8 Tips to Help You Sleep Better

I have always been a morning person. Or should I say I was once always a morning person. Then college happened. To put it lightly, I began to sleep the sleep of a drunk teenage boy at a frat party.  I mostly chalked this up to be due to my senior year of college and the toll that it took on my mental state – staying up so late that I called going to bed “taking a nap” since it wasn’t long enough to constitute a night’s sleep.
But then I graduated from college, got a real job and a husband and I still found myself staying up into the wee hours of the morning. This left me feeling groggy when I woke up at 7:45am with barely enough time to rush to work where I would feel sleepy and unproductive. I knew that something had to change so I started following these great tips to getting a better night’s sleep and becoming a morning person. I have never felt so productive- I feel like I have an extra five hours in my day! 
1.     Wake up earlier.
This is a blatantly obvious one but for me it took some real doing. I started very gradually and I would suggest the same method to anyone else. Each morning I would wake up 10 minutes earlier. Instead of 8am I’d wake up at 7:50 which doesn’t seem so different.  Gradually I got myself set at waking up at 6am and it didn’t feel so rough.
2.     Stretch before hitting the hay
Have you ever noticed that after a yoga class your entire body feels ready for bed? Stretching your body does wonders for ability to relax and sleep! Even if it is just 5 minutes, taking the time to do some pre-sleep stretches is a great idea for sleeping and staying flexible!
3.     Get ready for bed before you are tired.
This has probably had the biggest impact on me. I used to stay on our couch eating chips and drinking wine while watching reruns of the Office until it was so late that I passed out. Once that happened I would become a zombie as my husband corralled me upstairs to bed where I would (with embarrassing frequency) sometimes skip washing my face or brushing my teeth. Now at 9pm I go upstairs wash my face, apply moisturizer and brush my teeth. This doesn’t mean I go right to bed, it just means I have sleep on the brain and I am ready for it!
4.     Drink sleepy time tea
Or really any tea without caffeine in it. I usually make a cup at around 8pm after dinner and dessert and find that not only does it get me calm and nodding off, it also fills me up so that I won’t crave a snack as I am lying in bed dozing off. I like to put a little honey and some coconut in it for added density and deliciousness.
5.     Get a calming lavender spray
I spray our pillows with “calming lavender spray” every night before bed. I am not entirely convinced that it makes me sleepy, but damn does it make the sheets smell good.
6.     Read a calming bookI used to read books like “Girl with The Dragon Tattoo” or “Gone Girl” right before bed….and subsequently I would stay up until 3am trying to finish the amazing but intense book. Not only are these types of cliffhanger books totally addictive page turners, they are also the kind that keep your mind reeling long after you should have nodded off. Reading before bed though is a really good idea you just have to choose the right one.  Now I have been reading two books at a time, one cliffhanger like “The Girl on the Train” for the pool or public transportation and another that is a little more calm like “The Happiness Project” for bedtime.
7.     Be anti-screen after 9pm!!!
This is probably one of the most helpful tips I have heard and you will hear it a lot, don’t look at a screen within an hour of bed! I know it is so hard and we are all dying to know if we got one more Instagram like just before shutting our eyes, I am an offender too, but it is so bad for your sleep. Screens help keep you awake (I actually sometimes look at my iphone first thing in the morning to wake myself up!) so nixing them is naturally a great sleep aid.
8.     If all else fails, get a dog.
I don’t know about you other dog-owners but the second that we got Waldo our mornings started at 6am when he whines to go out. You have to be pretty awake to take your dog on a walk in three feet of snow and it definitely not only wakes me up early but it gets me active early. Thank you my furry alarm clock! 
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