Sleep is so essential to good health and that is why I discuss it here in one of my first blog posts. Difficulty falling asleep at night and staying asleep through the night is a big problem for so many.
When I talk about essential oils with people, one question I get a lot is, “What can I use for sleep? I have a hard time sleeping at night.” While I enjoy answering their question, there is so much more that can be done to aid in a good night’s rest. I do recommend calming essential oils for an improved sleep experience, but it may not be enough for some if there are some other issues that need to be addressed. For the most part, I wake up feeling well rested, but I have worked at it. I’m constantly trying to find ways to improve my family’s sleep knowing how important sleep is for good health.
Can you relate?
Some people struggle to fall asleep within 20 minutes, some wake up during the night several times or for hours during the night, and some feel like they were half awake the whole night. A poor night’s sleep can be a huge damper to staying focused, energized, kind and motivated throughout the day. There are many reasons that drive me to make sure I get a good night’s sleep beside being a health and wellness enthusiast. Or should I say, when I don’t get a good night’s sleep I can pretty much predict that I will be unproductive, be prone to brain fog, be stressed by even the littlest things, snap at those around me, and have food cravings that sometimes last for days.
Here are my 17 top suggestions to a good night’s sleep in no particular order.
1. Diffuse calming essential oils
Diffuse calming essential oils in a diffuser at your bedside. If you don’t have access to a diffuser, then put a drop of essential oil on your pillowcase or a tissue. If you or someone around you can’t stand the smell of lavender, then put a drop diluted with a dime size amount of carrier oil on the bottom of your feet. My personal favorite essential oil blend for sleep is doTERRA Serenity Restful Blend which is a blend of Lavender, Cedarwood, Ho Wood, Ylang Ylang, Marjoram, Roman Chamomile, Vetiver, Vanilla, and Hawaiian Sandalwood. It smells amazing too! Some of the single essential oil choices to promote a restful sleep are Lavender, Bergamot, Cedarwood, Petitigrain, and Roman Chamomile.
2. Blue-blocking glasses a.k.a amber glasses
Amber glasses are very cheap on Amazon and well worth it. Put these on once it’s dark outside and especially when you’re using electronics in the evening. It is to protect you from the blue light so your body can be producing melatonin to get you ready to sleep. I don’t always remember to use these, but when I do I feel noticeably calmer when I turn out the lights. My eyes feel less strained too.
3. Blackout curtains
Blackout blinds or blackout curtains. I have had blackout blinds installed whenever I have moved into a new home because of how important they are to my sleep. I have used blackout curtains before too and they work just as well. It’s just a matter of your personal taste.
4. Eye mask cover
Sleep wearing an eye mask cover to block out all light. I found these to be very helpful when my husband turns on the light if he goes to bed after me or wakes up before me. As long as he is quiet enough, I stay sleeping undisturbed.
5. White noise
Sleep with white noise using an air purifier or even a fan in the warmer months. I use an air purifier at its highest setting and it drowns out a lot of noise that has aided me over the years towards an uninterrupted sleep. Believe me, this is how I got through working the night shift for so many years.
6. Be careful about when and how long you take a nap
If you are a going to take a nap, keep it to 20 minutes or less, and not too late into the day.
7. Turn off electronics
Turn electronics off at least 2 hours before bed. I know this one is hard for me to stick to also. This is due to the blue light that is emitted from the screen which can affect the quality of our sleep without even knowing it. This can be easier said than done, though. If this is too much of a struggle try baby steps and make it no electronics at least 1 hour before bed. If working late at night on the computer is a must, then there is another way to minimize the damage of the blue screen. I know my iPhone has a night shift setting and there are apps that filter blue light. If your phone doesn’t come with this built-in option then you can take a look at Just Get Flux for your phone and computer. It’s free for Windows.
8. Make the bedroom a technology free zone
A technology free bedroom; no phone, computer, tablet, or game console. It’s too tempting to use and it can make your mind too alert making it difficult to fall asleep. If you really want to go all in, I would even recommend not setting an alarm clock if you are one that wakes up after a set number of hours anyway.
9. Resolving disputes before bedtime
Resolve any disputes before bedtime which may involve forgiving someone or ourselves. I really can’t sleep well if I am too upset about something. Most things I get upset about are within my power to resolve. A dispute can cause us emotional and physical distress in the short-term by affecting the quality of our sleep and making us more stressed. Ongoing unresolved disputes can even cause physical symptoms like an increase in anxiety and increase your risk of illness and disease. If this is something you struggle with, I would recommend an essential oil blend to use topically called doTERRA Past Tense. It is amazing how effective it is to calm emotions that are running high!
10. Supplement with Magnesium
I use a magnesium supplement within a couple hours before bed. I keep several options on hand; Magnesium Ease, Calm, Magnesium L-Threonate capsules, and Epsom Salts to use in a bath. I prefer capsule form and my kids like the topical spray. Magnesium has so many benefits and one of them is that it is calming to the body.
11. Read for relaxation
Read an enjoyable book for at least a few minutes. I have gone into my night routine wired and once I finished reading a few pages of my book, I have felt so much more relaxed and ready to sleep.
12. Drink a glass of water
Drink a glass of water since our bodies tend to dehydrate at night. Just make sure you empty your bladder right before your head hits the pillow.
13. Keep a gratitude journal
Write in a gratitude journal. Going to sleep being grateful is so healthy for the body, mind, and spirit.
14. Use the right pillow and bed
Sleep on a bed and use a pillow that you sleep comfortably on. Everyone has different needs for their bed and pillow. My husband is happy with our Tempurpedic bed, but I find it too hard. Someday I want to buy an Intellibed! If you sleep on your stomach, you will want a flatter pillow and if you sleep on your side, like most, then you will want a higher pillow to support your neck. Standard pillows lose their form after awhile and the pillow should be replaced if you notice that your head isn’t being supported anymore.
15. Have a bedtime routine
Parents can be pretty good at making bedtime routines for their kids, but adults need them to. Have a bedtime routine that you can reliably do every night so that it becomes a habit. Sticking to a bedtime routine that is on auto-pilot can help your body to continue its process to prepare for a good night’s sleep. Keep it very simple to just a few things too.
16. Keep a bedtime
Go to bed at the same time every night. Make it a realistic goal and do your best to keep within the hour of that time every single night, even on weekends. The easiest way to decide on your bedtime is to figure out when you need to wake up in the morning, decide how many hours you want to sleep, count back how many hours you chose and that can be your bedtime. When testing this process, start with allowing 8 hours of sleep and you may find that you can get by with less, or may even need more.
17. Pray or meditate
Cap off the night with a prayer or meditation. This is great for the soul!
There you have it, my top 17 favorite suggestions for a good night’s sleep that I earnestly try to work into my own life and some days I am more successful than others.
Please don’t get overwhelmed with this list. You can start with just one or two, to begin with. I’d love to hear in the comments below which of these suggestions you want to give a go?