5 Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

April 10, 2017

Research proves sleep is important. In fact, it plays an essential role in a person’s ability to be productive and healthy.

While experts say that everyone needs 7-8 hours of solid slumber every night, many individuals argue they can be at their best with less. Regardless, the fact remains that a good night’s sleep, however you define that, is essential.

While I still sometimes struggle getting a good night’s sleep, doing so is no longer a constant struggle like it used to be. Most nights, I now sleep a full 7 hours and wake feeling refreshed. This doesn’t happen by chance. I’ve learned that I have a great deal of control over how well I sleep, something I didn’t always believe to be true.

5 Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

These tips are mostly based on my personal struggle with sleep over the years. However, what I learned by trial and error is actually supported by what experts recommend too.

  1. Consider supplements. Some people swear by prescription sleep aids, but I never liked the results and side effects. Some people take melatonin every night before bed to help them fall asleep quickly. For me, drinking tea with valerian and/or chamomile works best. Everyone is different, and it’s okay to experiment a bit in order to find out what works.
  2. Evaluate your environment. While my husband can sleep with the lights on or off and with noise or quiet, I need almost total darkness and complete silence. The temperature of the room matters too. I don’t like to be too cold, but my mother loves to have the window open when it’s freezing outside. Getting a consistent environment can go a long way in getting a good night’s sleep.
  3. Experiment with tools. Tools for sleeping include eye masks, ear plugs, white noise (a fan, for example), a body pillow, and an electric blanket. Again, play with these different tools to see what helps you sleep better. While the electric blanket is the only one I use at home (we live in Michigan, and the nights can get quite cold, especially when my husband is traveling for work), I do use ear plugs sometimes when traveling (like when camping). I have also used an eye mask in the past when I wanted to take a nap or could not control the room’s lighting.
  4. Change your bedtime routine. Caffeine and alcohol or wine too close to bedtime can affect how a person sleeps, and so can viewing any type of media screen (television, smart phone, computer, etc.). Think about what you do after 8:00PM that may be contributing to your sleep problems.
  5. Think about how you rest. Some people struggle sleeping at night because they replay their day over and over again in their minds. They struggle with how to relax. Counteracting this happens in a variety of ways. Ideas include writing down thoughts before going to bed and finding ways to relax during the day to prevent stress building up. Some people find that a power nap every afternoon helps them relax and feel less stressed at the end of the day. Others use full-body muscle relaxation techniques, and still others employ stretching and exercise to reduce stress.

Find What Works for You

The combination of techniques is unique to every individual. In addition, work toward as much consistency as possible with your routine. This includes getting up and going to sleep at about the same time every day, even during vacation and on weekends.

The benefits of a good night’s sleep include increased productivity, consistent energy levels and improved relationships. It also results in a more positive outlook on life. In fact, a good night’s sleep is an essential building block for EVERY area of life.

Don’t neglect this crucial proponent of good health. Simply put, being well-rested is one of the best ways to be ready to “make the most of every opportunity.” (See Ephesians 5:15-16). This was a huge motivation for me to improve my sleep routine. Getting a good night’s sleep goes a long way in helping me to be consistently at my best.

If you consistently sleep well, how do you make that happen? If you don’t, what will you try to hopefully change that?

9 Responses to “5 Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep”

  1. Barb Says:

    Interesting post, Kari. I hadn't heard that before about computer screens before bedtime – I'll have to see if it works! I usually fall asleep easily but wake up after five hours, often refreshed and ready to go. I usually get up because I hate to lie in bed trying to get to sleep again, but then get tired later in the day.

    I think what I really need to do is learn how to turn off my brain so I don't start thinking about what i need to do that day at 3:30 in the morning. My latest thing is to say I can't work til after 5:00, so if I wake up at 3:30 I just have a really long time with God. So far it hasn't prevented me from getting up that early – but at least I'm not tempted to cut my quiet times short to get to work!

    • Kari Scare Says:

      I think it's about the stimlation. For example, I can watch some movies and TV shows before bed and not others. Depends on how much they get my mind going. Video games and computers tend to stimulate us too much and hinder our ability to relax in a way that promotes sleep. Your solution for when you wake up early is terrific. More time with God is always a good thing, and I truly appreciate your discipline in not working during that time.

  2. One thing that I've found works for me (although I don't always do this, haha) is to get in a routine. Try to go to wake up and go to sleep pretty much around the same time every day.

    • Kari Scare Says:

      I fought this for a long time. I like to stay up late (I'm naturally a late-night person), but it just doesn't work with kids who have to get off to school. So, I finally gave in to having a routine, and I definitely do feel better. Works well for my kids too to have a wake/sleep routine.

  3. melaniewilson601 Says:

    I have always slept well until my 40s. Now I have hormonal changes in my sleep pattern that have me giving thanks for the great sleep I've always had. As a psychologist, I can say you give excellent sleep advice! Another thing I do is not look at the clock if I'm having trouble sleeping and not worry about how sleep I get. I know the Lord can have me feeling great with very little sleep. Just subscribed to the blog! Keep up the great writing!

    • Kari Scare Says:

      Maybe my hormones are changing to give me better sleep now that I'm approaching 40 (4 months away). Let's hope for that. Not looking at the clock is a good idea. Time just goes so much more slowly that way too. Thanks for subscribing I look forward to more insightful comments.

  4. Bill (cycleguy) Says:

    I know much of my sleep is determined by what I do before and what I am thinking about. Most of the time I hit the pillow and fall to sleep. Bike wrecks have played havoc with my sleep patters in a big way (very few full night's sleep) but I know what I need to function on the next day. Good suggestions Kari.

    • Kari Scare Says:

      All we can do is be as consistent as possible with our habits, and most of the time we'll get a good night's sleep. When that is disrupted, we just need to do our best with sticking to a routine and getting past the rough spots.

  5. Andy Says:

    I spent most of my childhood days in a hostel, so I mind got automatically trained to sleep well in a noisy atmosphere. This habit has helped me a lot, and I feel uncomfortable to sleep anywhere, and at any place.
    ~Use this guide

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