hormones will occasionally go nuts, and your sleep will be less than ideal. BUT…that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to get better sleep.

In fact, here are 40 easy things you can do to improve your sleep:

Optimize your Sleep Environment

  1. Dim the lights in your house before bed

  2. Switch out light bulbs for warm light and low wattage

  3. Use a white noise machine or loud fan

  4. Keep your bedroom as dark as possible

  5. Wear an eye mask or scarf

  6. Keep your bedroom cold

  7. Keep your bed cold (like with a chili cube)

  8. Try spraying lavender or use an essential oil diffuser

  9. Declutter your bedroom

  10. Invest in quality bedding/pillows/mattress

  11. No electronics in the bedroom (TV, phones, iPads, etc.)

  12. Use a weighted blanket

  13. Wash your sheets regularly

  14. Put your Wi-Fi router on a timer to turn off in the evenings

Change Your Behaviors

  1. Don’t do anything that resembles work after a set time (i.e. after you put your kids to bed or 8:00 PM, etc. )

  2. Go out in the sunshine as much as you can in the daytime (especially the morning)

  3. Say a prayer for peace before falling asleep

  4. Keep a rosary on your bedside table for the middle of the night wake-ups

  5. Go to bed when you feel sleepy

  6. Take a warm bath or shower before bed

  7. Express gratitude before bed (either in prayer or in a journal)

  8. Read a physical book before bed (only relaxing fiction)

  9. Make your bed when you get up in the morning

  10. No screens of any kind a few hours before bed

Lifestyle Changes

  1. Exercise (especially outdoors in the sunshine if possible)

  2. If you’re a parent, sleep train your children

  3. Take a magnesium supplement

  4. Make time for sex (go to bed earlier, or plan to stay in bed longer in the morning--don’t let it be a competition between getting enough sleep or sex)

  5. Don’t drink alcohol a few hours before bed

  6. Limit all beverages close to bedtime--so you don’t have to pee all night

  7. Eat your final meal at least 3 hours before bedtime

  8. No caffeine after 3:00 PM

  9. Spend as much time in natural light during the day as you can (or consider light therapy)

  10. Elevate your legs before bed--This will help re-circulate any fluid that may be accumulating in your legs (peripheral edema) so you can pee it out before going to sleep (and not in the middle of the night)

Optimize Your Routine

  1. Create a wind-down routine that you enjoy and look forward to

  2. Have a consistent bedtime routine for your kids

  3. Establish a set bedtime and wake time--the more consistent you can be, the better

  4. Track your sleep--use a free app, a Fitbit, Apple Watch, or other sleep trackers

  5. Try gradually moving bedtime a little earlier until you are getting 8-10 hours in bed each night--You won’t be sleeping that whole time, so if your goal is 7 hours of sleep, you’ll need to schedule at least 8 hours in bed

  6. Schedule your sleep and treat it like a priority

  7. Set timers/alarms to remind you when it’s time to start your bedtime routine

I sincerely hope that at least some of the tips on this list will help you get better sleep--and maybe even have less anger to confess!

If you’re thinking there’s no time for anything, let alone getting more sleep, check out my course: Time to Thrive: How Catholic Women Can Find Purpose, Rekindle Their Passions, Maximize their Time, and Create a Life They Love

I’m launching this course as a live 4-week webinar (approximately 1 hour a week) and I’ll be walking you through the theological to the nitty-gritty practical of how you really can live your best life. Find out more on the courses tab at the top of this page.

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