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I’ve always had a major love-hate relationship with sleep. I’m one of those people who
It wasn’t until I listened to an NPR podcast on sleep that I realized the importance of it. I literally thought I could get away with 5-6 hours of sleep a night and be an emotionally stable human until I listened to this podcast. (P.S How many times am I going to have to say “sleep” in this blog post? Searching synonyms now.)
Serious Impacts of Not Getting Enough Sleep
In it, Terry Gross, the host of the NPR podcast called Fresh Air, asks a sleep scientist various questions about the impact lack of sleep has on people. The sleep scientist presents a pretty big reality check, right off the bat.
Well, I think the first general point to make from epidemiological studies across millions of people is the following – that short sleep predicts a shorter life. So that sort of classic maxim that you may have heard, that you can sleep when you’re dead – it is actually mortally unwise advice from a very serious standpoint. We also know that every disease that is killing us in developed nations has causal and significant links to a lack of sleep. And a lack of sleep defined as six hours of sleep or less. So I think people really need to start to, I think, become much more aware of the science of sleep. And
Besides causing an earlier death and all sorts of diseases, lack of sleep also impacts our ability to think rationally, drive well, and have control over our emotions. Lack of sleep can cause anxiety, depression, skin-aging, bad memory, and even weight gain. It’s safe to say it’s probably a good idea to for all of us to make sure we get a good nights sleep (around 8 hours) as many nights as we possibly can. I mean, if we care about not dying and being happy and silly stuff like that.
After I heard this podcast awhile back, I decided to take my health and happiness into my own hands and start getting the recommended amount of sleep. It took me a while to figure out how to actually fall asleep at a decent time without taking a sleep aid (sleep aid always makes me super drowsy for a couple of hours the next morning, which is miserable). There were some SERIOUS insomnia issues I needed to work out in order to fall asleep without taking sleep-aid, but I eventually figured out what works best for me. Since I’ve done my research and tried out a lot of different methods, I thought I’d let you in on what I’ve learned so that you can get a good nights sleep and wake up refreshed, as well!
10 Ways to Fall Asleep Quickly and Wake Up Energized
One // Take a Hot Bath with Bath Bombs- If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know how much I love a good bath- especially one at the end of a long tiring day. Even if I’ve already taken a shower that day, I usually take a bath at night just to relax my mind and body. I use Lather bath bombs to get my mind and body ready for sleep. These are much more affordable than other bath bombs I’ve seen and they’re life-savers for those nights when I’m just not sleepy but should be sleeping!
Two // Do Sleep Meditations- I use the Calm app’s sleep meditations but if you don’t want to pay for a meditation app, I highly recommend a free app called Oak. It has guided meditations for sleep, with the option to play relaxing sounds (like rain, waves, etc.) in the background. Taking deep breaths and releasing worries from the day is the perfect way to fall asleep quickly and get a good nights rest.
Three // Write Your To-Do List for the Next Day- Not only does this make it easier to fall asleep because it puts my mind at ease, but this is also a great way to wake up with more energy and motivation the next day. Knowing what your purpose is for the next day is a great way to finish off the night with a clear head and start the next day on a positive note.
Four // Use Quiet Night Relaxing Balm- I’ve gotten into the habit of using this balm or an essential oil before bed every night. There are lavender and
Five // Use a Sleep Aid Formula- A sleep aid formula is another great option that you can use along with or instead of a night balm. The best sleep aid formula I’ve tried is this Healing Natural Oils one. It’s been extremely effective for me! It’s 100% natural and sensitive on the skin. It’s as effective as sleep aid capsule pills but without the drowsiness and/or addictiveness. I’m seriously in love with this stuff! I highly recommend it to anyone who has trouble falling asleep and wants to wake up feeling like you got a good nights rest.
Six // Do a Brain-dump Session- There are so many things we think of throughout the day that are just floating around in our brains causing us stress. Maybe you told yourself you’d write, “Book a dentist appointment” on your to-do list but you forgot to do it. Or maybe you’ve been stressing about some upcoming event and you haven’t had a chance to process or write out your worries about it. Set a timer (or don’t) for 5 minutes and write a list of everything going on in your brain- all those minor to-do’s, big worries, and/or deadlines you don’t want to forget. I have a notebook dedicated solely to brain-dumping. Brain-dumping is a super effective way to process your feelings and remove some of those stressful things from your brain until you can actually do something about them.
Seven // Think About Doing Something Tiring- This sounds so ridiculous, but I’ve found it super useful. If I’m laying in bed unable to fall asleep, I’ll think, “Maybe I should go and do the dishes,” or “Maybe I should go do a workout in the living room.” As soon as I think of doing something like that, I realize that I’m a lot more tired than I thought I was. Sometimes we resist sleep by telling ourselves we’re not sleepy even though we are!
Eight // Try to Go to Sleep at the Same Time Every Night- We’re all creatures of habit. We thrive on consistency, even if we want to tell ourselves we’re flexible and don’t need any structure. If you stick to a certain “bedtime,” you’ll have an easier time getting tired around that same time every night. Staying consistent makes it easier to wake up feeling refreshed the next day. Figure out a REALISTIC time that you could go to bed each night and stick to it. I try to go to bed by midnight on weeknights so that I can wake up by 8 or 9 AM. I try not to go to bed later than around 1 AM on weekends so that I can still wake up at a decent time- that way my sleep schedule isn’t thrown off the next Monday.
Nine // Focus on the Positive- People tend to experience more anxiety later at night. We’re tired and worn out (emotionally, physically, socially), so we begin to overthink our entire lives. If you find yourself getting into a dark, sad mood at night, you might be tempted to dwell on that by looking at or doing things that upset you even more (like looking at your ex-boyfriend or ex-best friend’s Instagram page, watching Shane Dawson conspiracy theory videos, or deciding tonight is the perfect night to send a confrontational email to your boss). If you’re like me and find it pretty much impossible not to look at your phone before bed, at least look at things that are positive and happy. I try to stay clear of Instagram and Twitter and focus on Pinterest or spend some time clearing out my phone pictures, etc.
Ten // Play Relaxing Sounds, Close Your Eyes, and Think About Something Happy- The best way to fall asleep is to actually TRY falling asleep. There are relaxing sounds that you can play on the free app I mentioned earlier, Oak. You can choose the duration you want your sound to be played, so it doesn’t continue playing all night. The next step is to close your eyes. Then think about something that makes you happy- like travel, how you’re going to accomplish a big goal you have, what you hope your life will look like someday, what you love about life now, etc. You’ll fall asleep in no time!