3 Simple Steps to the Best Sleep of Your Life

There are basic do’s and don’ts in life. Don’t put metal in the microwave; don’t leave the dog alone with your dinner, and don’t expect me to be competent, coherent or cordial without a good night’s sleep and a strong cup of coffee. Seriously. I need my Zzz’s. Without adequate rest I get brain fog, bad moods, and bad hair from all that tossing and turning (okay, my hair’s a mess regardless but you’re missing my point). Good sleep is crucial to a productive day. So here’s the secret to ensuring you sleep well every night.

3 Simple Steps to the Best Sleep of Your Life

  1. Be Consistent & Listen to Your Body 

Sticking to a regular sleep schedule helps train your body and brain. It’s all about habit, and forging a bedtime routine helps you adjust to falling asleep and maintaining good sleep patterns. Set a bedtime and stick to that nightly. Also, don’t sleep in too much on weekends, as more than an hour of extra sleep will throw off your sleep schedule (I admit, I am so guilty of violating this rule). Your body’s circadian rhythms regulate your sleeping patterns as well as your energy and hunger levels. They tell your brain what kind of slumber to seek (deep sleep versus light sleep) and when. Because your most restorative sleep dominates your sleep cycles earlier in the evening, you’ll feel more refreshed and energized if you hit the sack as soon as you feel sleepy. Keeping those dance club hours might seem like a rockstar move, but your body doesn’t like it — and your brain will be dull the following day as a result.

  1. Toss out Technology

If you’re like me, you get tired around ten every evening but don’t actually make it to bed until well after midnight. The latter part of my day is usually the most hectic, and that leaves me writing articles for clients, answering emails, and wrapping up the work day well into the evening. At some point, I crash on my couch with a hot cup of tea, a Netflix lineup, and the World Wide Web on my phone. And try as I might to take my sleepy self to bed, I get stuck in the Facebook feeds, watching Grey’s Anatomy reruns, and pinning awesome recipes to my Healthy Yum Pinterest board. Sound familiar? Technology is a trap, my friends. Don’t let it lure you in with its good-time promises. Shut off your devices a few hours before bed, and do what good girls and boys do: stop playing with your toys! 

  1. Use Bedtime Yoga to Induce Sleep 

Is your brain especially noisy at night, holding high notes like Mariah Carey in her early days? You try to shut down the commotion but that just makes things worse. Then a battle ensues: Shut up brain, you say. No, sir, your brain responds. I’m going to solve the world’s problems and calculate the budget right here in bed. Frustrating, right? On nights like this, you’ll definitely benefit from bedtime yoga. Relaxed stretching has a calming effect on your body and gentle, focused breathwork shifts your thoughts, taking you from that concert in your brain to a calmer place. Take ten minutes to practice a few poses: Child’s pose, Legs Up the Wall pose, even Plow pose. These quintessential resting poses can even be practiced in bed. If you’re not familiar with the asanas, check out the yoga books I recommend for newbies and advanced yogis alike.

Bedtime mantra: Release is the gateway to rest. Just breathe.

Bonus Tip: If you’re still finding it difficult to sleep well after implementing a bedtime routine, try using magnesium as an all-natural alternative to over-the-counter or prescription sleep medicines. It’s a proven sleep aid that works by decreasing cortisol (stress hormones) in the body. I personally have not tried the product, but my  mother (a former insomniac) swears by it.  What’s better than mom’s seal of approval?

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26 Comments
  • Bun Karyudo
    May 2, 2016

    Point two is the hardest one for me. If I struggle, I can do without my smart phone before bed. That’s because I pick up my iPad instead. 🙂

    • Rica Lewis
      May 2, 2016

      Ha ha, Bun! You trade one device for another. It’s tough disconnecting. Thanks for commenting.

  • cheryl wilson-stewart
    May 2, 2016

    Nice post. Sleep is such a challenge especially in the 50’s and beyond. I’ve tried magnesium and melatonin both help:)

    • Rica Lewis
      May 2, 2016

      Yes, hormones are said to make sleep more difficult as we get older. I’m glad you found something that helps, Cheryl! Thanks for reading.

  • Sarah Eliza
    May 2, 2016

    Sleep is so important, I totally agree! Gotta get back into the habit of bedtime yoga, it helps so much… thanks for the tips and reminders!

  • Lori
    May 2, 2016

    Yes, sleep is so important and we tend to push it to the back burner as we push through all that we need to get done for the day. I do struggle with powering down my iPad and phone. It’s something I’m working on. Also, here’s a tip for bed head hair in the morning – invest in a satin or silk pillowcase. Your hair just slides over the pillowcase and doesn’t get messy.

    • Rica Lewis
      May 2, 2016

      Thanks for that hair care tip, Lori. I have heard that one before and I may have to try it. Curls get frizzy in a hurry so that’s what I’m contending with. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Anna Palmer
    May 2, 2016

    Working on it…working on it.

  • Alex
    May 2, 2016

    I NEED to start doing yoga at night to help me sleep!!!

  • Crystal // Dreams, etc.
    May 2, 2016

    I’ve been thinking that I should add some yoga into my routine at night to help prep for sleep. This is a great reminder that I really should.

  • Jennifer
    May 2, 2016

    Great tips. Number 2 is the hardest! I have two phones, two tablets and two laptops. What do I disconnect from first? Reall life or work. Always a daily struggle.

  • Anne Cohen
    May 2, 2016

    These tips are great for sleeping better and more peacefully. I’m a bit sleep deprived currently so I should probably learn to do Yoga like you suggested, and will definitely check out the book.

    • Rica Lewis
      May 2, 2016

      Ha ha! Good idea, Anne. Thanks so much for reading.

  • Karin Rambo
    May 2, 2016

    I really want to try to incorporate bedtime yoga into my routine, but by the time it get’s close to bedtime I’m way to worn out! Any tips for that?

    • Rica Lewis
      May 3, 2016

      Ha ha! Sounds like you don’t actually need help winding down! But you could always do some poses in bed. The stretching feels great and really seals the deal, sleep wise. I adore Legs Up A Wall pose. It’s good for the circulation, too. Check out some Yoga with Adrienne videos on YouTube. She’s got lots of restorative content. Thanks for reading, and keep in touch, Karin!

  • Charlotte
    May 3, 2016

    GREAT post. And yes, I seriously have the hardest time shutting off the brain at night. It’s like as soon as my head hits the pillow, my brain goes into overdrive. “Did I set up the coffee? Did I answer that email? Am I going to have a call with so-and-so tomorrow?”

    I think I’m going to take your advice and start turning off the phone earlier in the evening, because the desire to just glance at it “for a few minutes” while in bed is too overwhelming.

    Thanks for this! XOXO

    • Rica Lewis
      May 3, 2016

      I agree, Charlotte! My brain also goes into overdrive some nights, and I wonder: where was all this productivity when I needed it! Ha ha. Thanks for reading and commenting. Good luck!

  • Ginger Marie
    May 3, 2016

    YES to all of these! I always move my phone to the other side of the room sot hat I don’t feel the need to check it. Plus I love having more room on my bed! haha

    • Rica Lewis
      May 3, 2016

      Ha ha! Good strategy, Ginger. Out of sight, out of mind! Thanks for reading.

  • Silly Mummy
    June 11, 2016

    My sleep routines and sleep are terrible. & I’m always trying to work and catch up on things late at night, then end up watching TV after to relax a bit, but know the screen time is not good.

    • Rica Lewis
      June 11, 2016

      I do the same, Silly Mummy. I’m working on it, but I can sometimes be a rebel when it comes to routines!

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