4 Tips for Better Sleep Tonight

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I’m a pretty solid sleeper.  In fact, I come from a long family line of “immediate sleepers”.  We lay down on the pillow and, in less than 10 seconds, we’re fast asleep.  Now … leaping tall buildings or flying would be cool, but I’ll settle for falling asleep quickly as my super power.

Staying asleep is another story.

Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night, toss and turn and end up feeling groggy the next morning.

In an effort to better myself and my sleep, I picked up a book called Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson which focuses on “21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to a Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success”.

I was able to fly through this book in a little over a week on audiobook. Overall, I really enjoyed Shawn’s brand of combining science, humor and real life practical benefits.

All 21 strategies mentioned in the book are thorough and helpful, but 4 stood out to me that I could implement immediately.

Turn off the Cell Phone

Author Shawn Stevenson’s Recommendation

No screen time 2 hours before bed time and remove all electronic devices like TV’s, cell phones and laptops from your bedroom.

The Changes I’ve Made

When I get home from work around 6pm, I immediately turn off my cell phone and place it on the charger in my room.  This has already benefited me in three ways:

    1. I am focused on my wife and kids when I get home from work and not focused on text messages or work emails.
    2. When I fall asleep, I’m not disturbed by notifications that pop up on my phone.
    3. If the phone is off, I’m not tempted to stare at it before I go to bed and get trapped in my typical Facebook voyeuristic trance.

Make Your Bedroom Dark

Shawn’s Recommendation

Light sources from your room can disturb your sleep.  Make your bedroom so dark that it is difficult to see your hand in front of your face.

The Changes I’ve Made

    1. Since we have kids that stroll into our room in the middle of the night, getting rid of the dim night lights was not practical for us.  I did strategically move some of them around so they were not as bright while we slept.
    2. I have a setting on my alarm clock that can dial down the brightness and I never really thought of it before listening to this book.  I notched it down to the lowest brightness level that still allows me see the time when I wake up.
    3. My wife was smart when we bought our house and got black out shades in our kid’s bedrooms.  I’ve been making sure they are pulled all the way down each night so the outside light does come through the windows unnecessarily.  I want them to get excellent sleep as well – if they don’t sleep well then we ALL pay for it the next day!

Keep Your Body Cool

Shawn’s Recommendation

Keep your bedroom in the 60-68 degree temperature range to help your body from overheating at night.  When your “internal thermostat” rises too high at night, your sleep will be disturbed.

Consider mattresses that have cooling pads to keep your body from overheating.

The Changes I’ve Made

60 degrees is just way to cold for both my wife and I.  I’ve been trying the 68 degree level now for the past week and it feels just about right.  We sleep on the second floor so luckily the heat rises (opposite effect in the summer unfortunately).

A few months ago, we switched from the Ara King Memory Foam Mattress to the Novaform Pearl Gel Memory Foam Mattress.  I love it! It has made a HUGE difference in my sleep.  The heat produced by our old mattress was very disturbing.  If you have a memory foam mattress and the heat from the mattress is bothering your sleep, I’d highly recommend getting a new mattress or at least buying a cooling pad.

Get More Sunlight During the Day

Shawn’s Recommendation

Based on your circadian timing system, getting more sunlight during the day can help you get better sleep at night.

The Changes I’ve Made

Now this one was tough for me because I sit in a windowless office staring at a computer screen for 8-10 hours per day.   Here are a few ways I’ve been hacking my day to get more sunlight:

    1. I have been meditating and exercising as much as I can each morning and doing it outdoors.   I do notice a difference in my energy level during the day if I’ve gone for a run or spent 10 minutes outside breathing the fresh air and soaking in the morning sunlight.
    2. If I have a meeting with someone at work, I request that we make it a “walking meeting” and we go outside to walk and talk.
    3. During the day at work if I’m not too insanely busy, I’ll go outside for at 15 minute break and walk.  Hey, I figure if the smokers get their 15 minute break, I’m taking mine!

Over the past couple of weeks, these changes have helped me to have more energy and feel happier overall.   Bonus!  I haven’t heard my daughter say recently “Daddy, you’re always tired!”

What methods do you use to get the best sleep possible?

Has anyone else read Sleep Smarter and have tips that have worked for them?

Author: Andy Hill

Andy Hill, a mid-30’s father of two living in the metro Detroit area, pens the MarriageKidsandMoney.com (MKM) blog taking you through the trials and tribulations of being a young parent and husband who is planning for his family’s future and winning with money.

2 thoughts on “4 Tips for Better Sleep Tonight”

  1. Yeah I suck at getting enough sleep, so I rarely have trouble falling asleep. But that doesn’t mean I’m well rested. I think getting 8 hours of sleep regularly would do wonders for me. But…side hustles…..

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