Over one-third of Americans are tired enough to worry about it affecting their work and personal lives. The statistics may be even worse for women, especially mothers. For the first six years of their kids’ lives, dads lose an average of 13 minutes a night, while moms lose a staggering 62 minutes.
Without a strategy for getting more and better sleep, women struggle to get the recommended seven to nine hours of rest each night. As such, your mental and physical health could suffer. Whatever life stage you’re currently in, it’s essential to develop good sleep habits and a nightly routine to help you relax, drift off faster and achieve deeper, rejuvenating sleep.
Connect With Others
Spending time with your loved ones can boost your mental health and give you a sense of calm. Take time each day to connect with family and friends to reap the benefits and feel peaceful as you wind down for the day.
1. Spend Intentional Family Time
Life gets hectic, so making time to be together isn’t always easy. When you have a partner with a different work schedule or kids who participate in many activities, you should set aside time each night or week to catch up. Have a pizza and games night, sit and watch a movie or even read a book aloud.
2. Call a Loved One
In this digital age, it’s easy to forget the importance of hearing a loved one’s voice or seeing their face. Making a daily habit of calling someone on the phone instead of sending a text message will help you feel connected and loved as you wrap up your day.
3. Get Steamy
Spending sexy time with your partner helps you connect as a couple and wind down for the day. For all you single ladies, going solo offers many of the same benefits.
Prep for the Morning
Thinking about what you need to do the next day can really keep you up at night. Try these tricks to help you let go, get a satisfying night’s sleep and set yourself up for success the following morning.
4. Clean Your Problem Areas
Knowing you’ll wake up to a messy house can keep even the best sleepers awake. Make it your goal to go to bed each night with your biggest problem spots picked up. A good rule of thumb is to finish your dishes, clean your sink and tidy your surfaces.
5. Lay Out Your Clothes
Spending a few minutes picking out an outfit for tomorrow could save time trying to pull something together in your morning haze. You’ll also rest easier knowing you’ve set yourself up well.
6. Get the Kitchen Ready
Once you’ve tidied your kitchen, you can also take a few minutes to set out breakfast items. Lay out dishes and silverware along with any cookware and nonperishable ingredients. Don’t forget to set your coffee maker to come on in the morning.
7. Write a To-Do List
Even after you’ve tackled tasks to prepare for the morning, you may still have other things swirling around your head you need to remember. Instead of hanging on to them and keeping yourself awake, you should spend a few minutes writing a to-do list.
Take Hygiene to the Next Level
Nothing feels better than heading to bed feeling nice and clean. At least once in a while, use this time to slow down and turn your nightly hygiene habits into full-on self-care.
8. Enjoy a Slow Shower or Long Bath
Quick showers are a good option for those days when time gets away from you, and you need to rush off to bed. However, slowing down can help your body and mind better prepare for sleep. Take a long, hot shower or a nice bath once in a while to treat yourself and unwind after a long day.
9. Pamper Yourself
Depending on the time you have, try doing one pampering activity or treatment each night or a few times a week. This extra special care will help you let go of the day’s stressors and boost your mood, ultimately helping you drift off faster. Try using a face or hair mask, doing a detoxifying shower treatment or painting your nails.
10. Care for Your Skin
A regular skin care routine will help you keep the years at bay and clear away sweat and dirt from the day. It’s also a way to slow down, take a few mindful minutes and practice some facial massage. Using products with vitamins and antioxidants will help counteract under-eye cicles – one of the most dreaded consequences of sleep loss.
Quiet Your Mind
Prepping for the next day is an excellent start for quieting your mind, but if your head still feels like a jumbled mess, you may need to try something else.
11. Do a Brain Dump
Writing a to-do list might be enough to relax some people, but you may need to quiet your racing thoughts a bit more. Take a sheet of paper and a pen and free-write whatever is on your mind. You can put down lists, thoughts, feelings, doodles or anything else in your head.
12. Write in a Journal
A journal could be the way to go if you prefer more structure. You can write about how your day went and what you’d like to see in the coming morning. Another option is to pick a diary with guided questions or spots to practice gratitude.
13. Practice Gratitude
Whether written in a journal, whispered to yourself or shared aloud with a loved one, practicing gratitude is a great reminder of the good things in your life. This habit brings a sense of peace that can help ease you into relaxation and sleepiness.
14. Meditate or Pray
Sitting in silence helps you deal with troubling or overwhelming thoughts and let them go. Prayer and meditation are two activities that can help you quiet down for a bit, allowing yourself to rest.
Do Something Calming You Love
As you prepare for bed, plan to do something calming you love. Read a book, snuggle under a blanket, turn on some soft tunes and wrap your hand around a warm mug of herbal tea.
15. Read a Book
A chapter or two can help you wind down and embrace the quiet of the evening. Stick to calming genres like romance or nonfiction. Reading horror or mystery could psych you up and keep you from getting a good night’s sleep.
16. Work on a Hobby
Some hobbies, especially creative or repetitive ones, are perfect nighttime activities. Knitting, crocheting and watercolor are all quiet projects, ideal for the evening.
17. Sip on Herbal Tea
A hot cup of tea is such a soothing tradition. You can sip while you work on your hobby or read. Just ensure you pick a caffeine-free blend like chamomile or peppermint.
Soothe Your Senses
When waking up in the morning, we try to stimulate our senses. We splash with cold water, listen to uplifting music and get some sunshine. At night, it’s essential to do the opposite — calming yourself down for a night of peaceful rest.
18. Dim the Lights
Bright lights interrupt your body’s circadian rhythm, signaling it’s still time to be awake. Once you begin your nighttime routine, dim the lights or switch to amber tones over disruptive blue. You can buy small lamps with lower-wattage lightbulbs, use a dimmer switch, or purchase smart bulbs where you can change the brightness through an app or with voice control.
19. Turn Down the Heat
Cool temperatures encourage you to snuggle under the covers and get to sleep. Keeping your room a bit more brisk will keep you comfortable during body temperature shifts during the night and help you remain in a deep sleep.
20. Listen to the Rain
Whether the sounds of crickets or traffic greet you every night, you might enjoy changing it up with a soundscape once in a while. White noise is ideal for those who struggle to get to sleep every night. Alternatively, naturescapes can transport your imagination and help you drift off peacefully.
21. Diffuse Essential Oils
Certain essential oils are known for their calming effects. Adding some of these to your diffuser in the evening can help relax your mind and send you off into satisfying, restful sleep. Try lavender, bergamot or ylang-ylang.
Hit the Hay With Intention
Once you’re in bed, sleep may come automatically and quickly. Other nights may be more of a struggle. You must have a bag of tricks at your disposal for those times when rest is eluding you.
22. Keep a Steady Bedtime
Ideally, you want to keep your bedtime as consistent as possible, going to sleep and waking up around the same time each day. Keeping up with this habit will help your body naturally get sleepy when it’s supposed to, allowing you to fall asleep more quickly.
23. Leave Your Phone Alone
Our phones are so tempting with their endless supply of entertainment. However, you should avoid using it after finally settling into bed at the end of a long day. The blue light is stimulating and will keep you from getting good sleep. Try leaving it on the other side of the room or in another area to remove the temptation to scroll.
24. Use Relaxation Techniques
Once you’re in bed, just lying there may not be enough to get you to drift off to sleep. Having a few relaxation techniques in your toolkit will come in handy for those difficult nights. Try visualization or progressive muscle relaxation.
25. Try Again Later
Staying in bed when you can’t sleep isn’t a great idea. Over time, you’ll associate those negative feelings with your bedroom. If you still haven’t dozed off within 20 minutes, head to another room. Do something relaxing like reading a book, and keep the lights dim. Try going back to bed when you feel yourself getting tired.
Do Your Best to Get Good Rest
Sleep is crucial for your physical and mental health, but it’s not realistic to expect to have the best rest each night — life happens. The habits on this list can help you succeed, but they’re not guaranteed. All you can do is try your best and stick to your routine. Doing so should help sleep come naturally for you most of the time.
You may have an underlying medical or mental health condition if you’ve tried all these tips but still wake up exhausted regularly. You should talk to your doctor as soon as possible to find the cause and get back to having a restful night’s sleep.