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10 Tips to Prepare for a Good Night of Sleep

Getting a good night of sleep might seem like a luxury today but it’s very important for your energy level the next day. When you get enough high-quality sleep you’ll be more energized and productive. Here are ten tips to help you to doze off and to get a good night of sleep.

1. No Screens

Avoid looking at a screen within the last thirty minutes before you go to bed. It stimulates your mind so it becomes more difficult to fall asleep. Screens that use e-ink technology are fine (like the Kindle) but backlit screens should be avoided as much as possible.

2. Read

Reading a book right before bed is a great way to fall asleep. It’s very relaxing and a proven method that works. A good novel will do the trick just fine.

3. Dimmed Lights

Get rid of any bright lights you might have in your bedroom. The bright light prevents your brain from producing melatonin – the hormone that makes you fall asleep. Too much light is also too stimulating for the brain and it will take longer for you to doze off (just like the backlit screen I mentioned earlier). My advice is to replace the lights with dimmers so you can adjust the brightness in your bedroom.

4. Avoid Big and Fatty Meals

Our bodies cannot process food properly while laying down – it’s designed to digest while standing or sitting. Eating too much before bedtime can cause upset stomachs. Also, try to avoid fatty foods. They take up a lot of work to digest and this might keep you up as well. Give yourself at least three hours. That means if you go to be at 10pm, avoid eating dinner after 7pm.

5. Avoid Alcohol

While alcohol does make you doze off quicker – it also reduces your sleep quality. Research has shown that alcohol affects the REM phase – the most restful phase of a sleep cycle. If you have ever experienced sleeping “light” after a night out drinking (you slept for a long period but you still feel somewhat tired) it’s usually due to the decreased quality of sleep. So avoid it as much as possible before bed.

6. Breathing Exercises

The best state to be in before you go to bed is when you are relaxed. If you are stressed or worried about what is coming up – do a couple breathing exercises. Simply lay down, close your eyes and focus on your slow breathing for a couple minutes. The first couple of times you try this will be hard but it gets easier the more you do it. In the beginning thoughts will be racing through your head but the more you do it, the less thoughts will occupy your mind and the more you will see it’s a very relaxing exercise.

7. Worry Journal

Another great way to tackle your worries is by having a worry journal. Grab a journal or a piece of paper and vertically divide it. Right before you go to bed, on the left write down the things that are bothering you. On the right hand column write down a possible solution. If you can’t come up with a solution, write down a date when you will revisit the problem again. Just doing this is very therapeutic and it will clear your worries in your head so you can fall asleep.

8. Distract Yourself

When you distract yourself with something boring you will naturally fall asleep. Here is a simple thing you can do: count backwards from 300 by 3s. This means that you count 297, 294, 291, and so on. This is just challenging enough at the end of the day but it’s so dull at the same time that it works very well. By distracting yourself this way you turn off your mind that allows you to fall asleep.

9. Avoid Caffeine

Everyone knows caffeine helps you stay up longer and should be avoided before going to bed. However, did you know that caffeine has a half life up to eight hours? That means if you have a cup of coffee at 6pm that you could have caffeine in your body till 2am. That’s not very conducive if you want to go to bed early. It’s best to not have any caffeine after 2pm to ensure you can sleep in time.

10. Hot Bath

An age-old trick to fall asleep is by taking a hot bath. Just make sure to take it at least an hour before bedtime. The best water temperature is over 38 Celsius and you need to be in it for at least twenty minutes for this to be effective.

+Thanh Pham is a productivity nerd and enjoys writing about time management and personal productivity over at Asian Efficiency. When he is not traveling the world with his gadgets, he is reading and writing on business, self-help and productivity.

  • Boon

    don’t find reading a good option. cos now when i pick up a book and read, zzz…

  • http://hanofharmony.com/ The Vizier

     Hi Thanh Pham,

    Getting a good night of sleep is vital to our well being.  It might seem like a luxury today, but we have to make every effort to ensure that we sleep well.  I enjoyed reading your 10 tips for getting a good night of sleep.  Here are some of the thoughts that crossed my mind.

    2.  Read

    I agree that reading a book right before bed is a great way to fall asleep.  But the book should not be too exciting or interesting.  I have found myself staying up way too late just to find out what happens next.

    7.  Worry Journal

    This is indeed useful.  I think the key idea here is to face whatever is bothering us and to do all we can to resolve it.  After we have expended our effort in this manner, there is less to worry about and we can sleep better.  

    Thank you for sharing this lovely article!

    Irving the Vizier

  • http://www.lifeaftertampons.com/ Jennifer Boykin

    I love this list.  We just got back from a cruise and I slept like a normal person for what seemed like the first time in my life!  I told my husband that all we need to do is move the house to the middle of the(slowly rocking)  ocean and then we’ll be golden.

    You can put that suggestion in your “reprise” piece.

  • Horacio Lyon Fuentes

    i would change 4… its worst a big carb meal than fatty…. insuline spike will keep you awake… anyone with kids now what happens when they eat sweets before bed

  • http://Mazzastick.com/ Justin Mazza

    Great points in your post. Some nights I fall asleep rather easily and some I don’t. A lot has to do with the amount of activity that I did during the day. 

  • http://www.clintcora.com Clint Cora

    I usually like to end my evenings with some reading in my bedroom while on a comfy leather chair and dimmed lighting.  My two dogs know the routine as they are aware that this is like a ritual before they retire for the night as well.  This ritual not only prepares me to sleep, but helps educate me as well as I believe in regular reading for continuous education.

  • http://www.sweetandsage.com Sage

    Great ideas! I like to read before bed too because it relaxes me. I have a “worry journal” (just a notepad) next to my alarm clock so I can get concerns/ideas out of my head and focus on sleep. I used to have brilliant ideas for my blog while lying awake in bed, but then I’d forget them when I woke up. My notepad works nicely.

  • http://www.indiabroadband.net/ Chahal

    Hello there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it’s truly informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels. I’ll appreciate if you continue this in future. A lot of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  • http://www.indiabroadband.net/ Chahal

    Hello there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it’s truly informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels. I’ll appreciate if you continue this in future. A lot of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  • http://www.mindbongo.com/ Fin

    I love reading before bed. I’ve only been doing it a few years and I feel like I missed out. I’d like to add meditation, though maybe breathing exercises is slightly similar. Anyway, good list.

  • It’s Me!

    What tends to happen with me is that when I actually lie down with the intention of going to sleep, I find myself awake for at least 1 hour and unable to nod off. When I’m just lying down for no apparent reason, whether it’s on the sofa or the bed, I fall asleep with 10 – 15 minutes. Strange behaviour lol. Personally I hate having a bath before sleeping but that’s just down to personal preference I guess. Great article very helpful, thanks.

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  • Kate

    Crossword puzzles. Especially a tough one. Reading the clues repeatedly while skimming over letters over and over is a great way to make yourself sleepy.

  • Vaileria Dennis

    Sleep disorder is a cause of concern today. But majority of the sleep problems are treatable with simple tips. Here are some good night’s sleeping tips which can give you a sound sleep http://tinyurl.com/kw25r2z