Just over a year ago, I was the perfect example of someone desperate to get some sleep but couldn’t, no matter what I tried. At the time, what irritated me most was that I felt like I should be getting all the sleep in the world — I don't have kids, I didn’t have a formal job, and I had a brand new bed to help solve all my sleeping problems. Yet night after night, I would toss and turn, get up to use the bathroom, and poke my husband to stop snoring or breathing heavily so I could get some shut-eye. Of course, none of it was his fault; I was the one sleeping poorly.
Now, I sleep better than I ever have in my life. The changes I’ve made have all been a natural progression of getting healthier and more in tune with my body. I stay awake throughout the day with energy levels that sustain me, then about a half hour before it’s time to sleep I begin to get tired. When I lie down, I usually fall asleep within about 30 minutes. It feels like a miracle from where I used to be, but really it was just a few simple things that made all the difference.
1. Get moving regularly.
I used to hate exercising entirely, so when I began making strides towards trying to get my body in better shape, I began to notice that I was a lot less restless (in my body and my head) at night.
2. Don't drink coffee or caffeine.
This wasn't an easy feat, but it’s made the biggest difference in how deeply I sleep and my ability to relax by the time my head hits the pillow. I drank coffee religiously only for a few years, but was always on edge once it wore off and never slept well while drinking it. You’d think I would have put the two together, but it only dawned on me after I removed it from my diet that it was a huge culprit in my self-induced insomnia.
3. Purchase a white noise machine.
In the past, I thought the only people who had these in their bedrooms were babies (or maybe people who live in New York City). I live off a major highway and hear road noise day and night. I also have a husband who, as I mentioned, sleeps long and dreamily (read: loudly).
After years of leaving the bathroom fan on through the night to mask those two sounds, I caved and purchased my first white noise machine. I thought that if nothing else, it was worth a shot to improve my sleep, and if it didn’t work out, I could sell it or give it to a friend later.
It turned out to be one of the best investments I’ve ever made for my health. I don’t hear any of the unwanted road (or husband) noise, and have actually found that I sleep better with it than I ever have with a quiet room.
These few changes felt like such small adjustments at the time, but with my new ability to sleep soundly through the night, I've never felt (or slept) better.