8 Ways to Sleep Better

Some of you know that I struggle with depression and it seems to come in waves. I am going to be totally honest when I tell you that I am struggling with situational depression this month. If we were having coffee and you asked me how I was doing, I would tell you that I am not fucking fine. I don’t swear a lot so I want to emphasize and drive home the fact that things are not sunshine and rainbows over here. Mentally, I am struggling to come to terms with things. I am in no mood to explain what these things are but I might write about it in an upcoming blog post. I am just tired of receiving bad news all the damn time and I do not want to drag all of you down with my negativity.

Whenever I am really struggling with situational depression, my sleep schedule is usually the first thing to go. This week, I have been extremely sleep-deprived as I was staying up until 0500 – 0600 and waking up at 1030 to send my daughter to school. It is hard to find balance when I am dealing with these strong, negative emotions and lack of motivation. I am barely functioning from lack of sleep. Last Wednesday, I missed sending my daughter to school because I slept through my alarm. I feel like I am failing as a mother and this is not one of my prouder moments.

Redefining the Way You Sleep ✨🌙

In case you missed my post about Improving Sleep Hygiene, I highly recommend reading it first. From years of struggling with insomnia as well as excessive worrying, I know that sleep is vital for a person’s health and well-being. I also know that sleep is even more important for those who struggle with #mental-health and mood regulation. If you are currently experiencing sleep problems, then I suggest checking out my list below ↓ Here are some ways to help you get some sleep for a more productive day! 💁‍♀️

Redefining Sleep: 8 Ways to Sleep Better

1. Figure out how much sleep you need. If you are not getting enough sleep, then your body and mind are not going to function the way they should. You will feel tired and groggy, even when you wake up early. If you don’t address it now, then sleep deprivation can ultimately wreak havoc on your health. If you want to get some rest, you can start by making a plan to determine how much sleep is right for you. While some people can get away with 4 hours of sleep each night, others require more sleep.

2. Have a nighttime routine. Do you find yourself waking up during your sleep cycle? Chances are, you’re probably not getting enough REM sleep. During REM sleep, your body is working hard to replenish and repair itself. Having a nighttime routine can help get you into bed faster and fall asleep quicker, and it may even help regulate your circadian rhythm by teaching your body to start winding down at the same time each day. This might sound counterintuitive, but having a set bedtime and morning routine can actually make it easier to fall asleep at night.

3. Be consistent. We are all guilty of not always following what we say we are going to do. However, one good way to keep a consistent sleep schedule is to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, including weekends and holidays. Also, don’t doze off for an hour in front of your computer or TV late at night; if you can’t fall asleep by 2200, get up and go to bed anyways.

4. Hello, sunshine! 🌞 If you’re having trouble sleeping, then a lack of natural light might be to blame. Spend some time each day getting at least 15 minutes of sunlight and your body will get used to feeling more awake (and alive) in the morning. Sunlight also helps reset your circadian rhythm, which is your internal clock and plays a role in sleep regulation. Since we associate darkness with going to bed, getting sunlight will trick your brain into thinking it’s time to wake up! ☕💕

5. Reward Yourself. When you are struggling to get a good night’s sleep, make it easier on yourself. You could try starting your day with a refreshing shower or a short walk outside. Exercise can also help improve your quality of sleep as well. Making time for #self-care is an important part of sleeping well at night. If you still can’t fall asleep, try adding some relaxing activities before bedtime such as taking a bath or listening to relaxing music.

6. Plan the Next Day. It is natural to have an off day or a bad week from time to time, but it can also be difficult to get back on track if you fail to plan for these mishaps. Instead of waiting for the morning, plan your next day prior to bed. In 30 minutes, you can figure out what needs to be done tomorrow and how much time each task will take. 

7. Turn off social media. The blue light from social media keeps you up at night. If you have trouble sleeping, I suggest that you deactivate your account and read a book. And please don’t bring your phone with you into bed. If you must use your phone as an alarm clock like many people do, then you need to check out this blog post for a sans phone solution.

8. Eat light before bedtime. While a few crackers won’t hurt, too many late-night calories could lead to weight gain. It is important not only to avoid eating close to bedtime but also skipping meals altogether, as that leads your body and mind into starvation mode, which can leave you feeling tired and cranky in addition to losing precious hours of valuable shuteye.


(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ FINAL THOUGHTS ♥

Sleep is a critical part of staying healthy and it is not just limited to your physical or mental well-being. Like eating well and exercising regularly, it is important to make sleep a priority in your life. If you want to be at your best, then you need your beauty sleep. And while everyone has their own way of sleeping better, there are some general tips that can help you start getting more—and better—sleep every night. Do you agree with this list of suggestions? Is there anything that I missed? Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment below ↓ #Sweet-dreams

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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63 thoughts on “8 Ways to Sleep Better

  1. Pooja G says:

    As someone who also suffers from depression as well as insomnia I definitely agree with all the points you mentioned. One thing that has helped me a lot is staying consistent and having a sort of sleep schedule that I stick to. It’s been difficult but it helps a lot. I also like to meditate before bed instead of checking my devices and that helps too. Something about a screen just messes up my sleep for some reason.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hilary Tan says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Ribana! That’s awesome that you have a consistent sleep schedule and that you don’t suffer from insomnia (I remember you telling me that you don’t get insomnia…). I have the hardest time with consistency and sticking to a schedule.

      I think subconsciously I self-sabotage myself and I find that I feel so much worse the following day as a result. It is beginning to dawn on me that perhaps this is due to my bad habits and yet these bad habits are so hard to break.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. giftedandchilling says:

    Amazing tips – thank you for sharing! I definitely need to apply these to have a better night’s sleep, especially being more consistent. I have a bad habit of falling asleep on the sofa now and again. The “Hello Sunshine” advice made me smile!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ekta Saxena says:

    Just to add, I found out that lack of sleep could even raise your blood sugar levels, even if you are a pre-diabetic. So thanks a ton for the very helpful tips. I hope and pray that you get over this low phase and enjoy each moment of life to the fullest. After all, we are blessed with only one life.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hilary Tan says:

      This is a great point, Ekta! I am not diabetic but I a lot of my patients are diabetic. Yes, that makes total sense that lack of sleep can raise blood sugar levels. At times, I can sense when my blood sugar is low. I don’t have a glucometer or anything, but I can physically feel the exhaustion from hypoglycemia. This usually happens whenever I work long hours without eating or taking breaks. I am both mentally and physically exhausted.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. ZeroSpace says:

    Sorry to hear that you’re depressed. No wonder you liked my creepy pacific northwest ocean pictures. And I hope you feel better soon and sleep well soon. I got prescribed an anti-histimine for sleep that works like a charm and also nails anxiety pretty well. The trouble is the damn thing can cause or worse depression and therefore it’s not a very good “take it every night” pill but it sure is good now and then. It’s hydroxyzine. I am also a big fan of sleep hypnosis on YouTube; Mike Sealy and Jody Whitely are the best two. It really can make a huge difference. But you are correct where it’s this annoying catch 22 where mental stuff causes insomnia in the first place so one has to resolve that issue to sleep better but at the same time better sleep helps so it’s like what came first the chicken or the egg kind of deal. I know blue light from phones is a big offender. On nights where I put the phone away at or before 10 I do better

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hilary Tan says:

      • Creepy? Nah. Realistic and beautiful for being so eerie and dark? Sure 👍

      • I’m still struggling with my sleep schedule so I plan on posting a “part three” to this sleep series. It’s not a part three but it’s about sleep since I can seem to give advice, yet I can’t follow my own advice! 😓

      • I heard that anti-histamines can help with sleep, specifically Benadryl. The only things I take are Tylenol (so hardcore I know… this is sarcasm) and melatonin powder. The powder dissolves and hits the bloodstream a lot faster than pills do.

      • Yes, I also find that I sleep better IF I put my phone away before midnight and force myself to go to bed, because an hour on my phone leads to 5 hours if I’m not careful. The struggle is real.

      Liked by 2 people

      • ZeroSpace says:

        I dumped my hydroxy last night because it was messing me up too bad and is not worth it. I am willing to bet OTC’s like Benadryl cause a little depression too, just not nearly as much as a powerful prescription anti histamine. I think they are fine once in a blue moon but not every night. Morning exercise is also powerful but I am sure as a momma that one is hard to pull off.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Hilary Tan says:

        hydroxy-something. I’m only familiar with the generic names. I want to say hydroxychloroquine but that sounds wrong.

        Oh gawd no, I could never wake up early. I’m so not a morning person. Most nights I stay up super late. Last night I was up until 0400 but it was my fault for drinking a large MCDs caffeinated coffee at night. Even on my good days, I can’t drag my ass out of bed. I try to go outside once a day which helps somewhat, but today I just feel like a zombie. I’m tired yet I can’t sleep.

        Liked by 1 person

      • ZeroSpace says:

        Hydroxyzine. Used for daytime anxiety too, but just too strong all around. I dumped my pills. My belief now is that anything which treats anxiety can cause depression because it downs you. Anyway. It’s good that you get outside when you can. It sounds like you are still in a rough spot. You’re up north in the shitty weather too and you probably could use some sun. Summer is on the way at least.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Hilary Tan says:

        Oh okay. I’m not as familiar with that one but wouldn’t be surprised if some of my patients are on it. If you’re looking for something that calms your nerves but doesn’t cause depression, have you considered Magnesium + melatonin? I use NaturalCalm whenever I remember to take it although I’m really forgetful.

        Yup. Weather is still shit up here. I’m still indoors and should be outside but can’t be bothered when I am feeling so sleep deprived (but cannot sleep even if I wanted to).

        Liked by 1 person

      • ZeroSpace says:

        I have magnesium powder on my counter and that is a very good suggestion. For some reason it is invisible to me. It is there in plain site but I forget that I have it. I don’t know what it will take for me to remember. Magnesium is great. I ha very some yummy organic melatonin gummed too which I do sometimes eat

        Liked by 2 people

      • Hilary Tan says:

        Magnesium powder is the best because it dissolves quickly and hits the bloodstream faster than tablets. And same. I have 2 containers of cherry flavored melatonin powder and I still forget to take it. 🤷‍♀️

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hilary Tan says:

        It’s like I think I am invincible when I drink coffee. I forget about all of the side effects. MCDs decaf coffee is good too, but why get decaf when you can have the real thing? I haven’t had caffeinated MCDs coffee in ages. And of course, I upgraded to a large for a few cents more. I’m a sucker for good deals. 😆

        Liked by 1 person

  5. jesusluvsall says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience with depression and sleep. The more of us who share about depression, the more it helps remove stigma.

    I understand the problems with sleep. My problems also stem from having Psoriatic Arthritis wand sometimes pain waking me up.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hilary Tan says:

      Yes, exactly. My intention is to add vulnerability and anecdotes to my blog posts because I think it makes them more relatable. Depression is more common than people think and the more we talk about it, the more we realize that we are not alone.

      I am not a doctor, but I highly recommend trying creams for muscle/joint pain. Anything that helps provide some kind of relief, even if it’s only temporary, is better than suffering in pain. I am sorry that you deal with psoriatic arthritis.

      Like

    • Hilary Tan says:

      I’m familiar with those meds but haven’t taken them myself. I appreciate that you used the generic names rather than the brand names.

      As for the depression, it took me years to come to terms with my daughter’s condition and I’m still not at my previous baseline. My only option is to find a better way to cope with bad news…

      It was a shock when we found out my daughter was blind in one eye. Now my son is showing symptoms and he needs eye surgery… he’s only 10 months old. I often wonder why I had to have this faulty gene. Like why? It’s a rare gene and only a very tiny % of people have actually been diagnosed. The disease causes bilateral blindness due to hypoplasia, scarring, and retinal detachment.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hilary Tan says:

      YES. This right here. When my mood is low, my motivation and energy levels are practically nonexistent. It’s a downwards spiral from there. Depression sucks and it amazes me how many of us deal with depression.

      Right now, my body needs sleep, but what I am doing? I’m on my laptop doing anything other than sleeping. I’ll end up paying the price tomorrow….

      Like

  6. Stuart Danker says:

    You know what’s helped me the most? Waking up at an early time consistently. A doctor once said that it was easier to wake up when tired than to sleep when not. What wise words. And I used to be an insomniac too. But ever since I forced myself to wake up at a certain time, it’s been so much easier to sleep when I need to. Thanks so much for this post!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hilary Tan says:

      This is great advice, Stuart! Surprisingly, I’ve been getting up at the same time each morning because I have to 😂 I never thought about it that way – that it’s harder to go to bed when we’re awake. Thank you for your insight! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. hellosamanthadear says:

    Firstly, I’m so sorry to hear that you’re struggling with situational depression! I truly hope things get better for you and things look up. Life can be super hard and it’s even harder when bad news keeps coming at you. Here’s hoping things look up! Also, these are excellent sleeping tips; you’re so right that it’s important to make sleep a priority – we all need it! And it really does make a difference in how we feel throughout the day, physically and mentally. Over the years I’ve gotten better at keeping a sleep schedule – to bed at 10PM, up at 6 AM. I stick to it daily and it makes a great difference! I do sometimes wake up in the middle of the night because I’m a vivid dreamer and sometimes it wakes me, but otherwise, all good! Thanks for sharing this! 💜

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hilary Tan says:

      March was a difficult month for me. I was hoping it would get better this Spring but it hasn’t. It actually got worse during the month of March. I wrote a blog post recap for last month, which will be up Monday morning. It’s a vulnerable blog post but I needed to talk about what’s been on my mind lately. This is also why I am so slow getting around to replying to comments – there’s a lot on my mind these days.

      I am still struggling with sleep, and I have a difficult time shutting off the laptop and going to sleep. I wish I could go to bed at 2200 and wake up at 0600 – it must be so nice being able to fall asleep at the same time each night. It’s the late night hours that are the quietest, and I think that’s part of the reason why I am more productive at night vs. during the day.

      Liked by 2 people

      • hellosamanthadear says:

        I look forward to reading your next blog post (although, I’m sorry to hear it was a bad month for you). I think that’s good that you’re being vulnerable and sharing your feelings. That’s hard to do! I’m sure many others will be able to relate in some way! It makes sense why night time is more productive for you since it’s quiet. It can definitely be hard to put away the laptop when you’re on a roll with productivity!

        Liked by 3 people

      • Hilary Tan says:

        Thank you, Samantha! I apologize that I’m so slow replying to comments. I feel totally zapped of energy and can’t focus on anything. The weather here is not so nice so I’m stuck inside. My mood is generally better when it’s sunny and warmer outside ☀️

        Liked by 1 person

  8. MusingswithMo says:

    Really useful tips! Thank you for sharing! As simple and intuitive as some of them seem I think we sometimes down okay ourselves and think once we break our routines we are strong enough to come back. That comeback can be tougher than we think

    Like

    • Hilary Tan says:

      I find that it’s often the simplest things that are the hardest to follow. Deep down, we all know what we should be doing. Yes, I totally agree that trying to make a comeback is often harder than doing the thing that we said we would do. Thank you for reading and commenting!

      Like

    • Hilary Tan says:

      Thanks for letting me know, Devang! 🙂 It’s 1:00am right now, but I plan on checking of your blog post later today. Yes, I definitely feel like many of us struggle to get enough sleep. 😴

      Like

      • Devang Upadhyaya says:

        Something the personally helps me is following a cycle. Sleeping and walking up at the same time daily. Like I generally sleep at 11 pm, so I follow that routine daily. Then I wake up at 6 am(used to wake up at 5), so my body is ready for this automatically.

        Like

  9. buddy71 says:

    i hope by now, you are feeling better. this is a very good post with very useful information. routine, consistency and turning off tv/phone/computer is a must. limiting stimulants (coffee/tea)

    Like

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