10 Easy Life Hacks for Enhancing Restful Sleep

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Okay, so let me make one thing super clear: I am not writing on this subject because I am some kind of well rested sleep expert. Far from it. In fact, right now, at this very moment, I am writing from a sleep deprived stupor.
When I had my first born, I was all ready for the dreaded sleepless nights everyone warned me about. Then I was blessed with a freakishly chill infant that slept through most of the night, and was easily and quickly fed and soothed when she did wake up.
But NOW, with my second born, I have your classic waking up multiple times in the night, hard to sooth, stumbling-to-the-kitchen-at-1am-to-refill bottles baby. And boy am I feeling the sleep deprivation!
So researching ways to enhance restful sleep – however many hours I am lucky to get – has become a recent interest of mine. Because it’s not just the duration of sleep that matters (thank God!) but the INTENSITY of sleep. Five hours of deep, restful sleep is far better for your health and much more restorative than eight hours of broken, light sleep.
In my gleaning for simple and easy life hacks to enhance sleep, these were the easiest and by far the simplest tips that seem to offer the most return for the effort. Give them a try and let me know what you think!

1. Get at least one hour of sunlight exposure during the day.

Your bodies master clock, or circadian rhythm DEPENDS on you getting ample light exposure in your waking hours to enhance restful sleep. Research by Dr. Mercola reveals that many indoor environments simply aren’t intense enough to set your internal clock. Your body requires “anchor light”, so called because it anchors your rhythm, causing it to be less fragile, so that light at night has less of an ability to shift your rhythm.
According to Mercola the first 30-60 minutes of outdoor light exposure creates about 80 percent of your anchoring effect! This is useful information, as this means that even just going outside for half an hour at lunch time can provide you with the majority of anchoring light you need to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm!
So spend more time outside during daylight! Try to take your work breaks outside in sunlight, exercise outside, or play with your children outside. Let as much light into your home and workspace as possible, keeping curtains and blinds open during the day.

2. Avoid caffeine hours 6 hours before bedtime.

Research from the Sleep Disorders & Research Center conducted at the Henry Ford Hospital have proven that caffeine affects your body up to 6 hours after consumption! Caffeine works by blocking sleep-inducing chemicals in the brain and increasing adrenaline production. So this one step will go a LONG WAY toward enhancing restful sleep.
So avoid caffeine (found in coffee, tea, chocolate, cola, and some pain relievers) for at LEAST six hours before bedtime.

3. Don’t eat dinner within 2 hours of bedtime.

What you eat before bed (and when you eat it) can have a serious impact on your sleep quality (and weight!).
Try to make dinnertime earlier in the evening, and avoid heavy, rich foods within 2 hours of bed. Fatty foods take a lot of work for your stomach to digest and may keep you up. Also be cautious when it comes to spicy or acidic foods in the evening, as they can cause stomach trouble and heartburn.

4. Go to bed at the same time every night.

Having a regular sleep schedule helps to ensure better quality and consistent sleep. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day sets the body’s internal clock to expect sleep at a certain time night after night. Try to stick as closely as possible to your routine!
Waking up at the same time each day is the very best way to set your clock, and even if you did not sleep well the night before, the extra sleep drive will help you consolidate sleep the following night. So set a regular bedtime… and stick to it!

5. Create a relaxing bedtime ritual.

Simply doing the same things each night will tell your body it’s time to wind down. This might include taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, or listening to soothing music with the lights dimmed.
I have started having a cup of herbal tea while my husband and I read a Bible study before bedtime. The important thing is that your routine is relaxing! Relaxing activities promote better sleep by easing the transition between wakefulness and drowsiness.

6. Turn your bedroom into a sleep-inducing environment.

We will spend a third of our lives sleeping. ONE THIRD. So it just makes sense to invest in a comfortable, healthy sleeping environment!
Make sure you have a comfortable mattress and pillows. (Remember that most mattresses wear out after ten years.) If you suffer from allergies, consider allergy-proof slipcovers for your bed. Invest in some natural fiber fabrics for your sheets – wool is proven to enhance deep sleep, linen and cotton are great for keeping you cool, while silk offers beauty benefits (it’s great for your skin and hair!) CLICK HERE to read my blog post, “The Health Benefits of Wearing Natural Fabrics”!
Also, if a pet regularly wakes you during the night, you may want to consider keeping it out of your bedroom.

7. Banish electronics from the bedroom.

Keeping computers, TVs, and work materials out of the bedroom will strengthen the mental association between your bedroom and sleep. Not to mention late night Pinterest or LOLcat meme marathons doesn’t exactly enhance sleep. (I’m majorly guilty on that one…)
Furthermore, that “glow” from electronics is also at work against quality shuteye. The small amounts of light from these devices pass through the retina into a part of the hypothalamus (the area of the brain that controls several sleep activities) and delay the release of the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin. But more on that on the next point..

8. Keep your bedroom dark at night.

When the sun goes down and darkness occurs, the pineal gland is “turned on” and begins to actively produce melatonin, which is released into the blood. As a result, melatonin levels in the blood rise sharply and you begin to feel less alert. Sleep becomes more inviting. Melatonin levels in the blood stay elevated for about 12 hours – all through the night – before the light of a new day when they fall back to low daytime levels. Daytime levels of melatonin are barely detectable.
When the eye, even with eyelids closed, perceives specific levels of light, the brain’s pineal gland triggers the production of serotonin, causing the human body to awaken. So if you want to stay sleepy at night.. stay in the dark!!
Cover electronics with a glow, get rid of nightlights (or use ones with a dim red hue), use heavy curtains or blackout shades and if all else fails, use an eye mask to block light!

9. Set your thermostat to 65 degrees at night.

Craig Heller, PhD, professor of biology at Stanford University states that when you go to sleep, your set point for body temperature – basically, the temperature your brain is trying to achieve – goes down. Think of it as the internal thermostat.
If it’s too hot, the body struggles to achieve this set point. If you provide a mild drop in body temperature, it will actually induce sleep!
While the National Sleep Foundation recommends you keep your room at 65 degrees, they insist that if the cold is keeping you awake, you can raise it anywhere from 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit and still enjoy the same sleep enhancing effects.

10. Keep your room quiet at night.

If you can’t avoid or eliminate noise from barking dogs, loud neighbors, city traffic, or other people in your household (*cough*infant*cough*), try masking noise with a fan, using recordings of soothing sounds, or even try white noise. Earplugs may also help.

Do you use any of these ten life hacks for enhancing sleep? Think you’ll try some? Share in the comments below! ^_^

Gingi Freeman on FacebookGingi Freeman on InstagramGingi Freeman on PinterestGingi Freeman on Twitter
Gingi Freeman
Gingi Freeman
Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls.

Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at gingifreeman@gmail.com or via the contact form on her website at www.domesticgeekgirl.com

Gingi Freeman

Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls. Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at gingifreeman@gmail.com or via the contact form on her website at www.domesticgeekgirl.com

70 thoughts on “10 Easy Life Hacks for Enhancing Restful Sleep

  • 8 April, 2015 at 9:37 am
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    Getting rid of electronics in our bedroom has has a huge impact. I used to check Facebook or emails before bed and it would take me ages to get to sleep as my brain was still to engaged. We have changed that now though.

    • 9 April, 2015 at 4:48 pm
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      I still haven’t completely banished electronics.. I always make some excuse about why TONIGHT is an exception and how it’s really very important I spend a few minutes in bed looking at “fill in the blank”. lol! But I’m getting better!!

  • 8 April, 2015 at 9:49 am
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    Gingi… I have tried many of these, I hope they work for you. I am just sleep deprived unfortunately, try as I may… I am hoping that changes with time, I miss getting deep sleep… Hopefully your little one will start sleeping through the night soon 😉

  • 8 April, 2015 at 10:03 am
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    Sorry about your sleepless nights- hope your little one starts sleeping through the night soon! These are great tips- especially the one about avoiding caffeine later in the day, even though it’s difficult to resist!

    lovejoanna.com

    • 9 April, 2015 at 4:48 pm
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      Yeah, I keep telling myself I’ll buy some decaf coffee for when the urge strikes, but I never get around to it! Putting this on my to do list now, haha.

    • 9 April, 2015 at 4:50 pm
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      LOVE THESE!!! I was planning on doing another blog post in the future on sleep, do you mind if I link to this post in my article?? ^_^

    • 9 April, 2015 at 4:53 pm
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      I’ve tried yoga, and maybe I’m just REALLY high strung, but I get frustrated with it! lol

  • 8 April, 2015 at 11:23 am
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    I need to work on #7 more. The last thing I always do before bed each night is scroll through Instagram while lying in bed : /

    • 9 April, 2015 at 4:54 pm
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      Haha, Pinterest is my downfall..

  • 8 April, 2015 at 1:24 pm
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    Great advice! I always have had a rough time sleeping well so I’ll try to see whether I do all of these already.

  • 8 April, 2015 at 1:32 pm
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    I struggle with sleep as well, but all of these tips have helped me along the way! Good luck getting through the sleepless baby nights. Hope she starts sleeping better for you soon.

    • 9 April, 2015 at 4:54 pm
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      Thanks Julie! <3

  • 8 April, 2015 at 3:17 pm
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    Wow, thanks for making this list! The only thing I do is keeping the bedroom dark, no wonder I’m such a bad sleeper… But this all is so much harder than it seems sadly enough…

    Thanks for sharing!

    XO Imke

    • 9 April, 2015 at 4:56 pm
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      Yeah, I’ve found that if I take baby steps in goals, I am far more successful in my attempts.. so right now I’m mainly focused on cutting out evening caffiene and keeping the house cool at night..

      • 10 April, 2015 at 3:59 pm
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        I’m sure you’re doing great! 🙂
        Thank for stopping by on my blog! I hope you have a lovely weekend ahead!

        XO Imke

  • 8 April, 2015 at 6:35 pm
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    What a great post full of helpful and sensible tips. I like number 9, number 8 and number . Although I do sometimes struggle with number 4 !!

    Have a great nights sleep / rest.

    All the best Jan

  • 8 April, 2015 at 8:06 pm
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    I’ve tried most of these and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t help my chronic insomnia at all. However, I have never tried the getting at least an hour sunlight tip, that is definitely worth trying.

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

    • 9 April, 2015 at 5:01 pm
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      Yeah, that one is getting easier for me, now that Tessa demands I take her outside all the time, haha!

  • 8 April, 2015 at 9:37 pm
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    Banishing electronics is a challenging point for me but have to agree that it is best to remove them if possible! Thanks for all the great tips to a restful sleep at night!

    Prudence
    http://www.prudencepetitestyle.com

  • 8 April, 2015 at 11:20 pm
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    These are such great tips! I’m not the most restful sleeper, so I definitely going to try these out! Thanks for sharing!

  • 8 April, 2015 at 11:25 pm
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    An hour of sunlight a day? Do you have a different tip for those of us that are in the UK?? haha!

    Corinne x

    • 9 April, 2015 at 5:02 pm
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      Hahaha, I think you still get the seratonin boost from overcast days.. I think. That’s what I tell myself anyway, haha. (Having some cloudy days here recently!)

  • 9 April, 2015 at 2:32 am
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    Going to bed at the same time every night is hard for me. I wish that wasn’t the case but I burn the midnight oil with work.
    The sunlight one is awesome but we have had such bad weather here! I hope that changes soon. I do exercise for better sleep! I skip caffeine but it’s mostly because it makes me crazy.

    • 9 April, 2015 at 5:06 pm
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      Tamara is CRAZIER on coffee?! Lord help us! 😉

  • 9 April, 2015 at 3:38 am
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    I am not sure when the sleep deprived stupor ever ends. I am still looking at 13 years since my first child and very little sleep. There is wisdom in your tips and I know lack of sleep really messes with you. I am worried though about the temp setting, here in the desert that would blow our ac bill up to astounding levels! I’ll try the others first and see how it goes. Thanks Gingi!

    • 9 April, 2015 at 5:04 pm
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      LOL, I was actually just wondering when the kids will let me sleep. After hearing from parents of older kids.. I don’t feel too optimistic I’ll be hitting the snooze button any time soon! lol. And yeah, 65 is a bit too cold for me. I’ve been setting my temp to 70 instead, lol.

  • 9 April, 2015 at 9:02 am
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    Hahaha I so badly needed this post! I struggle so much to get restful sleep at night. Its just so distracting having TV, cell phones and laptops (hence number 7 is VITAL)!

    MAKE IT RAYNE
    XX

  • 9 April, 2015 at 12:13 pm
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    I guess I should definitely try some of those. 🙂 I think I drink too much caffeine before bedtime. And my cats wake me up every morning before my alarm goes off. 🙂 I don’t think I want to change this though. Hope you can get lots of great sleep! Thanks for sharing this!

    • 9 April, 2015 at 5:04 pm
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      Yeah, cats and kids get a free pass in the sleep disruption department. 😉

  • 9 April, 2015 at 3:14 pm
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    Oh boy! Sleep is such a challenge for me, Gingi. I have shared that in my blog a few times as it is the hardest healthy habit for me. My brain has a hard time shutting down. These tips are so spot on and some tips are things many have not heard of and easy to try. You may be interested in reading about a study on sleep I wrote about here telling how much sleep we actually need: http://www.thehealthminded.com/2015/02/how-much-sleep-you-need-to-stay-healthy.html. Good luck and it will get better once the babe starts sleeping regularly.

    • 9 April, 2015 at 5:06 pm
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      Hey, I’m planning on blogging on the issue of sleep again in the future.. do you mind if I link to your blog post in my article? I love your blog posts!! <3

  • 9 April, 2015 at 3:42 pm
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    I think I am the lucky one who falls asleep very fast, almost as soon as my head hits the pillow. Still, I find those tips very helpful for a sound sleep. Thanks for sharing.

    • 9 April, 2015 at 6:59 pm
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      You and me both!! 😉

  • 9 April, 2015 at 7:17 pm
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    Gingi this is such great advice. I totally feel your pain, my kids were awful sleepers, they still wake up at least once a night with a problem!! My eldest never slept more than an hour her first year. Yikes. I agree about getting bright light, really helps, hope baby starts sleeping more for you.

    • 10 April, 2015 at 1:02 pm
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      It seems like Thyme’s sleep is getting WORSE! She is only sleeping in one to two hour naps, and the ONLY time she’ll sleep longer is if I’m holding her. I’m all for co-sleeping, but not THIS young.. Tessa still sleeps with us and I DO NOT trust myself to keep her safe in bed with me when I’m such a heavy sleeper!! Ugh… pray for me? lol!

  • 9 April, 2015 at 7:29 pm
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    I must be a sleep weirdo because I can drink coffee before bed and sleep through the night, eat dinner at 9pm and go to bed at 11pm, and I have to have the blinds open so I can see outside (I don’t like enclosed spaces), and I sleep with one of my dogs. Go figure! You’d think that I would be a walking zombie!!! 🙂

    • 10 April, 2015 at 1:03 pm
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      LOL, okay, you are a sleep weirdo! Share some of whatever you have! I could use it! lol! 😉

  • 9 April, 2015 at 9:38 pm
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    Wonderful tips! I think given that you have a newborn, sleep is certainly generally challenging! I used to have trouble sleeping, but these days less so. Good luck on getting some rest Gingi!

  • 9 April, 2015 at 10:08 pm
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    Does it count if I drink coffee at 5pm and then take 2 Benadryl at 9:45pm? *guilty face* Or is that really just more like abusing drugs….hmmm…I should post this article on my nightstand.

    • 10 April, 2015 at 1:06 pm
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      LOL, I knew you were the black sheep type.. you drug abuser you. 😉 😉

  • 9 April, 2015 at 11:13 pm
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    No wonder I’m not sleeping well! I need to work on about half of these… I really like the idea of a bedtime ritual 🙂

  • 9 April, 2015 at 11:40 pm
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    I’ve tried everyone of those many times and still have serious sleep issues – I’m just used to not sleeping through the night anymore.

    • 10 April, 2015 at 1:07 pm
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      Nooooooo!!! There is hope!! (At least I hope there is hope, or I’m doomed! haha)

  • 10 April, 2015 at 1:17 am
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    Thanks for these tips, Gingi! I feel for you, my friend. Those sleepless nights from crying babies are long gone for me, but I have major problems trying to fall asleep these days. I definitely need to lay off the screens for a while before bed. If I can’t fall asleep, I just grab my phone and play on it, which makes it even worse.

    • 10 April, 2015 at 1:09 pm
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      Yeah, some nights hubby and I will both be on our phones, playing video games or scrolling around online, complaining that we can’t sleep.. go figure! heh!

  • 10 April, 2015 at 5:04 am
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    sleep is an ongoing battle in our household and has been for years! these are excellent tips for one sleep deprived momma. thank you sweetie! hope you can catch some good zzzz’s too. 🙂
    love, liz
    http://www.stylewich.com

  • 10 April, 2015 at 5:35 pm
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    Great tips! Since I got my ipad the no screen time in bed have been a bit adjusted… But I work on it 🙂

    • 10 April, 2015 at 7:04 pm
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      I think that’s the new problem.. even trumping caffeine! lol!

  • 10 April, 2015 at 7:32 pm
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    There are a few things on this list that I know to do, but I am not. Thank you for the kick in the rear to get my act together.

  • 11 April, 2015 at 3:44 pm
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    Thanks for the tips! SLEEP is always on top of my list since I’m working at night and I want to get as much healthy sleep as I can. I can never have a routine sleep time though because my work schedule changes drastically due to business needs. I know my body clock totally suck sometimes but I can get by since I’m already used to it. I agree with no electronics in bed (although guilty always, hehe) and turning the lights off when sleeping!

    • 13 April, 2015 at 5:04 pm
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      Even after writing this blog post, I am STILL struggling with the whole electronics in bed thing.. haha.. it’s the hardest one on the list to keep! haha!

  • 11 April, 2015 at 7:33 pm
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    Great tips for sleep…… There are much points about sleep in this post which I do not know… 🙂

  • 14 April, 2015 at 2:33 pm
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    Good advice, I’d also add keep off the computer for 2 hours before going to bed

  • 17 April, 2015 at 3:44 am
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    I love all of these tips!! I actually have a post similar to this saved in my drafts for later. ;P I sometimes have trouble sleeping and tips like this are definitely helpful. Sometimes hard to follow (like the no electronics before bed rule… GUILTY.) but I’ve definitely noticed a more restful sleep when I do.

    I’m so glad you commented on my blog! As soon as I popped over here and saw your FFX-2 cosplay banner I was like AUSFBDFBJFBWHAAAA. *heart eyes* And then your FMA cosplay?? Your family is the cutest.

    xx Alyssa — fragments of memories

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