35 Ways to Improve your Sleep
Here are 35 things you can do to sleep better. This list was compiled from a survey in a Facebook group where participants tracked results with the Oura Ring. Users were asked to only make recommendations based on consistent and significant changes. This means there had to be a notable improvement measured over a period of time and not just one night’s sleep, and if the particular supplement or activity was stopped, the results would reflect that change.
The order of the list is based on the number of people that found the recommendation effective, so number 1 was useful to the highest percentage of people. As we know, everyone is different and so it’s not to say that number 35 on the list won’t help you.
I also need to mention, some of these recommendations are dietary supplements or changes in diet and eating schedule, you should do some of your own research and seek medical advice before jumping into anything. Some tips may not have conclusive scientific studies to back them up, but are on this list because a number of people found them to be beneficial.
I hope you find these helpful! Let me know if you’ve tried these, or if something you do isn’t on the list, in our forum All About Sleep!
And here they are…
35 Ways to Improve your Sleep
A herb used for treating sleep disorders like insomnia with its anti-anxiety effects.
34. Wearing socks in bed
This aids temperature regulation and can help you fall asleep faster.
33. Hot bath before bed
Taking a hot bath before bed can help you fall asleep and improve sleep quality. Matt Walker did a study where participants took a warm shower 90 minutes before bed which helped them fall asleep 50% faster.
Gamma-Aminobutyric acid is an amino acid produced in the brain. It inhibits neural activity which can reduce stress and anxiety and also enable sleep.
Glycine is an amino acid that may help you get to sleep quicker and improve sleep quality. It has a calming effect on the brain and can lower your core body temperature (see number 4 on this list too).
A sauna can be incredibly relaxing so it makes sense that it can improve sleep. Your body cooling down and regulating its temperature after the sauna helps with getting you to fall asleep, in addition to stress relief and physical relaxation.
29. 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan)
5-HTP supplements aid sleep by increasing your body’s melatonin production.
Lavender (essential oil) can help with relaxing your muscles and slowing your heartbeat, promoting a sound, restful sleep.
27. Red light therapy (red LED/near infrared)
Red light wavelengths apparently stimulate the production of melatonin to improve sleep and recovery, while also helping with alertness and performance during the day.
26. Mouth Taping
This is literally taping your mouth closed while you sleep to ensure you breathe through your nose. This is said to have some benefits and people have reported that it has improved their sleep, although there is no conclusive scientific evidence to back this up.
25. Deep breathing exercises
Deep breaths help slow down your heart rate, it can ease tension and anxiety and make it easier to fall asleep.
24. Wind down period (1 -2 hours before bed)
This reduces mental and physical stimulation. This relaxation gets your mind and body ready for sleep. Consistency is important here, make it a habit!
23. No caffeine
This is is for obvious reasons. Some people are far more sensitive to caffeine than others and cutting out things like coffee altogether can really improve sleep quality.
22. Ear plugs
If your deep sleep is disturbed by noises like a snoring partner or sounds from the street outside, then ear plugs are great for ensuring you get quality sleep for as long as you need it.
21. Weighted Blankets
Weighted blankets are said to help with chronic pain, anxiety, sleep disorders and some other things that may negatively affect your sleep.
20. Cold shower before bed
Studies suggest that warm showers about 90 minutes before bed can help with falling asleep, while cold showers can act as a stimulus. It’s suggested that you reserve cold showers for the morning because it increase alertness. But hey, if you’re battling to sleep well and nothing else seems to be working, it’s probably worth a try! If it helped people who participated in this survey, maybe there is something to it.
19. Sleeping Alone
This will help reduce disturbances during the night if your partner snores, moves around in their sleep, or keeps a different sleep schedule to you.
This is quite vague recommendation so you may need to find what works best for you. Intermittent fasting can help establish a stronger circadian rhythm. A consistent pattern of eating is linked to more consistent sleep schedule.
17. Magnesium Citrate
Magnesium Citrate can reduce anxiety and depression, and a deficiency can interfere with your sleep.
16. Melatonin — low dose (±0.5mg)
Lower doses of the sleep hormone, Melatonin, can help induce sleep. Melatonin regulates tiredness levels in your body and is affected by things like the temperature and sunlight. If your body doesn’t produce enough in the evenings you can battle to fall asleep and a supplement may help.
15. Bed cooling system (Like Ooler or ChiliPAD)
Your core body temperature should drop every night which aids a deep and restful sleep. Sometimes it isn’t possible to adjust your room temperature (or you have a partner with different preferences) and so a cooling pad is a good option!
14. Meditation before bed
Meditation can calm and relax you. It’s a great way to clear your mind and relax your body before trying to sleep.
13. Melatonin — high dose (±3mg)
As mentioned in number 16, your body produces increased Melatonin levels at night to induce sleep. You may require supplements and an important factor is finding the right dose for you. Please do so with care, it is recommended to start with a smaller doses.
L-theanine is an amino acid that has beneficial properties like reducing stress and anxiety, it can help your immune system and even improve focus. It assists with relaxation and falling sleep, while also improving quality of sleep.
11. CBD oil
CBD can help relieve stress and anxiety which can disrupt sleep.
10. Time restricted eating
This can help strengthen your circadian rhythm and which will positively influence your sleep patterns.
9. Not eating for at least 3 hours before bed time
Heavy meals before bedtime will impact your ability to sleep well. Give your body enough time to process meals before going to bed.
8. Earlier bed time
Getting enough sleep is vital and an earlier bed time can accommodate more z’s. Also take a look at Chronotypes and see what kind of schedule suits you!
7. Magnesium Glycinate
Magnesium Glycinate supplements can help relieve anxiety, maintain blood sugar levels and heart rhythms and also reduce pain. Deficiencies can also disrupt sleep and people with conditions like fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue also find this supplement to be beneficial.
6. Dark room / black out curtains
Reduced light signals your brain to produce melatonin and ready for body for sleep. Even small amounts of light exposure during the night can interfere with your sleep.
5. No alcohol
Alcohol is a sedative and may help you to fall asleep quicker but you definitely won’t sleep well.
4. Cold Room Temperature
A cooler temperature plays an important role in circadian rhythm as less light and lower temperatures signal night time, and therefore sleep time. The optimal temperature for sleep is said to be around 18°C (65°F)but this may vary from person to person.
3. Blue light blocking glasses
Exposure to blue light can prevent your body from producing melatonin and upset your sleep schedule.
2. Caffeine only early in the day
The effects of caffeine can last for six hours, so reducing coffee after midday can help you fall asleep. Too much of it can also cause anxiety.
1. Consistent Sleep schedule (bedtime & wake up time)
Sticking to a consistent sleep schedule sets your internal clock and will help you fall sleep and wake up more easily. Try to keep to a consistent schedule even on weekends! I’ve written some more in-depth information about sleep schedules previously, take a look!
Find what works for you
If you are battling with sleep, I hope you find something on this list that helps you! Remember to do some research, check with experts and listen to your body! I found that creating a balanced lifestyle and sleep routine has helped me immensely and it’s always lots of little daily things that add up to big changes!
I also have the approach of “removing” things before adding more. For example, I would stop using screens before bed before trying a new supplement, or cut down on caffeine before buying a bed cooling system. Look at “harmful” habits that you can remove from your lifestyle, before applying band-aids over them. I believe this makes sense and it is something that has worked for me.
The Challenge — join in!
So as a challenge, I invite you to pick ONE thing on this list that resonates with you the most and to try it for ONE month! Like I said, maybe start with something you can cut back on or “remove” like caffeine. But if having a wind down routine sounds good to you then design one for yourself, pick a time to start, and do it! You might want to start with a consistent sleep schedule since it’s at number 1 on the list, but it’s really up to you!
One month can seem daunting, but the point is to start with a small, very doable goal and focus on completing that one task everyday. It might seem easier or more difficult from week to week, but stick with it! Join our All About Sleep community for support and accountability as you go along. Be clear about your goal, remind yourself of your motivation, and take it day by day.
Make note of the change you make, track it and let us know what works and doesn’t work for you!
Like I mentioned, please consult an expert before you adjust your diet or start taking any supplements.
After a lot of experimentation and lifestyle adjustments, I’ve finally gotten a handle on my sleep and I’m focusing on some other aspects of my health. The Oura Ring and all the great sleep advice I received and researched was a huge help, and I’m working on something to make personal sleep (and health) improvements more accessible. If you’d like to keep an eye on what I’m working on you can join in here.
2021 is proving to be another challenging year and I hope you are all staying safe and healthy… and of course, sleeping well!