We know you’re not hurting for articles about how to get better sleep. Chances are you’re doing the best you can with the circumstances you have. Maybe you’re working 14-hour days. Maybe you’re busy late into the night. And maybe you have a sleepless child or partner. Whatever your responsibilities, you need sleep even more on the not-so-ideal days as you do on those just-right days when you manage to fit an hour between your last email and your first attempt at shuteye. If awareness of the need for sleep could be converted to actual sleep, you’d be rich with rest. Alas, you’re a real human, so realistic ways to maximize real-life downtime will have to suffice.

Take a warm shower.

Many of us jump in the shower in the morning as part of a wake-me-up routine. The actual heat of the shower, however, is better suited to slowing down than revving up. Hop in the shower right before bed to kick-start your body’s process of preparing for sleep. Just make sure the water isn’t too hot, or your system will speed up. If you have the time and a nice, clean bathtub, taking a bath might help you sleep even better. Bonus points if you add Epsom salts to soothe tired muscles.

Turn down the lights.

There’s a reason 95%(!) of Americans report using electronics with screens in the hour before bed multiple times a week. They’re ingrained into the basic functioning of our lives. Unfortunately, the demand for productivity can’t always be paused to allow technology-free buffer time at the end of the day. Thus we recommend a compromise. When you have to use a screen after dark, make it a habit to turn down the brightness. This won’t eliminate signals to the brain that tell it to stay awake, but it will reduce their impact. If you spend a lot of time in front of screens, you can keep them from affecting your circadian rhythms by eliminating blue light. Do this by investing in some simple blue-blocking glasses, or install a program to change the light emitted from your devices.

Sleep when you get sleepy.

This sounds obvious, but it’s easier said than done. Let’s rephrase. Get sleepy, then sleep. The key is to actually take the time to feel tired immediately before you hit the hay. So many of us are so sleep deprived that we count the seconds until we can call it a night. When you’re rushing to get to bed, your mind will likely be racing when it hits the pillow. Counting the racing sheep as they dodge the worries from your day is not the best way to slow down your system. Be patient. Take the time you need to get tired. Once you’ve gotten used to feeling sleepiness at sleepy time, you’ll be better able to ride that wave smoothly into rejuvenating slumber.

Turn down your thoughts.

Sometimes you’ll have an hour of relaxing off time before bed, and sometimes you won’t. Either way, a mindfulness exercise can improve your chances of falling asleep. Ten minutes before you lay down, make it a point to clear your mind. Focus on your breath. Proactively set aside the racing thoughts that keep you up at night. This practice is your opportunity to get your body and your mind on the same page. Make it clear that you’ll be checking out of consciousness for a few hours, thank you very much.

Are you still not sleeping?

If you’re at your wits’ end because you’ve tried everything and still aren’t sleeping, you might not be the problem. At A Goodnight Sleepstore, we’re sleep experts as well as bed experts. We can help you get to the bottom of your sleep problem and find the right way to fix it. We also guarantee the lowest price AND your best night’s sleep. Next time your mindfulness exercise ends with you lying awake wondering why you still can’t sleep, plan a visit to one of our discount mattress stores. We’ll get you back to sleeping like a normal human!

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