Recently updated on September 20th, 2023

Woman sleeping

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Counting sheep. Watching TV. Reading a book.

Your mind runs restlessly as time seems to stand still while you go through another night without good sleep. Sleeplessness is something we’ve all faced at some point during our lives. Some have faced it more than others, of course. The question is, what can we do about it? Well, believe it or not, there are some simple things that you can do to change your daily routine that may go further than you think to get you on the path to better sleep.

The Setting

First, let’s start with the obvious – your bedroom or wherever you are making your place to sleep. Are your mattress and pillows comfortable? Mattresses should be turned over or upgraded every five years or so. Begin with that. If you’re going on more than a couple of handfuls of years since you’ve had a mattress change, it’s time for a replacement. How about those pillows? Can you remember the last time you’ve changed them? If that’s the case, let your friends at Ocean State Job Lot provide you with some peace of mind to turn that around. The savings alone will help not only your state of mind but hopefully your sleep. A good pillow, possibly a memory foam pillow to personalize your sleep, also helps the cause as well.Try our comforters and weighted blankets. Just having something a bit more secure might give your body more willingness to fall asleep.

The other thing to think about is what you use your bedroom for. Does it double as a workplace for you, possibly with a laptop or tablet in hand as you lie in bed? Are you playing video games on your TV? If your bed is being used for things other than sleeping, that could be one of the issues in you getting a good night’s sleep. Train your body and mind into the routine that when you slide into bed, it’s time for one thing and one thing only: sleepy time! Again, this is if your current routine isn’t working. If you can handle multitasking with your space, go for it. If it’s not broken, don’t try to fix it.

Clock, food and coffee icons

The Schedule

Okay, this is BIG and it’s going to take a whole lot of discipline for it to work for you.

1.  Go to bed at the same time on a nightly basis.
Let’s take these one-by-one. It seems obvious. Go to bed at the same time every night. Sure, but try telling that to your children, your social life, your TV viewing, your electronic surfing, and most importantly, yourself. It’s probably one of the most important things you can teach yourself.It’s extremely important to train your body and your brain on the routine of going to bed. By doing the same things on a regular basis, your body will get in tune and in line with knowing what to do during the bedtime hours.

2.  NO large meals or snacks for a few hours before bedtime.
That’s exactly what we’ve been told for years, right? Don’t eat after 8 p.m.! Don’t eat snacks! Don’t chow down an hour or two before you go to bed. These all sound familiar to us, right? Well, they should, but are they right? The answer, according to Healthline is a decidedly maybe.

3.  Stay away from caffeine at least two hours before you try to go to sleep.
This is another good one that’s been out there as myth vs. fact for quite some time now. According to Very Well Health, your body’s metabolism takes about four-to-six hours to break down caffeine. So, do the math from your time of rest until your last cup o’ joe, soda, or chocolate. Does that fit into that window? If it does, then you’re probably okay. If not, you might be staying up a bit later than you expected that night.

man on his phone in bed

What NOT to do

These tips are equally as important as what you are doing to help yourself.

1.  Keep your phone away.
Don’t leave it on the dresser or table next to your bed. If it’s there, it could be a crutch for you to grab, check, read, or play a game while you should be trying to sleep. If you need it in the same room as you for emergencies, keep it plugged in and charging across the room with the ringer on. Don’t give your brain the chance to overstimulate itself if given the chance when you’re trying to do exactly the opposite.

2.  Don’t leave the TV on as you’re trying to go to sleep.
The longer the TV is on, the less likely it will be for you to fall asleep. The lights, the sounds, and the temptation to watch are too much of a distraction.

3.  Keep free of stress.
Harder than it sounds, of course, but worrying about the day’s or the next day’s troubles could keep you up until all hours of the early morning.

4.  Don’t nap.
This one is obvious. The more sleep you get during the day means the less you’ll need that night.

Helpful Hints

In addition to the things you do right before you go to bed, there are some things you can do throughout your day to help later that night. Being physically active or exercising on a daily basis will be beneficial. The more tired your body is during the day will trigger the need for more rest. That’s a good thing. You’ll have to work on getting the right balance as you navigate your daily endeavors.

Secondly, if you feel your stress level increasing, find an outlet to relieve it. Whether it’s writing things down to make sure you have things more under control, reading a book, working out, or going for a walk or drive, that diversion could ease things just enough to allow you the right relaxation later in the day.

Finally, don’t watch an intense show before bedtime. All those dramas may be scheduled for just around 10 p.m., but with streaming, DVRs, and other alternatives, there are ways to get around that in order to keep on your schedule of getting a good night’s rest.

Other Alternatives

There are supplements that are easy to obtain that can help, too! Melatonin and certain teas can be effective in easing you into the nightly slumber. Talk to your doctor to see if there’s something at Ocean State Job Lot or that can be prescribed to help you.

Resource Links:

Mayo Clinic

Harvard Medical School