How to Improve Sleep Quality

Just take a look at the booming mattress industry to see the value of sleep in our lives. We’re often willing to spend big money when it comes to sleep. However, buying an expensive mattress may not solve your sleeping problems. Even if it does, there are other solutions that can improve your sleep that come at no cost at all.

Why You May Be Having Trouble Sleeping

You might have difficulty falling asleep because of racing thoughts, or making plans for the next day, or maybe you’re worrying about not sleeping and the time starts to slip away from you. And the vicious cycle of not being able to sleep goes on and on.

There are some simple tips that have been scientifically supported and can be helpful when it comes to sleep quality. We have a large section just for sleep on the Meditopia app, including various guided Sleep Meditations, Sleep Stories, and Sleep Sounds, as well as suggestions for how to get better sleep. Outside of Meditopia, there are also several other resources about sleep created by doctors and scientists. Here are a few tips for how to improve your sleep quality, also known as sleep hygiene:

  • Try to wake up and go to bed around the same time everyday
  • Have a relaxing bedtime routine
  • Keep your bedroom clean and organized, getting rid of unnecessary clutter that can be distracting
  • Make sure your bedroom is dark when you go to sleep
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime
  • Try not to use technological devices that emit blue light as you’re getting ready to go to sleep
  • Exercise or move your body
  • Try to use your bed only when it’s time to sleep, so that your mind connects your bed with the act of falling asleep

Let’s take it a step further by looking at what you can do to apply these tips and reap their benefits.

Change Your Mindset

There’s no rule that says just because it didn't work before, means it won't work now. We are always changing, our lives are ever-evolving. Be open to trying again, even if it’s something you’ve tried before.

Take Steps That Work For You

Think of something that makes going to and staying asleep difficult for you. Can you name it? How would you change that? Can you take inventory of your own sleeping habits as you reflect on these steps below?

  • Identify and name the problem as clearly as possible.
  • Try to list the ways in which it negatively impacts you and your daily life.
  • See if you can come up with solutions or brainstorm ideas. Don’t worry about whether they’re “good” or “bad” solutions, just try generating ideas for now.
  • See if you can choose one or two of those ideas and try to incorporate them into your life.
  • Reflect on this process and be open to modify it again and again until you feel good about these changes.

Let’s look at it from a broader perspective, as these kinds of steps are applicable in many other aspects of our lives outside of sleep. You can follow these steps whenever you encounter difficulties or problems in your life. Maybe you can use these steps to navigate your relationship with others, your performance at your job, or school and so on.

Be Realistic

Be honest with yourself about where you’re at in life. It may be difficult to accept that sleeping is not your superpower. Know when you need support, the resources available to you, and start to brainstorm how you can set yourself up to be your best and most authentic self. Identifying an area for growth is the first step toward strength and change. Try just starting somewhere instead of beating yourself up. A small improvement is better than nothing.

Own the Process

These sleep hygiene tips can be more effective if you believe that they’ll work. Take the process seriously and embrace it as you go. That may sound cliche, but you’re the one who’s going to make this journey toward change special and meaningful. Do your research, ask questions, and get curious about the science behind sleep. The more you question and learn, the more you’ll discover what’s good for you.

Don’t Aim for Perfection

You’re more likely to fail if your goal is to be perfect. Perfection is a myth and the enemy of growth and change. Goals aren’t achieved overnight and we often reach them through consistency and dedication. The more frequently you make the effort, the more solid and lasting the change will be. If you feel like you’re failing, keep trying anyway. The feeling of failure may not be real and it won’t last forever. Your effort and belief in yourself are what’s real.

Get Help

Be open to asking for help. Some of us are not very good at reaching out when we’re having a difficult time with something and we feel like we’re alone. In fact, sleep issues are quite common. You can always reach out to a professional in order to receive treatment. Or, you can talk to someone you love. Talking about our problems with others we hold dear can give us strength to keep moving forward, motivated by their support.

Broaden Your Perspective

Issues with sleep can sometimes be signals that something else is causing you distress in your life. You may be experiencing anxiety, depression, or other health-related problems. Dig into any possible reasons behind your poor sleep quality. Understanding the source of the problem can be the gateway toward a solution, an avenue guiding you to seek support, and a way to discover deeper parts of yourself.

Practice Acceptance

Unlike our calendars, our life does not always progress in a linear fashion. We may experience ups and downs, bitterness and sweetness, all at once as we move forward day by day. Be patient with yourself. We know that life can be a little more difficult when you don’t sleep well. Your job may get harder, people seem more irritating, even the simplest task requires a lot more effort when you are sleepless. Remind yourself that it won’t last forever and it will get better in time. Think of your sleeplessness like goggles warping your vision. Accept where you’re at right now and know that eventually, once you remove those goggles, everything will look fresh and new.

Be Kind to Yourself

It’s often easier to fall asleep to a gentle and caring voice telling you that everything’s okay or will be okay in time like a peaceful lullaby. This may have been your caregiver once. Now, you can be that kind and caring voice. You can tell yourself it’s safe here, you’re safe, and you’re loved. When we’re younger, we can typically rest easier with our caregivers there as support people, watching over us in the night. We can go to sleep and move on the next morning from where we left off the day before. Try to be that caregiver to yourself, reminding yourself that you’ll be fine.

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