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How to Sleep Better: 25 Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep

Our contemporary life makes sleep more difficult. Try these tips to realign your natural circadian rhythm and help your body and mind relax to get the good night’s sleep you need.

Sleep is nature’s ingenious way of ensuring that we busy humans, like all mammals, get the downtime we need.

During those hours of slumber, our brains do vitally important work—from fighting the common cold to repairing damaged tissue; rebalancing essential biochemicals; clearing toxic waste from our cells; and processing memories and emotions, among many other tasks. We even learn while we sleep.

Simply put: Without a good night’s sleep, we can’t thrive. And when poor sleep is a chronic issue, it has far-reaching implications for physical health and mental health and can even result in death.

Unfortunately, trouble sleeping is a national epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 3 American adults get less than the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Not getting enough healthy sleep is associated with heart disease, obesity, diabetes, stroke, and mental distress including depression, among other problems.

So, if the body requires sleep, how is it possible to not sleep?

Our collective sleep problem has much to do with modern life. Sleep is controlled by circadian rhythms, the 24-hour cycles of the body’s internal clock that are highly influenced by light. During daylight hours, biochemical changes in the body keeps us awake and alert. The diminished light of evening signals the production of melatonin, which helps us fall asleep.

Back when humans were more in sync with nature, our circadian rhythms were effortlessly in balance. We rose early, getting most of our natural light exposure in the morning hours, were physically active during the day, and come nightfall, we were ready to fall asleep and to stay asleep.

Nowadays, these rhythms are disrupted. Instead of rising early feeling fully rested, we jolt our sleepy selves awake with an alarm and stay that way with caffeine and sugar. Instead of filling up on early-morning light and moving our bodies, we spend our days indoors and mostly sedentary.

And at night, instead of quieting down as day turns to evening, we keep working, watching TV or binging Netflix, and get lost in our social feeds, all illuminated by disruptive bright and blue lights from our technology and devices.

Is it any wonder we have trouble sleeping?

So, is the solution to our collective sleep problems to get back into sync with nature? It’d be a good start.

Drift Off to Sleep

Meditation · 10 mins

Sleeping Buddy

In this sleep meditation, we will use a sleeping buddy to help us feel safe and drift off to a deep night's rest.

Play Now

Here are 25 other proven ways to sleep better organized into the following areas:

  • Creating the Perfect Sleeping Environment
  • Morning & Daytime Tips to Help You Sleep at Night
  • Evening Tips to Help You Relax
  • Bedtime Tips to Help You Fall Asleep Faster & Stay Asleep

Creating the Perfect Sleep Environment

When your personal space is peaceful, it’s far easier to relax and let go of the day and drift into sleep. Here are some simple ways to make your bedroom the perfect environment for a good night’s rest.

Keep it cool

The temperature impacts both your ability to sleep and the quality of your sleep. Your body’s core temperature naturally cools during sleep, so supporting this process can help you to both fall asleep faster and to sleep through the night. Researchers found that room temps of 62-71 degrees F (17-22° C) were most conducive to quality sleep.

Make it quiet

Noise is a major sleep disrupter. Earplugs can help if you’re kept awake from noise close by, like someone snoring. To block out atmospheric noise, you might try a white noise machine or a fan.

Clear clutter

Clutter makes us feel unsettled. One study found a correlation between sleep disturbances and hoarding tendencies. For better sleep, keep your bedroom clean: clear surfaces, pick up items from the floor, put everything away in its proper place, and make your bed. Also, welcome in some fresh air. Your bedroom should invite ease.

Control the light

Light, especially short-wave blue light like the kind emitted by tablets and smartphones, can disrupt the body’s natural sleep cycles. To minimize light disturbance, keep your bed area device-free, and if possible, avoid any bright light leading up to bedtime. If outside light is an issue, try light-blocking curtains or a sleep mask for a more restful sleep.

Introduce scent

Relaxing aromas, including lavender, rose, and chamomile, can help the body and mind settle, and contribute to better sleep. Try using some natural scents—in the form of dried herb satchels or nonsynthetic aromatherapy oils or a diffuser—in your bedroom to help create a restful environment.

Invest in your bed

Sheets and blankets can make a difference in temperature control and comfort. Your bed should be a haven where you feel safe and can deeply relax. Make an investment in whatever bedding makes you want to crawl into bed and stay there. Zzzzz.

Enjoy Healing Sleep

Meditation · 10 mins

Better Sleep to Build Resilience

This practice guides you into a deep, restful sleep where your body can repair and rebuild, gaining resilience.

Morning & Daytime Tips to Help You Sleep Better at Night

Wake up at the same time every day.

And get up even if you’re tired! You’ll be happy you did when you go back to bed later that night. A consistent sleep schedule helps train your body to know when to fall asleep and when to wake up.

Rich Fernandez

How Can I Create a Better Morning Routine?

Talk · 9 mins

Do a mindfulness check-in.

Cory Muscara

RAIN Mindfulness Technique

Micro Practice · 60 sec

Make your bed.

It will help make your space feel more tidy and relaxing when it’s time to go to sleep. Also, wash your sheets and blankets regularly to keep them feeling clean and fresh.

Cory Muscara

Imaginary Sleep World

Meditation · 10 mins

Eat a balanced diet that includes healthy carbs.

A Mediterranean-style diet of high-fiber complex carbohydrates, healthy vegetable fats, and lean protein is recommended in general, but it can also promote healthy sleep. Eating a diet low in fiber and high in fat, on the other hand, has been associated with lighter, less restorative sleep.

Susan Albers

How to Practice Mindful Eating

Talk · 38 mins

Spend time outside.

Regular exposure to sunlight is important for sleep. It’s been shown to help you go to sleep earlier, help you sleep through the night, and to improve sleep quality. And early-morning light, between the hours of 6-8:30 am, appears to have the strongest effect on sleep later on. This may be due to the influence of sunlight-induced Vitamin D on melatonin production.

Cory Muscara

Choiceless Awareness

Meditation · 5-30 mins

Get regular exercise.

Moderate aerobic exercise is widely regarded as a natural sleep aid. After heating up from exercise, body temperature drops, mimicking lower body temps during sleep. Exercise also appears to rebalance disrupted circadian rhythms.

Rich Fernandez

Visualize High Performance

Meditation · 10 mins

Keep daytime naps brief.

While a nap can help stem the cognitive effects of short-term sleep debt, napping longer than 20 minutes can interfere with the body’s sleep drive.

Cory Muscara

Ultimate Calm (Gentle Stream)

Meditation · 15 mins

Evening Tips to Help You Relax

As day turns to evening, the body naturally begins its preparation for sleep. You can support this drive by following these tips.

Avoid large meals at night.

Your body needs time to digest the food you eat. When you eat late, or eat a lot, your body is still working hard to process that food. Keep evening meals light and give your body time to digest before you head to bed.

Watch your caffeine intake.

We know that caffeine can give us a boost in the morning, but having it later in the day can interfere with sleep by blocking adenosine, a sleep-inducing molecule produced in the body. And it’s not just coffee: hot and cold tea, soda, energy drinks, and chocolate, may contain caffeine that can impact sleep.

Limit alcohol consumption in the evening.

While alcohol has a sedative effect, it also can interfere with normal sleep cycles, resulting in a poorer quality and more disrupted sleep.

Wind down before you turn in for the night by helping your body shift into a more restful state.

  • Listen to relaxing music
  • Take a bath. Bathing in warm water 1-2 hours before bedtime can support your body’s thermoregulatory system, and help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.
  • Do a mindfulness meditation or mindful movement, such as gentle yoga
  • Try some light reading
  • Try journaling, to help clear your mind of the day’s events.
  • Dim the lights up to 2 hours before turning in for the night
  • Turn off any screens

Go to bed at the same time every night.

This will support your circadian system, which controls appetite and digestion in addition to sleep. Research finds that sleep irregularity is correlated with cardiometabolic disease, obesity, and depression, in addition to daytime sleepiness, less daytime light exposure, and less physical activity. Even on the weekends, try to keep a regular sleep and wake schedule, varying by no more than an hour or so.

Practice mindfulness once in bed.

Do a relaxation technique, such as mindful deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or a body scan, to help move your body and mind into a restful state.

Playlists Crafted for Every Mood

Music

Sweet Sleep

Immerse yourself in light and warmth with this sound journey through the heavens.

And if you still can't sleep...

There are some nights that no matter what you do, sleep just doesn’t come easily. If you’ve been practicing good sleep hygiene and there are no outside distractions keeping you awake, it could be a passing thing. Even so, when you’re awake in the middle of the night, tossing and turning, it can feel like you’ll never sleep again.

When sleep is elusive, try these tips:

Use the bathroom.

If your bladder is full, your body won’t let you sleep. Make sure to keep the lights dim as you make your way to the bathroom, and when you’re done, come back to bed.

Rain On a Tin Roof

Nature Sound

Crack a window.

This cools the temperature of the room. Strip down if you’re wearing night clothes that are making you too warm.

Town Square

Nature Sound

Practice deep breathing.

Cory Muscara

4-7-8 Breath

Micro Practice · 60 sec

Do progressive muscle relaxation.

Cory Muscara

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Micro Practice · 60 sec

If 20 (or so) minutes have passed, get up.

Instead of lying there trying to sleep, don’t try. That will only stress you out. Get out of bed and go to another room to engage in a quiet activity like reading, restorative yoga, listening to relaxing music, or working on a puzzle. Use just enough light to help you see, but try to keep a restful night atmosphere. And keep your devices put away; this isn’t the time to scroll your news feed. When you start to feel sleepy again, go back to bed.

Melli O'Brien

Getting Back to Sleep (For Middle of Night)

Meditation · 15-45 mins

Wake up at your regular time.

Even if you feel tired, waking at your regular time will support your circadian rhythm and help you get to sleep the next night.

Melli O'Brien

Morning Intention Setting

Meditation · 5-10 mins

Sleep Better Tonight

Explore our articles, expert tips, and guided meditations to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep through the night.

Help Your Loved Ones Sleep Better

Invite your friends to experience better sleep, less anxiety, more purpose and inner wellness with you.

Free 7-Day Meditation Challenge

Make Good Sleep a Lasting Habit

Enjoy better health, sharpen your focus, and become less reactive with a better sleep routine.

(Even if you don't have 8 hours.)

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