7 Lifestyle Habits to Improve Sleep


Sleep is one of the most important elements to living well, but is often undervalued and overlooked.

It’s been a bit of a joke among my friends and husband about how I head to bed so early. As it nears 9pm you will hear a few chuckles and comments like “It’s just about bed time for you isn’t it?”.

We have game night a few times a week and there is now a routine, unless it’s Friday night, that we round up by about 8:45pm. This is partly because of my habits, and partly that they have to rise early in the morning for work.


Truth is that I am happy to be the cause of a few chuckles, and to keep to my schedule. I know how much better I feel when I am well rested.

Lives are hectic (but they don’t have to be), most people are exhausted on a daily basis and use “pick me ups” like sugar, and caffeine (and don’t even get me started on the evil’s of energy drinks!) to cope.


Proper sleep hygiene is critical for repair and rejuvenation, to keep the immune system strong, to regulate hormones (some of which are responsible for our mood, so you may also be doing your loved ones a favor.) and to help detoxify your body overnight.

So what are some things you can easily change to help you sleep better?

I’ve got 7 Tips for you today. 

This list is certainly not all there is, it is only the tip of the iceberg.

1.      Sleep in complete darkness, or as close to it as possible.

Even the tiniest bit of light in the room can disrupt your internal clock and your pineal gland’s production of melatonin and serotonin.

Yes, even the tiniest glow from your clock radio could be interfering with your sleep.

Close your bedroom door, and get rid of night-lights. Refrain from turning on any light at all during the night, even when getting up to go to the bathroom.

Cover up your clock radio, you don’t want to wake up watching the time anyway. Cover your windows—using blackout shades or drapes.

Wear an eye mask to block out light, it’s not always easy to block out every stream of light using curtains, blinds or drapes, particularly if you live in an urban area (or if your spouse has a different schedule than you do). In these cases, an eye mask can be helpful.

2.      Avoid using loud alarm clocks.

This is my personal fave. I hated having to wake up to a horrible sound that scared the crap out of me, not a great way to start the day.

Gone are the days when you HAVE to rely on the wind up a clock that bangs little bells to wake you. If you are regularly getting enough sleep, an alarm may even be unnecessary, even for shift workers.

Try setting your digital alarm clock to the radio, just loud enough to waken you, but no so loud that it startles you.

And if you use your cell phone as your alarm, or feel the need to keep it near you while sleeping,  reconsider using only as back up during bad weather when there may be a power outage.

3.      Keep the temperature in your bedroom no higher than 70 F (21 C).

Many people keep their homes and particularly their bedrooms too warm ( I am guilty of this myself).

Studies show that the optimal room temperature for sleep is between 60 to 68 F (15 – 20 ),keeping your room cooler or hotter can lead to restless sleep.

When you sleep, your body’s internal temperature drops to its lowest level, generally about four hours after you fall asleep.

Scientists believe a cooler bedroom may therefore be most conducive to sleep, since it mimics your body’s natural temperature drop.

4.      Get to bed as early as possible and don’t change your bedtime.

Your body (particularly your adrenal system) does a majority of its recharging between the hours of 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.

Prior to the widespread use of electricity, people would go to bed shortly after sundown, as most animals do, and which nature intended for humans as well.

Go to bed and wake up at the same times each day, even on the weekends. This will help your body to get into a sleep rhythm and make it easier to fall asleep and get up in the morning.

5.   Put your work away at least one hour before bed (preferably two hours or more).

This give’s your mind a chance to unwind so you can go to sleep feeling calm, not hyped up or anxious about tomorrow’s deadlines.

6.   Journaling.

If you often lay in bed with your mind racing, and worrying about deadlines, it might be helpful to keep a journal and write down your thoughts before bed, get it out of your head so that you aren’t worrying that you’re going to forget something the next day.

Keep a notebook and a pen by the bed, just in case you do wake up thinking about something, quickly jot it down and let yourself relax knowing you won’t forget it, and you don’t have to get up to do it.

7.   Increase your melatonin.

It is best to increase levels naturally with exposure to bright sunlight in the daytime (along with full spectrum fluorescent bulbs in the winter) and absolute complete darkness at night.

If that isn’t possible, you may want to consider a melatonin supplement. In scientific studies, melatonin has been shown to increase sleepiness, help you fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep, decrease restlessness, and reverse daytime fatigue.

Melatonin is a completely natural substance, made by your body, and has many health benefits in addition to sleep. If you do want to try supplemental melatonin, read this first, to consider any possible interactions.

And finally, be sure you TAKE ACTION! 

Start with one thing from this list that speaks the most to you, if laying in bed with your mind racing and you can’t shut it up is your main concern, then start with journaling. End with the KISS principle- my version is Keep it Simple and Savvy.

Don’t forget to share with someone you know that could benefit from a few simple tips.

Make your day a great one, it starts with YOU!