How to Sleep Better


It starts with Sleep Hygiene

Have you ever wondered why your therapist, naturopath, and maybe even your mom are constantly nagging you about getting to bed at a reasonable hour? Do you find yourself ignoring your bedtime? Scrolling TikTok endlessly until your eyes get heavy? You might notice this is having an impact on your overall wellness. Poor sleep impacts memory, concentration, and our ability to problem-solve. This doesn’t even touch on mood issues- crankiness, short temperedness, grumpiness- very much related to too little or poor-quality sleep.

Are you wondering how to make some changes? Well, let me shed some light on the matter—it’s all about sleep hygiene, my friend! Buckle up as we dive into why getting quality shut-eye is crucial for your physical and mental well-being.

A woman resting in her bed on fluffy pillows with an eye mask on, getting good sleep

The Brain’s Bedtime Bootcamp: How It Learns to Hit the Hay

Think of your brain as a savvy CEO—it thrives on routine and structure. When it comes to bedtime, your brain needs a clear signal that it’s time to wind down and catch some Z’s. This is where sleep hygiene comes into play.

By sticking to a consistent sleep schedule and establishing a relaxing bedtime routine, you’re essentially training your brain to recognize when it’s time to hit the hay. So, when your head hits the pillow, your brain knows it’s lights out, no questions asked.

This can be challenging, especially as we hit the summer months and we feel the urge to stay up later, particularly on weekends. But as we’re seeing that 1 in 3 adult Americans are not getting enough sleep each night, it’s worth repeating:

A man sitting on the edge of his bed, chin on his hand. A clock says it's almost three in the morning. He is having difficulty sleeping

Beds Are for Sleep (and a Little Something Else)

Here’s a golden rule of sleep hygiene: reserve your bed for snoozing and sex only. That means no scrolling through Instagram, no binge-watching Netflix, and definitely no stress-inducing activities like doing your taxes. By associating your bed with relaxation and intimacy, you’re setting the stage for a restorative night

The Dream Team: Deep Sleep and REM Sleep

Sleep is crucial for our wellbeing. Now, let’s talk about the dynamic duo—deep sleep and REM sleep. Deep sleep is like hitting the reset button for your body and brain. It’s during this stage that your body repairs tissues, builds muscle, and strengthens your immune system. Meanwhile, REM is when your brain gets down to business, processing emotions, consolidating memories, and enhancing creativity.

Without enough deep sleep and REM sleep, you might find yourself feeling groggy, forgetful, and downright irritable. So, if you want to be firing on all cylinders during the day, it’s essential to prioritize both stages.

A woman sitting at a table with her laptop in front of her. Her head is resting on her hand and she appears to be dozing off. Two children play in the background.

Crafting Your Bedtime Blueprint: A Grown-Up’s Guide

Ready to revamp your bedtime routine like a pro? Here’s a simple example to get you started:

Set a Consistent Bedtime

Aim to hit the hay at the same time each night, even on weekends or in the summer.

Unplug and Unwind

Power down electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime to give your brain a chance to wind down. Devices give off blue light, which can disrupt your natural circadian rhythm. Want bonus points? Dr. Katie recommends adding blue light blocking to your screens or wearing some snazzy glasses to help.

Create a Relaxing Ritual

You can improve your bedtime by better by making it a mindful activity. Engage in calming activities like reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practicing gentle yoga to signal to your brain that it’s time to relax.

Create a Sleep Sanctuary

To get better zzz’s, set yourself up for success. Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet to promote optimal conditions. We love good blackout curtains, especially as the sunset gets later and later. White noise is helpful for some people- calming ocean sounds or a babbling brook. Reviews are mixed on whether or not our furry family members help or hurt the restprocess, but snuggling can definitely be beneficial.

Stick to the Plan

It’s easy to make exceptions. Stay committed to your bedtime routine, even when the temptation to stay up late strikes.

By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to cultivating healthy sleep habits and reaping the rewards of quality rest.

A little child sitting cross-legged. They are yawning widely.

Get Support for Sleeping Better

Still struggling? Book a consultation to see how we can support you. Whether it’s something on your mind or something more- the integrative health team at Ancora is here to support you.

So, the next time you find yourself burning the midnight oil, remember the importance of sleep hygiene and give yourself the gift of a good night’s sleep. Your body and brain will thank you for it!

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