Nothing seems to fix so many issues as well as a good night’s sleep, and yet many struggle to develop healthy sleep habits and get the recommended 7-9 hours each night. Sleep can be considered the foundation for everything else. When you get better sleep, it can help regulate mood, relieve stress, improve heart health, blood sugar levels and help with weight management.
Conceptually it seems easy to achieve, but in practice it is not always attainable. The key to get better sleep is to start small and stay consistent.
As a Certified Tiny Habits Coach, I have learned how to establish lasting new healthy sleep habits. And through the Tiny Habits methodology, I help my clients to do the same.
The following tips will help you establish more regularity in sleep patterns. Many of the following are based on Tiny Habits recipes: “After I ____ (Established Trigger), I will ____ (Tiny New Behavior) and then I will celebrate. Read BJ Fogg’s book Tiny Habits or work with a Certified Tiny Habits Coach, like me, to learn effective use of this research-based technique.
Wake Up Earlier/Go to Bed Earlier
Sometimes better sleep begins with setting a regular sleep schedule.
Here are tips to get that started:
- After I get sleepy I will start my wind down routine
- I will progressively go to bed earlier (10 minutes earlier for a week, etc)
- After I hear my alarm, I will sit up in bed
- After I set my alarm, I will move it across the room from bed
- After I hear my alarm, I will think of one thing I look forward to today
Healthy Sleep Habits Will Help You Sleep Better at Night
Sleep Hygiene is in effect ALL DAY! It can help prime your body for being awake during active hours and allow rest to come when bedtime gets close.
Here are some ways to establish healthy sleep habits:
- After I finish cleaning up after lunch, I will step outside and stretch in the sun
- After I notice I am sleepy in the afternoon, I will step outside for a quick walk
- After I turn on lights in the evening, I will put on my blue-blocker glasses
- After I clean up my dishes from dinner, I will set my phone to charge in a room that is not the bedroom
- After I notice that it’s dark outside, I will put away my electronics
- After I put my book down in bed, I will put on my eyeshades
- After noticing I am not falling asleep easily, I will get out of bed and write down the thoughts that are going through my head
- After I notice that I am anxious about an upcoming meeting, I will tell myself there is nothing I can do but sleep right now
- After my head hits the pillow, I will notice my breath and consciously inhale for a count of 4, hold for a count of 7 and exhale to a count of 8
General Tips to Get Better Sleep
In general, better sleep at night starts each morning! There are many ways to begin establishing healthy sleep habits and a more solid routine for lasting overall health and well-being.
Here are some guidelines to sleep better at night:
- Try to establish the same bedtime and wake times every day
- Early morning light and late afternoon light can help to reset the body’s circadian clock
- Try a weighted blanket – it reduces anxiety
- If you drink alcohol, don’t drink 2-3 hours before bed
- Magnesium supplements might help you sleep better at night – many people are deficient in magnesium
- Exercise in the morning is best for restful sleep; exercise too close to bedtime can disrupt sleep
- Eat at least 3-4 hours before bed
- Dark and quiet rooms are best to get better sleep
- Cooler temperatures are more conducive to sleep
- Gratitude practices can help with anxiety
If you really want to sleep better at night, start small. It takes consistency and an over-riding commitment to your long-term health to succeed. Think about where you want to be in 6-9 months. What health markers do you want to improve? What do you want to be able to do that you can’t do now?
Start with answers to those questions and then plot a course to consistently get you there. You may want to track your sleep with a journal or use a wearable device to track your progress, and the aid of a coach is priceless.
Whether it’s through getting a handle on addictive tendencies, targeted mobility work, strength training, weight loss, or reducing stress and anxiety, I’m here to show you how to live healthier and happier by helping you gain more agency over your health and life!