Can you believe we’re in the final stretch of 2021 already? With less than a month to go before the new year, healthy habits and new routines might be on your mind. One area of your health that’s always worth prioritizing? Sleep. Adults need at least seven hours of shuteye. But, be honest: How often are you really, truly getting that much? And, if you’re in bed for seven hours straight, are you sleeping soundly and peacefully that whole time? (Sorry, but scrolling until you nod off doesn’t count — but we can totally relate.)
Skimping on sleep can lead to a domino effect in your life, making it harder to manage your everyday stress, zapping your energy and leaving you with less motivation to work toward your goals and dreams. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
As you count down to 2022, let us help you focus on better sleep, starting tonight. Keep reading for 30 tips designed to help you fall asleep, stay asleep and wake up rejuvenated.*
30 Days to Better Sleep
1. Put down your phone…
.. and your tablet and your laptop. Screens emit blue light, which tells your brain to stay alert and awake. That can help during the day (especially during endless Zooms) but gives your brain mixed messages after dark. Set a reminder two hours before bed that nudges you to go analog. And check out these 7 Things Your Phone Can Do to Help You Wind Down.
2. Plan you P.M. routine.
Most of us have to be somewhere at a specific time in the morning, meaning we need to have an A.M. schedule so we don’t miss the train or drop the kids off late. But how about at night? What’s your routine then? Think about how you could spend your last couple of hours of the day to set yourself up for better sleep, then write a list of times and habits. Go through this routine for a couple of weeks, and see how it makes a difference.
3. Count backward from your wake-up call.
Do you have a bedtime — or do you simply go to bed whenever you’re tired or your day feels complete? Instead of hoping for the best when it comes to getting adequate sleep, look at your wake-up time (ideally the same one daily), then figure out when you need to hit the hay to get those seven hours of sleep.
4. Fill your own cup during the day.
Staying up past bedtime even when you’re tired is a common habit. Called reverse bedtime procrastination, it’s often motivated by a lack of “me time” during the day. You can’t fill from an empty cup — but trying to fill it with self-care in the wee hours is counterproductive. Squeeze in time for things you enjoy during the day, not at night. Even a few minutes here and there can add up to better sleep.
5. Go to bed 15 minutes early.
If you’re trying to hit that seven-hours-of-sleep goal, start small. Head to bed 15 minutes earlier every few days until you’ve reached your ideal amount of sleep. Bonus: 15 minutes is the perfect amount of time to put on your pajamas, brush your teeth and let a Hello Dreams™ Sleep Strip with Melatonin and Calm Down™ Herbal Blend melt on your tongue (and swallow).
6. Turn the thermostat down in your room.
A cozy room isn’t necessarily a hot one — and cranking up the heat at night might lead to tossing and turning. According to the Sleep Foundation, the best temperature for comfortable sleep is 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
7. Block out bedtime on your calendar.
Are you someone who’s beholden to your calendar or planner? As in, if an appointment is in there, it’s set in stone? Why not schedule bedtime — and sleep? It’ll pop up as a reminder and you’ll get a nudge that it’s time to wind down.
8. Buy a new pillow.
You don’t need a bunch of new “stuff” to sleep better, but if you can’t remember the last time you replaced your pillow, it might be time. These days, there are pillows designed for specific sleep positions, which could help you get comfy enough to doze off.
9. Make sure you see daylight and darkness.
This is a tough one this time of year, especially if you’re not working at home. However, seeing daylight and darkness help your brain keep its internal clock calibrated. Artificial light can throw us off schedule. (Yes, seeing daylight from a vehicle still counts.)
10. Swap overhead lights for lamps after dinner.
There’s a reason that low lights are mood lighting. Darkness and dimming lights are important for your circadian rhythm, to help you unwind and relax at the end of the day. Try dimming the lights and see if that impacts your sleepiness at night.
11. Start with your morning coffee.
Not to worry: We aren’t suggesting you give up coffee! (We would never!) But, it might be time to revamp your coffee habits. Instead of chugging cup after cup, swap in Good Morning Sunshine™ coffee + adaptogens. Think: one pod not a whole pot! It helps you fight fatigue with more than just caffeine – thanks to the adaptogenic (aka stress-busting) benefits of organic red ginseng. Plus, it’s ready at the touch of a button, so you can squeeze in a little more rest!*
12. Shut out the world for better shuteye.
Our modern world is bright and noisy — neither of which helps you get sleepy. Install blackout curtains, wear a sleep mask, use earplugs or whatever you need to create a quiet, dark sleep space.
13. Download a white noise app.
White noise is another helpful way to tune out late-night chatter. Try downloading an app to lull yourself to dreamland with beachy waves, rainforest sounds or a peaceful melody. Or, if you prefer to keep your room cool with a fan, that’ll have the same effect.
14. Already take melatonin? See what more than just melatonin can do.
While melatonin does help maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle, it’s not the only (or the best) option. That’s why our Hello Dreams™ sleep strips pair melatonin with a proprietary combination of Calm Down™ herbs. We start with Jujube Seed, which promotes deep, tranquil slumber by reducing irritability and mental distress as well as taming physical tension and restlessness. There’s also Poria Mushroom to support Jujube’s sedating action by gently calming the mind and nervous system. Get to know the other four herbs — and why each one was carefully chosen based on its time-tested use in Traditional Chinese Medicine.*
15. Journal to let go of the day.
If your mind runs through the happenings of the day like a hamster on a wheel late at night, you’re not alone. Break that cycle by putting those thoughts to bed. Write them down in a journal, talk to your sweetie or find another way to shed what doesn’t serve you.
16. Change your sheets.
Wake up too hot during the night? Reach for lightweight cotton sheets or a high-tech fabric like these cooling sheets. If you get cold, try cozy flannel sheets instead. As with clothing, think about using multiple layers on your bed to add or shed as needed.
17. Swap TV and Netflix for a real book.
We love binge-watching new shows, too, but that blue light doesn’t help with sleep. Go “old school” and reach for a book at bedtime — or listen to an audio book (but set a timer). Save your shows for earlier in the evening.
18. Skip the nightcap.
You might feel sleepy after a few sips, but you’ll impact your REM (deep) sleep. The more you drink before bed, the more you’ll interrupt your sleep cycle. Learn what to eat and drink before bed (and what to avoid).
19. Embrace the “yin” side.
TCM’s goal is to maintain or restore balance — by keeping yin and yang, two opposing forces, in balance. Yin focuses on stillness and rest, while yang focuses on action and movement. At night, choose yin activities. Think: quiet, relaxing, restorative. Save the energizing or stimulating “yang” conversations and activities for morning.
20. Manage stress with adaptogens.
Stress and sleep form a two-way relationship that can be functional or anything but. When stress is kept in check, your body has the energy it needs to devote to your sleep-wake cycle. When stress is being a scene-stealer, taking up all the oxygen in the room (so to speak), things like sleep pay the price. Reach for adaptogens like ginseng (aka the King of Adaptogens) to help you adapt to stress.*
21. Stretch before bed.
Muscle tension and tightness can make it hard to unwind physically. Spend a couple of minutes stretching tight spots before bed. Keep it gentle though — nothing too challenging. Try a Yoga for Bedtime routine.
22. Rethink your evening entertainment.
Procedural dramas, horror flicks and news reports don’t exactly induce sleep. If your shows of choice keep your mind wound up, swap them for something calmer. Even better? Read a book or listen to a podcast.
23. Ignore your stress and to-do list.
It can be hard to forget everything that’s awaiting you in the morning — but you’ll be better equipped to handle tomorrow if you get a good night’s sleep tonight. Turn off the notifications on your phone (learn how to set up the new “focus” modes), listen to a sleep story to keep your mind occupied or take a warm bath to let your worries melt away.
24. Make over your beside table.
Put away anything that doesn’t help support sleep — including your phone or tablet. Keep your Hello Dreams™ Sleep Strips close at hand, along with your sleep mask, lavender pillow spray, etc. Everything else can go in a drawer or a bin under your bed. As they say, out of sight, out of mind!
25. Get comfy.
If you’re not comfortable, your body likely won’t let your mind start to wind down. Do what you need to get cozy. Grab another blanket or socks (or try a weighted blanket). Shift positions. Sip some water. A comfy body is one that’s ready for sleep.
26. Move your body.
Regular exercise has countless benefits for the mind and body — including better sleep. The perfect workout is the one you like to do and will do regularly, so find an activity you enjoy. Exercise and sleep create a healthy cycle; exercise wears you out and sleep gives you more energy for exercise.
27. Give caffeine a curfew.
Caffeine’s effects can last hours, so time yours appropriately. Sip your latte early in the day, then switch to a caffeine-free option later. That afternoon latte can impact you at bedtime!
28. Practice gratitude before bed.
Gratitude is a powerful practice. At night, instead of focusing on the tough parts of the day, count the reasons to be thankful. One study even found that people who kept a gratitude journal slept a half-hour more than people who didn’t, on average. (Top of that gratitude list? Better sleep!)
29. Avoid falling asleep when the little ones do.
This is a tough habit for busy parents to break, but how often do you drift off while snuggling the kids at night? Then… you feel wide awake at your own bedtime. Don’t skip the snuggles, but do try to stay alert — and use their bedtime as the start of your own wind-down routine.
30. Stop playing catch-up on the weekends.
You can’t bank sleep, but that doesn’t mean most of us won’t keep trying, right? Whenever possible, go to bed and wake up at the same time on weekdays and weekends. Saturday morning you might be grumpy, but Monday morning will be grateful!
Bonus: Pair these 30 sleep tips with a 30-day supply of Hello Dreams™ Sleep Strips with Melatonin & Calm Down™ herbal blend.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.