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Over the years, I picked up a thing or two on how to get restful sleep no matter where I am in the world.
I spent the last few weeks traveling and had to put some of these things into practice again.
Of course, I’m much more comfortable in my own bed, but when a friend offers up a couch or air mattress for me to crash on, I’ll take it!
Here are 12 things that I do!
*The first 6 are essential, and the latter half are optional, but I still put them to use regularly.
Working out is probably the BEST thing that you can do for your physical and mental health. Not to much the boost of confidence when you’re trying to hit on someone cute 😉
I noticed that on the days I don’t work out or do something equally as exhaustive, I won’t be able to fall asleep easily.
Think of yourself as if you’re a battery. Every morning you wake up with 100% and as you go on with your day that percentage will deplete. By the end of the day, if it’s not close to 0%, then you still got some life in you to allocate to useless thinking that will keep you up at night.
Hit the gym. Nothing will knock you out like exercising!
If you’re not sensitive to light, then maybe you don’t need one.
I was like that once…then I got old.
Now I need some darkness. More specifically, I can’t sleep when light touches my eyes or face, and I like to keep the curtains open so I can wake up to natural light.
I don’t actually wrap the elastic around my head – I just put it over my eyes. Throughout the night, as I move around, it’ll slip off and I’ll be greeted by the sun in the morning.
There are many, many different materials that earplugs are made of.
I certainly don’t have the best ones – just the regular foam ones. What I noticed with these cheapo ones are:
a) It doesn’t block out ALL the noise.
Perhaps, using them will reduce the noise level by 50%, but I still got the other half that’s disrupting me.
I learned that I am quite sensitive to noise. When I’m on the brink of sleep and a loud car drives by, it will certainly pull me back into consciousness.
b) It clogs up my ears.
As in, I feel a bit of pressure in my ears – kind of like when you are on an airplane. It’s only a slight feeling, but I’m not a big fan.
c) After a few months, I can feel the foam getting softer and not taking shape as well.
I’ll be upgrading mine soon, so stay tuned!
There are only two conditions that I need:
A sleeping mask is a great tool, but I also need the entire room to be dark. No light shining into my room. If that’s the case, then at least not on my body, especially on my face.
Close the blinds or curtains if you need to!
A cool room – I like it slightly below room temperate (70F/21C).
Usually, my choice of pajamas are shorts and a T-shirt, so I stay cool throughout the night. If it’s too cold, I layer on an extra blanket.
When I’m at home, I sleep with at least 4 pillows.
I have a specific pillow for my head, one on each side of me and one underneath my knee to promote blood circulation and lessen muscle spasms.
Have you ever had a charlie horse? Those hurt!!
I also have a body pillow or a giant stuffed-toy that I hug when I sleep on my side. I find that it helps me properly align my body and my arms don’t get numb.
A good habit to have is to keep some water close to your bed.
I always have a cup of water on my nightstand or on the floor now. This way I don’t have to get up if I’m thirsty in the middle of the night or want to drink water first thing in the morning. Also, it helps with making the room less dry if you leave water out overnight to evaporate.
On another note, I avoid drinking too much water about half an hour before I go to bed. So I don’t have to relieve myself in the middle of the night. And, right before I go to sleep, I empty out whatever I have.
Get ready for optional items that will aid in your restful sleep!
Here are some optional things that will also help you get restful sleep!
At home, I use a topper to soften up my mattress, because I bought a bed that is just a wee bit too hard for my body.
On the road, when I don’t have the luxury to shell out top dollars for a topper, I pile on blankets and sleep on top of that.
This is all trial and error. The more mattresses you sleep on, the better you will get knowing which firmness level is best-suited for you.
Keep in mind that it does take about 3 months for your body to adjust to a new bed. This is why most of the sleep trials for new mattresses are at least 90-100 days.
This one might be a bit odd, but it’s so useful!
I have many massage balls that are about the size of a tennis ball. They are hard and solid – there is no give even if you step on it. I bring one with me wherever I travel because it has many different uses:
a) Foot Massage – Step on it if you’ve been walking too much that day.
b) Back Massage – Roll up and down with the ball between your back and the wall.
c) Neck/Head Massage – Use your weight on the ball to loosen up those muscles as you lay on your bed.
Whenever my monkey mind is kicked into turbo, I listen to soothing music. This doesn’t happen to me too often.
I like Tibetian monk chants or singing bowl music to help me drown out the mental noise. Alternatively, I’ve tried out some meditation or sleep apps – doesn’t quite do it for me.
The ones that keep playing on (Eg. YouTube) will usually wake me up around 3-4am because there’s no timed option to turn it off, so that’s not great either.
Sometimes, I do some deep breathing. Try this technique!
Pen & Paper
Again, for my monkey mind.
I sometimes will keep a journal and pen on my nightstand, so when I think of something important I can jot it down right away without worrying about forgetting about it in the morning. Most of the time, I scribble down things that I need to do the next day, something I forgot about that day, or, occasionally, a brilliant idea!
If you’re into dream interpretation, it’s helpful to write down your dreams right after you wake up, so you don’t forget them.
Blue Light Filter
Mixed research and review on this one, but it doesn’t hurt to be more cautious!
I use a blue light filter on all my devices. My phone (Samsung S8) has one built-in and my laptop has f.lux installed. I’ve also had a pair of blue light filter glasses for a while, but I didn’t feel any different.
I asked my optometrist about the glasses and he said that they’re useless.
Blue light comes from any artificial light source, even the light in your ceiling. The amount of blue light that comes from our devices is minuscule and the rays dissipate by the time it hits our eyes. So…unless you want to wear it as a fashion choice, no need!
Many experts say to NOT charge your devices in your bedroom.
I find this a bit hard to do.
Instead, I charge them away from my bed, so I’d need to get up in order to use it. This usually does the trick to prevent me from checking my messages throughout the night. In terms of radiation from my devices…yeah, not sure how to escape that one!
That’s a Wrap!
I hope these 12 things can also help you fall and stay asleep.
Do you also have some effective sleep techniques? Share with us below!