15 Sleep Enhancing Tips That Really Work!

If you are having trouble sleeping, you should try to get to the source of your insomnia and eliminate that source if possible. If no source is discovered, then try these 15 tips.

15 Sleep Enhancing Tips That Really Work! | Real Food RN

Let me first start with a DISCLAIMER: This post is in no way intended to be taken as direct medical advice. This is simply an account of my favorite sleep enhancing tips and my own personal sleep routine. If you are having difficulty sleeping, consult with your general practitioner. Now, on with the show…

After having children, I discovered how much I love sleep….because I was not getting any! Oh wonderful, beautiful, elusive sleep. In my on-going exploration of health and nutrition I decided to investigate sleep optimization, and here are the sleep enhancing tips that I found to work the best for me and my family. My best sleep enhancing tips!

First, if you are having trouble sleeping, you should try to get to the source of your insomnia and eliminate that source if possible.

Getting to the source…

Dr. Andrew Weil lists the potential causes of insomnia:

  • Exposure to extreme temperature fluctuations or environmental noise
  • Disruption in sleep/wake patterns due to jet lag, work schedules, or other reasons
  • Side effects of medications
  • A change in the surrounding environment
  • Premenstrual syndrome, menstruation, pregnancy or menopause
  • Depression (the most common cause)
  • Chronic pain
  • Arthritis
  • Kidney disease
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Heart failure
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Sleep apnea
  • Asthma

If no source of your insomnia is discovered, then try my tips… 

15 Sleep Enhancing Tips That Really Work!

1) Cut out caffeine (caffeine can stay in our systems for anywhere from 5-15 hours!). If you can’t cut it out completely, then go half-caff and have your last cup no later than noon. Caffeine is in chocolate too, sorry to burst your bubble.

2) Eat the majority of your harder to digest protein earlier in the day. Meat is harder for your body to digest (especially if you don’t chew it well enough) and if you eat a large meal that focuses heavily on meat later in the evening, your body will be focusing on digestion all night instead of restful sleep and detoxification. Gelatin is a great source of easy to digest protein. Stir some gelatin into your tea or have a cup of bone broth. Gelatin also helps with sleep.

3) Buy a bed that is right for you. For example: a sleep number bed. My husband likes firm and I prefer soft. A good bed is a great investment!

4) Make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary:

  • Block out all light… I mean it! Even the tiniest amount of light can decrease melatonin production
  • Install blinds that black out your windows
  • Turn alarm clocks to face the other direction, so you can’t see the glowing numbers. Try a more natural alarm clock that uses gentle light to wake you up in the morning: a wake-up light
  • Wear a night mask
  • Wear earplugs if you need to or turn on some white noise like a fan or a noise machine. There are tons of white noise apps out there to!
  • Get the TV out of your bedroom…absolutely…go do it right now, I’ll wait
  • Keep the temperature of your bedroom below 70 degrees

5) Install F.lux on your electronic devices so you aren’t exposed to blue light emissions in the evening hours (this also decreases melatonin production). F.lux is free so what are you waiting for?

6) Turn your lights down in the evening hours as the sun goes down, or use candle light. This naturally stimulates melatonin production and starts our sleep-cycle. On the flip-side you will also want to make sure you have exposure to the wide-spectrum light (natural daylight) during the day. This boosts serotonin levels, which increases melatonin production later in the day for restful sleep. Bright light is especially important to get earlier in the day so get outside in the morning!

7) Go to bed when you start to feel tired, or before. Don’t force yourself to stay up and watch all of your favorite recorded TV shows so you can “relax” at the end of your busy day. If you feel tired then go to bed. You will be much happier you chose to forgo TV and get some extra (much needed!!!) sleep.

8) Avoid alcohol before bedtime. It increases wakefulness and decreases sleep quality.

9) Avoid sugar before bedtime. This can cause blood sugar fluctuations that can wake you up in the middle of the night. Blood sugar drops, cortisol spikes and you wake up.

10) Invest in some orange safety glasses. These also block blue light emissions. I wear mine every night, whether my husband likes it or not!

11) Supplement when absolutely necessary, and only temporarily: (also, please do not start taking any supplements without first consulting with your general medical practitioner)

  • Melatonin: this is generally recommended to take when adjusting to jet-lag and traveling across time zones. Not recommended to use regularly, remember it is a hormone after all
  • Tryptophan/5-HTP: boosts serotonin and thus increases melatonin production (caution in people with liver issues)
  • Chamomile tea: a mild sedative and anti-anxiety agent, helps you relax and fall asleep
  • Kava tea: a mild sedative used for its ability to treat insomnia, restlessness and other nervous disorders
  • Turmeric Milk: this stuff puts me into a DEEP sleep. Get the recipe HERE.

12) Go to sleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. Yes even on the weekends. This allows your body to get into a sort of sleep routine. Plus, on the weekends you can really get a lot done around the house in the morning. I sure do!

13) Make sure you are getting enough magnesium. Magnesium has a calming effect on the nervous system and allows you to achieve a deeper level of sleep. It also decreases cortisol production. Every noise waking you up at night? You might be low in magnesium. Do you get leg cramps at night? You might be low in magnesium. You can supplement orally with supplements like Natural Calm or make your own magnesium oil to apply topically. I use my homemade magnesium oil every night. You can also take a bath with epsom salts.

14) Stop drinking water 2 hours before bedtime (the exception being your sleepy time tea). This way you won’t be getting up to go pee right after you fall asleep.

15) De-stress! How do you expect to fall asleep when your mind is running a million miles an hour and you are rigid with tension? Practice meditation, get a massage, get regular exercise, do yoga, or practice deep breathing.

BONUS TIP: Have you ever considered the mattress that you are sleeping on? Especially when it comes to the toxins it might be emitting and disrupting your sleep? Mattresses are made with tons of toxic chemicals and when we sleep on them for 8 or more hours we are absorbing them into our bodies. I was shocked at what I found when I looked into this topic! I had no idea! You can read my post about Why You Need a Non-Toxic Mattress HERE

What are YOUR best Sleep Enhancing Tips? I would love to hear about them in the comments below! 

Resources:

10 Replies to “15 Sleep Enhancing Tips That Really Work!”

  1. Thanks for this post! I love these tips. My husband’s sleep quality greatly increased when he started supplementing with magnesium. I also like using the Lightning Bug app on my phone to fall asleep to with an auto shutoff timer (plays rain sounds, forest sounds, etc.) . It helps to give me something to focus on when I can’t shut my brain off!

    1. Robyn, I will check out that app! I have been using an app that plays music and sounds that stimulate alpha waves in the brain. It is supposed to promote relaxation.

  2. Excellant advice. Let me add a few things you left out:
    Try to get to bed before Midnight. You need 7-8 hours sleep in the dark.
    Before the general availability of electricity, humans went to sleep 3 hours after sunset, and awoke at sunrise. This is not practical in our modern world…do your best anyway. Another 3 hour rule: finish your last meal 3 hours before you go to sleep. Stop watching TV, or using the computer, one hour before sleeping.
    No electronics turned on in the bedroom or plugged in the wall, except
    maybe an alarm clock. Unplug the TV, or get one of those ‘smart’ powerstrips. To be
    honest, you should not have a TV in the bedroom. Do not have computers in
    the bedroom unless they are completely powered down, “sleep”
    Mode is no good.

    If you use an alarm clock, get one with a red/amber display (not white,
    green or blue). The room must be completely dark to get real sleep. By the
    way, if you use your mobile as an alarm clock, put it in Airplane mode….
    the alarm will work in
    Airplane mode. I do not recommend having the device near your head in
    any case. If there is a wall socket at the head of your bed, move the bed
    a few inches away, and try not to use that socket.
    DO NOT leave the mobile phone ‘on’ while you are sleeping,
    unless you are a doctor ‘on call’ or a homicide detective. Come on, how
    many times in your life has a real emergency call, life or death,
    come to you at 4a.m ? That’s why we have voice mail. If you really
    cannot resist knowing EVERY SINGLE phone call and SMS you receive, then
    silence your ringer and put the phone in another room. Then ask yourself:
    Who is in charge? The machine, or me ? The danger with a live mobile
    near your bed is not the ringer tone that will wake you,
    its the fact that the mobile, when ‘on’, is constantly sending and
    receiving a digital signal to/from the nearest cell tower. This signal is
    more powerful than your body EMF signature, and will prevent deep sleep.
    Any electronic device in close proximity has the same effect. In order to
    reconstitute, and ‘re-charge’, the body needs real downtime to maintain
    anabolic activity. Any electronic interference prevents that from
    occurring. Do you have Wi-Fi in the house? When you go to bed, unplug the Wi-Fi
    Router only. You can leave on the internet modem, just unplug the
    Router. The modem does not put out a signal, the Wi-Fi router does, and its powerful. You cannot control the Wi-Fi signal of your neighbors, but at least control yours.
    And, do you have a home Cordless phone? Also called a DECT phone. Do not
    have the charging cradle in your bedroom (its essentially a cell phone
    tower in the room). And unplug it at night. In fact, put the WiFi router and the
    cordless phone charging cradle on the same power strip, so you can click it OFF when you go to sleep.
    The bed: head should be North, for most people. Foot of the bed facing
    south. And, your body should be slightly elevated at the head. The
    easiest way to do this is to put a brick or piece of wood under the
    bed posts at the head, 2-4 inches off the ground, so the entire bed is
    slanted, with the head elevated.

    What to wear: as little as possible. Naked is best. If you are going to
    wear something, make it loose fitting, of silk, linen, soft cotton, or a
    combo thereof. Do not wear any tight fitting underwear….that goes for
    men who might sleep in briefs, or women who wear bras…that’s a big
    no-no. I repeat, ladies: do not sleep with a bra. Your lymph must be able
    to flow unimpeded. You should remove your bra anytime you do not need
    it, even during waking hours. For example, at home alone…take it off.
    Your breasts and the lymph nodes surrounding them must be free to breath
    and flow.
    Take a shower before bedtime. Sleep clean. Your sheets will last longer
    between washes, too.
    Sleep on your back, that¹s the best position to give your body the chance
    to reconstitute. I like to put one hand on my belly, and one over my
    heart. Second best: on your right side, so the heart is
    elevated. Third best, on your left side, so the liver is elevated (best
    position if you still have food digesting). Worst position: on your
    belly. Do not sleep on your belly. Your lungs and heart
    will be pressed against your ribs, and your lymph will not drain. That covers it!

    1. Kate, sorry for the bad spacing…i tried to edit, but could not. We should combine our reports into one comprehensive one!

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