10 essential daily activities (+ 5 bonuses) to sleep better at night
Updated: Jun 3, 2021
"Everything you do during the day determines how you'll sleep at night." -Martha Lewis
It's true! What you do during the day sets you up for poor or great sleep.
If you're having trouble sleeping, either falling asleep or staying asleep, make sure you're doing all the right things to support a good night's rest. Check out these 10 tips below (plus 5 extra bonuses) to encourage sweet slumber for your sleep-deprived self.
1. Keep your blood sugar levels steady.
If you're on a blood sugar roller coaster all day that means you'll be along for the ride at night, too. When your blood sugar levels drop too low in the night, your body will release cortisol and wake you right up. You can keep your blood sugar levels steady by avoiding refined sugars and flour throughout the day (think pastries, doughnuts, sugary drinks) and making sure to have protein and fat with every snack and meal.
2. Get sunshine at noon for 30 minutes to regulate your body clock.
Our body clock relies on light to tell it when to be awake and when to sleep. Getting light at noon acts as an anchor light and can set 80% of your body clock.
Find out more about how light affects your sleep in the column I wrote for the Jackson Hole News and Guide.
3. Don’t drink caffeine after 12pm.
Our bodies take a long time to process caffeine and some of us take longer than others. To ensure that lattes and Red Bulls are out of your system at bedtime, you want to stop drinking them at noon.
4. Exercise every day.
You don't have to run a 10K or do crossfit but you do need to move every day. Studies show that even a 20 minute walk will help you sleep better. Check out this blog post to learn how to exercise to improve your sleep without sabotaging it.
5. Take breaks throughout the day to manage your stress.
If you’re constantly stressed all day and your cortisol levels are super high, your cortisol levels will continue to be high at night when they aren’t supposed to be. Taking a 10 minute break every 90 minutes and doing some deep breathing or taking a quick walk outside will help lower your stress during the day so cortisol doesn't keep you up at night. Learn how stress affects your sleep and 10 ways to reduce your stress in this helpful blog post.
6. Eat dinner at least 2 hours before bed.
You don’t want your body to try to digest food when you’re trying to go to sleep so make sure you don’t eat a big meal too close to bedtime. If you’re hungry before bed, a small snack is fine. What you eat and when you eat influences your sleep. Want to discover more? Check out this post to learn all about eating for sleep.
7. Give your body an hour to process each alcoholic drink before bed.
Alcohol may help you fall asleep but it sure as hell won’t help you stay asleep. Find out all about alcohol affects sleep here.
8. Dim the lights 2 hours before bed.
The blue light emitted from light bulbs tells your body that it’s daytime and inhibits melatonin production. Since you want to sleep at night (at least I hope so!), dimming the lights tells your body that nighttime is here. Learn all about light in this JHNG article.
9. Power down hour before bed.
A relaxing bedtime routine helps your body and brain relax and get ready for sleep. Screens emit that sleep-sabotaging blue-light and make you wired. That’s why I recommend staying away from screens the hour before bed.
10. Your bed is for sleep (and sex) only.
Creating a solid subconscious association between your bed and sleep will go a long way towards helping you fall asleep quickly after you climb into it. That means no checking your email, no watching TV, no eating, and no reading in bed.
Let’s say you’re already all of the recommendations above like I was. I’ve got 5 more bonus tips that will help you sleep like a baby (you know, the kind of baby that sleeps all night!).
Bonus 1: Start your day with a relaxing morning routine.
Keeping cortisol levels low from the get-go will help them stay low during the day. I have quite a few clients who say a morning routine has been the surprising game-changer for them.
Bonus 2: Journal
Writing down your thoughts at some point during the day will get them out of your head so they don’t keep repeating in the middle of the night.
Bonus 3: Meditate
Meditating lowers your cortisol, blood pressure and body temperature, preparing you for restful slumber. Find our more here.
Bonus 4: Write down what you’re grateful for.
Gratitude activates our hypothalamus which controls our sleep Studies show that when we are thankful it’s easier for us to fall into deep, healthy, natural sleep.
Bonus 5: No caffeine or alcohol.
If you struggle with insomnia, I highly suggest quitting caffeine and alcohol altogether. These “drugs” affect your sleep and your adrenals. Try it for 30 days and see what happens!
Want a way to keep track of all these magic sleep tips? I thought you might!
I’ve created a handy Smart Sleeper tracker just for you.
You have 2 ways to get your hands on it: either join my FB community Sleep and Insomnia Help for Adults or sign up for my emails. Either way, you’ll get even more tantalizing tips and helpful handouts to support your best sleep.
Now, I realize that some of you may already be following all these sleep “rules.” If that’s you, and you still aren’t sleeping, first of all I want you to know that it’s not your fault. It means that there's something going on in your body that is keeping you awake. The good news is that we can figure it out and get your zombie self back to sleeping great.
If you want to find out how, let’s chat. At the very least, you’ll find out what’s keeping you maddeningly awake at night so you have hope that you can sleep again. At the most, you’ll learn what you can do to fix it so you wake up every day rested, full of energy and ready to achieve all your goals.
Book your call here and find the answer you’ve been longingly dreaming about.