Getting a good night’s rest has always been on the bottom of my list. It was the first thing to go when I had a busy week at school and needed more hours in the day to work on assignments.
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Being a college student and constant worrier, I used to sleep on average 4-5 hours a night (and very lightly at that). I always felt worn down and began napping every evening.
Studies show that partial and total sleep deprivation can be detrimental to working memory, decision making, and long-term memory. This means if you aren’t getting an appropriate amount of sleep each night, you aren’t functioning at your full capacity each day.
Interestingly enough, the same study stated that many people become chronically sleep deprived as they repetitively prioritize other things like work or school ahead of sleep, “…people tend to stretch their capacity and compromise their nightly sleep, thus becoming chronically sleep deprived”.
A few months ago I went to bed a little earlier for a few nights in a row and noticed a big difference.
At first, I thought “oh I just had time to get a lot of sleep this week” but in reality, I was just consistently getting my 8 hours, which I found to be my appropriate amount and what I need to fully function.
8 hours seemed like a luxury to me, but now its a priority.
I no longer dread getting out of bed, look forward to naps, or feel lethargic during the day.
I started making a ritual of going to bed, doing things to wind down and making a good night’s rest a priority by doing my homework and chores earlier in the day so I can relax at night.
Here are some of the things that help me fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer:
1. Clear the Clutter
I remember lying down at night and looking at the laundry basket across the bedroom and thinking “wow I really have to do that tomorrow”, which would lead to me thinking of all the other chores and tasks I had, which would lead to me being extremely stressed out. I felt cramped by the clothes basket, so I totally removed it from the room.
Sometimes doing something as simple as removing stressful clutter like clothes in the floor, junk around the room like water bottles, or even the laundry basket can make you rest easier.
I choose to make my bedroom a place I can totally relax and think about nothing but resting and sleeping.
2. Use a Sound Machine
If you live in an apartment complex or a loud area this is amazing! My best friend and I used to share an apartment where we dealt with a lot of neighbors and noise. Our neighbors woke me up every single night and morning and I was stressed and anxious constantly.
My husband and I live in a quieter area now, but it’s still an apartment complex with people coming in and out at all hours of the day and night. To combat this I now sleep with a fan on as well as a sound machine with the “thunderstorm” setting. Both of these together not only make me incredibly sleepy, but they block out the noise of my neighbors, helping me destress and relax.
If you have an Amazon Echo you can install different apps (I use “Sleep Sounds”) and use those in place of a traditional sound machine!
3. Try Scented Lotion or Aromatherapy
I had people tell me this before but I honestly thought it was insane. How could a smell make you sleepy?
However, I bought Bath and Body Works “Sleep” aromatherapy lotion and applied it every night before I went to sleep, and it totally knocked me out.
Others swear by the Lush “sleepy lotion” as well as Johnson’s nighttime baby lotion.
Essential oils like lavender are also great for diffusing or applying directly to your skin and can help you relax and fall asleep.
No matter what you use, the relaxing scent acts as part of a nightly routine, which can help your body understand its time to relax and shut down.
4. Create a Routine
Creating a routine that is a priority has been the primary thing that has helped me sleep much better. Every night around 10 P.M. I head upstairs. I use sleepy-time lotion, turn on my fan and sound machine, and crack open a book until I get sleepy. I do this every single night, and I have seen great success in the quality of my sleep, but most importantly I feel so much better now that I am getting enough of it!
My body knows what to expect and is able to relax and shut down at the end of the day.
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Do you have any habits or tips on how to sleep better or develop a nightly routine? Comment down below 🙂