Episode 24: Strategies for Better Sleep

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Sleep plays a huge role in how we feel each day. When you don’t get a good night’s sleep it can make your day miserable. Small problems can feel like massive ones. You feel groggy and can’t focus on anything. You may be cranky and rude. And it can cause physical issues like headaches. So sleeping well at night is extremely important for entrepreneurs. We need to make sure we wake up ready to conquer the day!

Today we are talking about our nightly routines and some strategies we use to get better sleep. In the past this is something that we have struggled with, but now that we have somewhat mastered it we get good night’s sleep almost every night, even with two young kids. And while we aren’t perfect and we still have nights where we don’t stick to our usual routine and don’t get good sleep, we are able to for a majority of the time. 

We do want to preface our tips and strategies by saying that different things will work for different people, in fact we have found that we differ a bit in some of our nightly routines. Blake needs around 8 hours of sleep to feel at her best. Whereas Jacob needs around 6 hours. So find what works for you and how much sleep makes you feel at your best. 

We also want to share that these strategies are all natural and more focused on habits that work. We aren’t going to be talking about any pills, supplements, or anything like that to fix sleep issues as we have found that turning to those types of things can make you feel crappy the next day. 

And finally, don’t get frustrated when you can’t seem to fall asleep. There will be nights when no matter what you do you may not be able to get tired. Life throws us curve balls sometimes, just remember that if you have a night here or there where you can’t sleep don’t get frustrated or anxious and start counting the hours until you have to get up. Know that you will fall asleep eventually and tomorrow night will be better.  

Decrease stress during the day. 

We all have stresses during the day, especially right now with the pandemic and everything that goes along with that. We all have days when we have difficult client calls, or an overpacked day, or a day where everything just seems to go wrong. It is important to do what you can to decrease stress throughout the day so that you can have restful sleep at night.

If you notice that you are stressed out, take some time to relax and address the stress. You don’t want stress to fester inside you all day and then bombard you at night when you are trying to fall asleep. So when you feel stressed try deep breathing, vent to someone about it, meditate. Maybe you need to go for a walk to clear your head or even just hop in the car to get some alone time. You can listen to a relaxing podcast or focus on a hobby that makes you happy.  

It is also important to remember that in order to keep stress low it is also crucial that you take care of yourself mentally and physically. Eat healthy, exercise daily, meditate, etc…

Another thing we have found to be helpful is to get stressful or difficult tasks done first thing in the morning, that way it is out of the way early in the day. We tend to have more energy, focus and will power in the morning so try to tackle as much as you can early on. That way as you get later in the day and closer to bed time you have already done the hard things and you can start to wind down. 

Try not to eat before bed

We eat our last meal about 3-4 hours before going to bed, that way we give our bodies time to digest the food before trying to fall asleep. If you tend to get cravings or want to snack late at night, try to eat a filling meal for dinner so that you are full and don’t feel the need to eat more. 

Be mindful of what you are eating and drinking towards the end of the day. Alcohol, carbs and sugar definitely affect your REM sleep so try to avoid those as you get closer to bed time. 

No social media at night

We both turn our phones off a couple of hours before bed, usually around 7pm or so. That way we aren’t scanning the phone for news, social media, or emails. For a lot of people looking at social media can cause anger or jealousy or frustration. These emotions are not good for trying to fall asleep. Plus the light from your phone can disrupt your body’s ability to feel tired. 

Read a boring book

Reading can be a good way to get sleepy. It needs to be a book that holds your interest, but that isn’t too exciting. You don’t want a book that will keep you up until 2am flipping pages trying to figure out what happens. 

Watch engaging shows

One thing we have added to our routine is watching an interesting and engaging show a couple of hours before bed. TV in moderation can be a good way to escape a stressful day. We usually try to keep it to 30-60 minutes and no more than that. We also don’t watch TV while in bed or too close to our bedtime. 

But it can help to destress to watch a show or a movie before you go do the rest of your nightly routine. 

Drink tea or a warm liquid

Herbal tea can curb cravings and it can relax you. You may also want to try warm bone broth or some other hot liquid. Just make sure it is caffeine free. 

Try to have a schedule/routine

Creating a nightly schedule or routine can be very helpful. It can program your body to know when it should get up and be awake and when it should be tired and fall asleep. Try as much as you can to stick to a similar schedule each evening. When you go to bed at random times and wake up at all different times your body will have a hard time adjusting. 

Make yourself tired during the day

When you lay down at night you should be exhausted. Do whatever you need to do during the day to make yourself so tired at night you fall asleep easily. Work as much as you can, exercise, engage your brain, play with your kids, move your body. 

Pay attention to the temperature in your room

This may be one tip that is subjective, but we have found that we sleep better and deeper when our room is cooler. If it is too hot, sleep is difficult. Try to find your ideal room temperature and do what you can to keep it there. Buy a fan if you have to, get a thinner blanket, open a window, etc…

Not every night will be perfect and there will be days when you can’t control these things. But hopefully by implementing these things on a regular basis your sleep schedule will be more regular and you can get better and deeper sleep. 

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