How to Sleep Well at Night | 6 Easy Tips

Falling asleep can be so frustrating! Here are six tips to help you sleep well at night, along with some tools to help the process along.

lavender bunches on wicker tray

Falling asleep can be hard. It can be stressful and take hours. I’m sure we all know how frustrating it is to be tired, but unable to fall asleep. Most nights I sleep OK…once I fall asleep. For me, falling asleep is the challenge. For others, who have no trouble falling asleep, staying asleep is the challenge. Either way, I have a few tips that will make the entire process a little easier, so you can experience quality sleep at night.

chamomile tea ingredients how to sleep better at night

We run a marathon called life every day. We don’t need to run another one at night. All these tips work, but they don’t all work, all the time. You may need to try them in different combinations. We all need enough quality sleep at night to get us through the day. Sleep affects everything…our state of well-being, and our attitude.

I have been using all these tips for several years. I waited to share them to make sure that they worked…at least some of the time.  There have been many nights when all I wanted was to close my eyes and sleep, but it just wasn’t happening. A night of poor sleep can ruin the next day. So I did my own research, asked questions, and tried different things. These are the simple tips that have helped me the most. I’m happy to say that I’m sleeping better, I’m getting enough sleep, and falling asleep isn’t as difficult.

Disclosure

I am not a medical professional or a member of the medical community in any way. These tips are not medical advice, but rather simple suggestions to help you sleep well at night. If you aren’t comfortable with these ideas, please disregard them.

Don’t use electronics the hour before retiring.

We all like to stay plugged in and connected via our electronic devices. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops are not only accessible, they are portable. In other words, it’s easy to take them to bed. This can make falling asleep pretty difficult because of two reasons.

First, the light and sound from your device can stimulate your brain. Peace and quiet are what you need to fall asleep…not stimulation. Second, to fall asleep easily, you need to clear your mind. Checking your email quickly or liking a few Facebook posts will definitely NOT clear your mind. It will make your mind race and before you know it, sleep is hours away.

herbal tea in cups and saucers

Enjoy a cup of Chamomile tea.

Chamomile is an herb that is a member of the daisy family, and super easy to grow. Tea brewed from the dried flower heads of a chamomile plant has a fruity flavor and is delicious. The plant contains a flavonoid called chrysin which is known to be a relaxant as well as a sleep-aid. Drinking a cup of chamomile tea 30 minutes before bedtime can actually have a mild tranquilizer effect, and make it easier to relax. A person who is relaxed will sleep much better than one who is tense and stressed. Chamomile tea can be purchased in ready-to-brew bags, or you can brew your own from dried blooms. Bring a cup of fresh water to a boil. Add 2 to 3 teaspoons of dried chamomile. Let the tea steep for 5 minutes. Using a strainer, pour directly into a tea cup. Add milk or honey for a bit of added taste.

miniature schnauzer sleeping on dog bed
So tired after our walk!

Exercise regularly.

Regular exercise has so many benefits that it is impossible to list them all. It is widely acknowledged in the medical field that some sort of exercise routine not only contributes to your good health, it also helps you fall asleep easier, and stay asleep. There are benefits to exercising during the daytime. Relaxed muscles, alertness, and less risk of injury are just a few.

Regular exercise is something I have struggled with my entire life. The one thing that gets me out of the house for a walk is our little dog, Millie. I know it’s good for her, and it’s good for me too!

For a good night’s sleep, try to avoid working out in the evening…especially right before bedtime. The good things you experience during a workout are the very things that may hinder you from falling asleep. Sweating due to increased body temperature, increased heart rate, and general stimulation will all make it harder to fall asleep. By scheduling your workouts during the day, you can avoid any possibility of hindering your sleep.

Keep a schedule.

Everyone has a body clock, or circadian rhythm. That internal time-keeper that tells you when to wake, when to eat, and when to sleep. By keeping that body clock regulated, you will find that you not only function better, but you will feel better too. Going to sleep and waking up at the same general time every day will help that body clock do its job. When your body clock is in tune, you will fall asleep easier, and experience a more restful night’s sleep. So set those alarm clocks at the same time every day!

fresh lavender stems in basket

Use lavender essential oil.

Like chamomile, the lavender plant also has relaxing capabilities. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “lavender has been shown to decrease heart rate and blood pressure, potentially putting you in a more relaxed state.” I love the scent of lavender, and use it at bedtime in two ways. First, I use lavender essential oil on my temples and the inside of my wrists. The aroma is gentle, but definitely present. Second, I use lavender linen spray on my pillows. I keep a bottle beside by bed and lightly spritz my pillow cases. Since adding lavender to my bedtime routine, I have much less tossing and turning while trying to fall asleep.

lavender buds on grain sack towel

Make your bed every morning.

This may seem like an odd tip, but it’s definitely worth mentioning. Making your bed every morning will help your bedtime routine be more relaxing. On days when I DON’T make my bed, I get slightly annoyed when I walk into my room at bedtime. I have to take the time to straighten the covers and plump the pillows, which is just one more thing to do. On days when I DO make my bed, upon walking into my bedroom at night, I sort of breathe a sigh of relief. Everything is in order. The bed is welcoming and neat. It makes getting into bed and falling asleep an easier and more pleasant experience.

Bonus Tip #1

I want to share one more tip that has made a difference. One life-change I am trying to make, and I’m not always successful, is to stop eating after dinner. When I don’t eat in the evening, I sleep better. It’s easier to fall asleep, and I don’t have to prop myself up as much. It’s just basically more comfortable. I hope it also helps me to drop a few pounds, but the jury is still out on that! The most important thing is that it makes me feel better…and that’s always a good thing. Additional things to avoid before bedtime are caffeine and alcohol.

Bonus Tip #2

For the last year, I have added melatonin to my bedtime routine. I asked my doctor about the dosage, and she suggested a low dose, which is between 2 and 5 mg. Melatonin is a hormone that has few side effects. Like all of the tips listed above, sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t, but I wanted to at least mention it.

Bonus Tip #3

Relaxation techniques and meditation are also known to help you sleep well at night. The easiest way to access these methods is online. For example, a simple search on YouTube will give you access to many different videos that can introduce you to these methods, and help you find what’s right for you.

More tips

  • Fans and/or white noise can sometimes help you fall asleep at night. My grandchildren fall asleep to white noise every night!
  • A shower or warm bath right before bed can help you relax, which makes falling asleep easier.
  • A totally dark room is also something many people need at night. Close those curtains and blinds, and think about adding a sleep mask.
  • Keep a sleep diary. Record what you eat in the evening, and any habits that could affect your sleep.

Tips from OSP Readers

When this post was first published back in 2017, many OSP readers shared helpful tips in the comment section. There are many great suggestions, so I gathered them together below.

  • Along with chamomile tea, passion flower tea was recommended. Drink a cup before bedtime.
  • To battle the glare from the blue light that electronic devices emit, try amber glasses. More information can be found HERE.
  • Get down on the floor and do some easy, light stretching (or yoga poses if you are familiar with them) and breath deeply while doing so. After 3 or 4 minutes of that, get into Child’s Pose (from Yoga) and take 3 or 4 more deep breaths. #2: Even after that, when you settle into bed, do a deep breathing exercise where you again take 3 or 4 slow, long deep breaths. Apparently the long, slow deep breathing signals the nervous system that its time to calm down.”
  • Add 250 mg. of magnesium before bedtime. It helps to process Vitamin D and can help you fall asleep. Please consult a physician before adding any supplements or medications to your diet.
  • Invest in the best mattress you can afford!

If you are visiting here for the first time, welcome to On Sutton Place. If you’ve been here before, welcome back. Thank you for sharing a bit of your day with me…

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31 Comments

  1. MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) says:

    Ann, I just can’t thank you enough for sharing so much of yourself and your great ideas with us. I know you spend so much time on your posts and I appreciate you so much.

    This post was so helpful. You have such great suggestions for us to try. You are such a special lady. Bless you, Ann, for all you do in making our life better.

    Have a great week!

  2. Hi Ann! Thank you for all the great tips. I added passion flower tea to my shopping list. Truly enjoy your blog. Have a great weekend.

  3. Amy @ Ms. Toody Goo Shoes says:

    I’ve had trouble sleeping for years. I recently saw a product on the Today show called This Works. I bought the Deep Sleep Breathe In roll-on which is a combination of essential oils that I dab onto my wrist pulse points and deeply inhale it in. I find it incredibly soothing. I was skeptical, but I think the combo of the scent, and the slow, deep breathing to inhale it definitely calms me down.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing this…I will add it to the post!

  4. Terri Herman says:

    Thanks for this refresher column! I ordered the linen spray-I had some a long time ago but had forgotten about how much I enjoyed the scent until you mentioned it. Sweet dreams, Ann!

  5. Thank you for this post! I will not eat dinner this evening and see what happens.

  6. Jeanie Nichols says:

    I don’t always take time to comment on each blog, but I just wanted you to know how much I
    enjoy reading each and everyone of them. I have used so many of your recipes. Thank you so much.

  7. Cecilia from Georgia says:

    I was not aware that Chamomile is a relaxant! I needed this post to help me get to sleep and rest better at night. These tips are great!

  8. HI Ann, this is a great post – I have trouble sleeping but it’s mostly hormone related. One thing I have found works really well is Passionflower tea instead of chamomile. It’s much better to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. I’ve given it to some of my friends and they have also reported amazing results. One person said he hadn’t had a good nights sleep in two years until I gave him some to try.
    Thought it worth mentioning.
    Carol

  9. Greetings Ann~ I can relate to what is shared. If my routine walking (1 – 1.5 hours) doesn’t happen in the morn, it’s not going to because I am a morning person! Also, re the electronic devices/TV, for years after watching TV or being on my iphone I was encountering restlessness when going to bed. Finally and reluctantly went to the doctor, and he didn’t know what to make of it which admittedly I was surprised! Doing my own research I had determined it was the blue light from these devices that was affecting my ability to sleep. I purchased a pair of amber color glasses which are used for TV watching (though I do minimal of this). Drastic improvement was made, and a happy dance ensues! Here’s the link re the glasses and tests that were done resulting in the creation of the glasses (if this is not ok to post, then please remove this part). Blue light is for real, and there are more articles noting such compared to the past, so if some of you are having problems sleeping, look into this further. http://nymag.com/strategist/article/blue-light-blocking-glasses-work.html

  10. Ann — All of these are great ideas, many of which I already incorporate. Here are two more which have made drastic changes in allowing me to fall as sleep quickly. #1 – Get down on the floor and do some easy, light stretching (or yoga poses if you are familiar with them) and breath deeply while doing so. After 3 or 4 minutes of that, get into Child’s Pose (from Yoga) and take 3 or 4 more deep breaths. #2: Even after that, when you settle into bed, again take a 3 or 4 slow, long deep breaths. Apparently the long, slow deep breathing signals the nervous system that its time to calm down. When I do this, I am (90%) of the time asleep with in minutes, if not seconds. And when I don’t…tossing and turning ensues. I hope this helps!

    1. Cecilia from Georgia says:

      👍🏻 Will give it a try!

  11. I do have a problem falling asleep. I don’t eat after supper and stop using my tablet at 8pm. This seems to help. Thanks for your helpful hints.

  12. There are times I simply pass out. But many a night I am roaming around til 6 am. Most of it is medicine and pain. Some of it is remembering. I am going to ask my son to buy me some of that tea. I don’t eat after dinner. But I am guilty of reading from my phone. On the nights I can’t sleep.

  13. This is so dearly appreciated… Thank you!

  14. Becky Johns says:

    Ann, your gentle spirit is reflected in your posts which off steady, helpful ways to cheer us and help us do things with grace and beauty. Thank you so much for your ideas and for sharing yourself with us. You are a great friend to have!

  15. Great article! I did not know that lavender decreases blood pressure. I have a stressful week, I think I may cut some of my lavender and wear a sprig each day!

    Regards from Australia

  16. Many of these tips I am using and nice to see that I am on the right track. Not eating before bed has been a big help, not only in sleep but helping to keep my weight down. Thanks for the helpful ideas!!

  17. Barbara Kemp says:

    Ann,

    Has anyone said this? Absolutely no televisions in the bedroom, NO NOT EVER, and especially for children.

  18. Norma Rolader says:

    Oh wow!!! I so needed this post!! Thank you for all your great informations Have a blessed weekend

  19. All of your suggestions are valid and helpful. But I would add one more thing – 250mg of Magnesium . I’m Vitamin D deficient and while doing a little research on the matter I read about the importance of magnesium in the body’s processing of Vit. D. So I started taking one every night. Imagine my surprise when that first night I slept all the way through. Like so many, I don’t have trouble falling asleep but if I wake up it will be hours before I fall back asleep. That’s not a problem for me anymore. Of course, before anyone tries this please check with your family doctor and make sure it’s safe for you. Happy dreams!

    1. Thank you Amy! I take Vitamin D but not Magnesium. I am going to ask my dr. if I should add it. I’m willing to try anything!

  20. Thanks for these tips.
    My doctor told me that we are meant to fast 12 to 14 hours per day, and I’ve started following that. After I eat dinner (or dessert), I note the time and make a mental note not to take in any calories until at least 12 hours have passed. So, if I eat a snack at 10:00 pm, I can’t eat again until 10:00 am the next morning. Even a cup of tea with sugar or honey resets the clock for me.
    I find knowing I won’t eat again for 12 hours is enough of a deterrent for late night eating. I find that I’m sleeping better, and it’s a way to lose a few pounds.
    Sweet dreams!

    1. This is so interesting because I have been reading about intermittent fasting. I would love to try it but I was under the impression the fast had to be 16 hours. That would be really hard for me. I could definitely do 12 or 14. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate it!

  21. Thanks for these tips Ann! I would add just one more thing – don’t try to save money on your mattress (buy the best you can afford). I think it’s not an unimportant thing for a good sleep. -Sam

    1. Rebecca McCabe says:

      Sam you are right about the mattress being vitally important for a good nights rest!

  22. Praying when I can’t sleep is something I’ve done for a long time. I start with thinking of church members..I picture them sitting in the pews and pray for specific needs. Again thank you for your blog. It remains one of my three favorites.

  23. Marlene Stephenson says:

    I don’t have trouble falling asleep but if i wake up, its hours before i can get back to sleep, thanks for these tips and i will try some of them.

  24. Hi Ann
    Thank you for your honesty and transparency. You are the real deal!
    You allow your life experiences to be used to help your readers on every level, not just decorating and entertaining.
    When I found your blog several years ago I felt like I was “coming home”. I had just lost my mom and was needing a warm nurturing touch. I found it in you and I still do every time I open your post.
    Love you Ann! Sending virtual hugs❣

  25. I read your tips on sleeping. I agree! Lately i have tried (note tried), to cut out snacks at night. It not only helped my sleep but it seems to keep away bad dreams. Also I have to make my bed every day. I find it stressful to walk in the room at nite and see an unmade bed. A nice neat made is such a comforting site. Thanks for your tips.

    1. Alice-try brushing your teeth right after dinner. Most of us don’t want to brush and floss again and so skip the snack. Sounds simple but aren’t so many of life’s problems solved with simple actions?