5 Simple Changes That Will Improve Your Sleep

5 Simple Changes That Will Improve Your Sleep

Find out how experts say you can enhance your Zs with a few easy changes.

By Maria Mora

We all need sleep, and most of us aren’t getting enough. Studies have shown that sleep deficiency makes it harder to solve problems, control emotions, regulate behavior, and make decisions. Scary, right? Fixing the problem isn’t as simple as going to bed earlier for most people, but these five tips will help you get to sleep easier and improve the quality of the sleep you get.

1. Manage your anxiety and stress
If racing thoughts and anxiety keep you up at night, you may need to do more than adjust your bedtime habits. Start with stress-management techniques that have worked for you in the past, such as a bedtime yoga routine or some quality time with a distracting book. “This can be a little tricky to solve if meditation and good sleep hygiene does not do the trick,” says Krystal Richardson, ND, a naturopathic doctor in Seattle, Washington. “Often times, I will recommend a therapist or biofeedback to a patient to help with this issue.”

2. Don’t skip your workout
Instead of thinking about fitness as a way to lose weight or change your body, think of it as a way to stay healthy. “Exercise every day or most days,” says Richardson. Research published in 2013 showed that if an exercise program is maintained, workouts seem to start muting a person’s stress response, which makes it easier for sleep to arrive more readily.

Some people find that working out before bedtime disrupts sleep, but that isn’t the case for everyone. See how your body reacts. Even a little bit of activity is better than nothing at all.

More from P&G everyday: 8 Surprising Benefits of Getting Enough Sleep

3. Unplug from the Internet
These days, most of us have phones that bring the Internet everywhere. Consider using an alarm clock instead of your phone as an alarm. When your phone is on your nightstand, you may reach for it to check your email just “one more time.” But your phone isn’t the only thing that winds you up. “Make sure you have some winding down time before going to bed that does not include anything with a screen,” Richardson adds.

4. Leave your bed behind
If you’re stuck in bed tossing and turning, go do something else. “It can be very detrimental to just stay in bed waiting for sleep to come and this can become a habit,” says Richardson. “Get up read a very boring book, then try again to go to bed a half an hour later or when you feel your eyelids drooping.”

5. Rule out health conditions
“When these things don't work, it is time to look more in-depth at what the cause of the insomnia is,” says Richardson. Don’t accept lack of sleep as a normal part of your life. Instead, bring it up with your doctor. You may need to be screened for illnesses or chronic conditions that affect sleep.

What tricks and tips do you have for getting better sleep?

Maria Mora is a single mom, editor, and hockey fanatic. She lives with her two sons in Florida.

Image ©iStock.com/william87

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