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Five Ways to Get a Better Night’s Sleep

What if your New Year’s resolution was to get more sleep?

Our culture is quite focused on diet and exercise as a way to improve health at this time of year. Eat less food. Lose weight. Restrict. Push yourself harder. Burn more calories. Lose weight.

Really though, there’s no reason that our New Year’s resolutions can’t be healing. The fact is we need to nurture ourselves to stay healthy. And our culture isn’t all that focused on nurturing. Or sleep.

Which brings us to a bunch of questions. Are you sleep deprived? Do you have sleep problems? A sleep disorder? Sleep apnea? Do you need sleeping aides? Do you have trouble falling asleep? Staying asleep? It seems we live in a culture of chronic sleep deprivation. Oy vey! Did you ever stop to wonder why this is? I believe that the advent of the electric light over a century ago has lead to this. When it was dark at night it was a challenge to stay up late. Darkness makes us sleepy. Darkness is a trigger for the secretion of the sleep hormone melatonin. What is melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone made by the pineal gland in the brain that helps to control sleep and wake cycles. Normally, melatonin levels rise in the evening, remain high for most of the night, and then drop in the early morning hours. However, artificial light can interfere with the secretion of melatonin, which can lead to the aforementioned insomnia, sleep disorders, and sleep deprivation.

The trouble with the use of artificial light is that it allows us to access “daytime” in the middle of the night. Now, with the advent of screens such as television, computers, e-readers, and cellular telephones, we have ubiquitous little sources of powerful light constantly available around the clock.

Common sense tells us that artificial light is tremendously disruptive to our sleep cycles and confusing to our brains and bodies. With an increase in physiological distractions from a good night’s sleep, we have all the more reason to be disciplined about turning off devices (and lights) and turning in for the night. The simple tricks below, such as sleeping in a darkened room, can help you both fall asleep and stay asleep. Here are my own personal, tried and true tips for getting a good, long night of rest.

Five Ways to Get a Better Night’s Sleep

1. Create a nightly ritual

Engage in a quiet activity such as making a cup of tea, meditating or very gentle stretching in order to prepare your mind and body for bedtime.

2. Turn in early

Give yourself enough time to digest your evening meal, though not enough time to get involved in projects that are best saved for the following day.

3. Tune out early

Unplug from electronic screens and devices that trick your inner clock into thinking it is mid-day and disrupt the melatonin production needed to make us sleepy.

4. Sleep in a dark room

I’ve been sleeping in a dark room for almost a decade, and began when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (we taped tin foil on the windows to block out light). I believe that sufficient sleep is one of the primary holistic treatments for MS.

5. Use glasses that block out blue light

If you must stare at a screen after the sun goes down, use [fitover eyewear]. The light that comes from your computer and other electronic devices is similar to the light of the bright mid-day sky –a time that your body is wide awake, not asleep.

Over a decade ago, when my boys were little we used to have an evening or two each winter where we would forgo the use of artificial light. We would eat dinner by candlelight and read bedtime stories using the same. On those nights we fell asleep earlier and more easily. It’s a fun experiment and my children and I enjoyed it immensely; we felt very cozy on those dark mid-winter nights.

What do you do to get more sleep and improve your sleep quality? Leave a comment below and let us know what you do to catch more zzzz’s.

Remember, when it comes to your health, sleep is every bit as important as what you are eating and proper exercise! And if that isn’t enough to motivate you, check out my recent post called Can Sleep Loss Add to Weight Gain?


  1. Syneva says

    I make ginger tea from fresh ginger root. I add a little lemon juice, cinnamon stick and sometimes just a tad bit of agave nectar. Very yummy. It is so soothing and very relaxing. Also, very healing digestive problems.

  2. Kate says

    I haven’t tried it yet, but for Christmas, I received a fitted Earthing sheet for my bed. It plugs into the ground port on an electrical outlet, which allows me to connect with the Earth’s energy while asleep. I also see a weighted blanket in my near future. The weighted blanket is like a hug and gives the sleeper a better sense of security. They are commonly used for children with autism. I am looking forward to some really good sleep in my near future.

  3. Anne says

    I wanted to share a recent revelation I had to improving my night sleep. First, I have suffered for the past two years with waking every 2 hours, beginning my day exhausted, etc. Just last week, I found myself with an intestinal issue and eliminated all food except beverages for about four days. In the mean time I began to sleep for 6 hour periods of time. I realized that I no longer was eating my nightly chocolate. Situation solved. God Bless to you all and I love this website Elena. Thank you for all you offer.

    • shelley says

      I live with and care for a diabetic. When she starts getting symptoms of pancreatitis, I put her on a clear liquid diet for a couple days, which is what they do if she goes to the hospital. Clear liquid does not include any proteins, such as chicken broth, which stimulate the production of digestive enzymes from the pancreas.

  4. Krystin says

    Hi Elana,

    I have tried a fair few of your recipes and love them! One thing I am unsure about is what you mean by minced when it comes to using thyme or rosemary. I understand mincing garlic in a garlic crusher. How do you mince your herbs? I tried pressing them through my garlic crusher. The result is that I broke it today because it couldn’t take the resistance of the hardy herbs and push them through. Do you have any suggestions?

    Thank you!!! Kind regards,

  5. Christen says

    I have been plagued with sleeping problems my entire life. A few years ago I started turning off the tv and computer at 8pm on work nights. I mainly read until 1130 when I go to bed. It has had an amazing effect on me. I fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. I don’t wake up as often and when I wake up in the morning I don’t feel horrible. On the nights where I indulge in TV I feel it the next morning. I wouldn’t have believed anyone if they had told me that it would have such a profound impact on my system but IT DID!

    • Chris McLaughlin says

      Sleep is a multi folded issue. I mean what works for some will not work for others. For me, I have dealt with sleep issues all my life. And have found a few things that really work. For those who have adreanal issues, with high cortisol levels what works best is an eps on salt bath and to take phosphatidylserine from intergrative therapeutics, it s expensive but really does the job.

  6. Karen S says

    What I have used is an earthing mat on my bed. I’m menopausal and used to toss and turn and throw blankets off and on all night. Of course this also disrupted my hubbies sleep since i kept throwing the blankets to his side of bed then grabbing them back when i got cold. It works on the same principal that lying on the ground/grass or walking in the water at the beach, it grounds you to the earth. Allows your body to heal while you are sleeping. Poor sleep ages us. There is a movie called “Grounded” which explains more. I work in a hospital and currently there are 8 of my co workers (all shift workers ) who use these mats for sleeping. Since we are all sleep deprived. The sad thing is that the doctors don’t want to know about it. How could our bodies heal ourselves? One of the younger nurses mentioned that she had really bad PMS, after a couple of months, it was gone. Said that she will never sleep without a mat again. Also works for all kinds of other issues. But since its our body doing it we don’t immediately realize what has improved.
    If you have ever heard of David Wolfe, google him and earthing. After a couple of years of grounding his seasonal allergies disappeared. Pretty amazing what our bodies can do when we help it along. Thank you for your wonderful website of using almond and coconut to help us be gluten free. We have so much to learn about this way of eating.

  7. Michelemabelle says

    A spoonful of coconut oil or coconut butter has helped me sleep. I used to take melatonin but switched to the coconut oil and I fall asleep faster.

  8. Nancy says

    Elana’s suggestions are good. I’ve been challenged with a good nights sleep for decades, worked/working with naturopaths, acupunturists, sleep doctors. Of the many herbs & supplements I’ve taken I’ve been helped with black out curtains (especially in summer months), listening to delta sleep music by Jeffrey Thompson, valerian & some prescriptions. To help me get up in dark winter months I find a sunrise clock extremely helpful. I also have had many years of vivid dreaming of which I was at odds. Many years ago I decided on making peace with my dream process and found library books on dream interpretation. I especially found Clarissa Pinkola Este?s helpful. She & others helped me look forward to sleep and what the night would unfold and possible messages from dreaming instead of the dread I had for many years. No doubt a complicated process, having a good nights sleep.

  9. says

    I found that getting up really early (5:20am) really helped me get a better night’s rest at night. Of course you ALSO need to go to bed earlier (9pm works for me) to get at least 8-9 hours of sleep.

    When I went to bed earlier *without* waking up earlier, it didn’t help at all. I’m just one of those people that NEEDs to force myself awake bright and early. If I do that – my day flows smoothly and I get a better night’s rest when it’s bed time.

  10. William says

    There is a program that slowly changes the color/brightness of the screen to get away from the blue light that the screen puts out that the brain sees as daylight.
    Remember the times you drive down the road and see the TV flickering behind a curtain, the weird bluish light, that is the culprit.
    I have f.LUX, on my computer, and do use it as one more tool to get me to go to sleep.

    Check here for more info:

    1 St. F.lux Review: the software that makes you sleep better — Sleep Junkies

    2 ND. f.lux – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    f.lux is a computer program developed by Michael and Lorna Herf. It adjusts a computer display’s color temperature according to its location and time of day, …

    You can download, and test the program here:

    f.lux – Free download and software reviews – CNET

    As always, do a custom install, with all programs, and un-click any boxes that will download, or install toolbars that you don’t want.
    I don’t recall that this one had any, but many free programs do.

    My particular problem was not helped much by this, but I do feel the effect of it, and tests do show that it helps. Once I get my major problem solved, I do think that f.flux program, will help with my Circadian Rhythm problem.


  11. says

    Weight loss is not my issue but I do have problem falling asleep at night. I am a heavy computer user, I think this might be one of the reasons that affect my sleeping quality. Will try to turn off TV/computer earlier this evening and hope this will help.

  12. Erika says

    The best thing I ever did for my sleep was ban laptops from the bedroom and stop with the screen time 30 minutes before bedtime (I work full time and am working on a MS degree so I work into the evening, unfortunately). I get into bed about ten minutes before whatever “bedtime” is for me that night, and meditate, or lie in savasana, or just stare at the twinkly lights we have on the wall.

    More recently, we’ve gotten blackout curtains that keep the bedroom absolutely dark at night, and we’ve started sleeping on the floor. We got rid of our bed and now sleep traditional Japanese style on thin padding on the floor. It’s been really amazing for both my sleep and my overall flexibility.

  13. Lin B says

    I do use my screen before bed, but I use an app on my Mac called Flux. It allows me to preset the lighting and color correction once the computer senses a lack of daylight. I can fine tune the screen to my home lighting and tweak out all the blue as well. I’m sure there is some kind of app like this of Windows users as well. Even if you don’t use it for sleep enhancement, it is definitely a nice break for your eyes. Works well for me to signal it’s time to wind down to my body.

  14. Sandra says

    I have struggled with sleep issues for many years. I have never found a doctor who is interested enough to really try to figure out why I fall asleep easily, but come wide wake after three hours, unable to return to sleep. I practice all the good “sleep hygiene” tips, meditate, eat a gluten-free, low sugar diet. I can get six hours of sleep only with sleep drugs, most of which leave me hungover in the mornings and not well rested. The one that works best is associated with early death.

    • Sofia says

      Check out

      It changed my life and health around. It is the hardest program I have ever followed, but the health rewards/turn around has been worth it for me.

  15. says

    Yes, giving priority to a proper nights sleep isn’t always top of the list as long as we can keep going without it. Tuning out early from screens is the only one that seems so tremendously difficult because it often seems so relaxing and de-stressing. Thanks Kerry for the Natural Calm magnesium supplement tip.. I’ll try that.

  16. says

    I like the idea of having a no-artificial light night once in a while.

    I remember getting excited when the power went out when I was young. It was so much fun to have a candlelit dinner and I did find myself falling asleep early.

    I have trouble falling asleep sometimes and I am a very light sleeper so your tips were helpful.

    I have an app on my phone that plays “heavy rainfall” sounds and I find it very soothing and it puts me to sleep.

  17. says

    These are great ideas and ones that I use. I learned long ago that a small light, like the one on the alarm clock was enough to disturb me. So now, pitch dark and the triple play: chamomile tea, CALM and melatonin. I use and UP band and am fascinated with the sleep info I get each night. With my triple play, I almost always have more deep sleep, less light sleep, and sleep for 8 hours. :-)

  18. says

    I remember probably the very first time I went to the gym, there were two guys who looked very good and seemed pretty accustomed to working out. And one of them says “Man, by all I have learned, there are three equally important things: work out well, eat well and sleep well”. Ever since I try to sleep as well as possible every single night, we should not forget that.
    Great article, thank you!

  19. Naomi says

    A quick question for those of you with children that are terrified of the dark, I’ve heard that red/orange light night lights are more ‘acceptable’ and am thinking a step further perhaps. What about Himalayan Salt lamps? Do you think they would help – our kids don’t fall asleep easily at all, and staying asleep isn’t easy. I’ve had to resort to having a light on in an adjacent room to get them to calm down. They also catch every cold under the sun (kindergarten…) and end up with lowered immunity.

    Will try the blackout curtains, which I hope will help they stay asleep, but that obviously doesn’t help the ‘terrified of the dark’ thing.

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

    • shelley says

      I’d love to know if these worked or where to get, because at 53 I am still terrified of the dark. I had a hospital prescribe prazosin (1mg) for PTSD night terrors which has worked excellently for 2+ years. Without it I get stuck in my nightmares and really wake up exhausted and disoriented.

      • Sleepy Mommy says

        I am an RA/Fibromyalgia/Chronic Pain and Fatigue sufferer (and a long list of other issues…) and suffer from horrific insomnia issues as well as hypersomnia due to the “heavy hitting” medications I have had to be on to control the medical issues and progression of the disease processes. My other “hat” I wear is being a psychotherapist, mainly specializing in treating children/families with trauma. Sleep anxiety is an interesting issue children have (ie- monsters, fear of the dark and the unknown, etc.) and can return later in life for many reasons. For children young enough to believe- I often use techniques to help them FEEL the sense of control. This may include letting them make “Monster Spray” which is usually a blend of Lavender/water/glycerin (emollient factor) in my office and letting them decorate the label to establish more buy-in. Then we develop a ritual to fit the fear- spraying their bed or thresholds, etc. at night or even in daytime if there is a specific fear in the mornings. I use TF-CBT and more traditional CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) for youngsters and my clients who are older. Creating a “safe place” for kids is a big deal. Helping them recognize that their homes and bedrooms are safe places and that they have things there making them feel safe – drawing a picture with them as they imagine what their dream of a safe place would be is an easy way to get them to articulate what makes them feel safe. Parents can use this information to enhance feelings of ease at night. Weighted blankets (can be made as easy as 2 pieces of fleece tied on the edges with washers simply stitched inside the edge) that kids can help make their own- great project that is pretty cheap! Teaching kids to take control of nightmares using simple ideas like keeping a night journal where they can “trap” bad dreams and lock them up (little diary with lock OR cheap journal or steno book with a binder clip to secure it shut) will transfer control to a child. Teaching kids to use something like an ink pen or toy that makes a clicking sound (I’ve even suggested a dog-training clicker as it won’t mark the sheets) to help kids learn to “click” through “episodes” of alternate endings to their dreams and take control to CHANGE how their dreams end to change bad experiences to good. I suggest consulting with someone who specializes in such things if the problem is significant but these are ideas to spark the imagination for helping kids sleep. Usually it’s a control issue on some level, regardless of there being trauma associated or simple childhood insecurities.
        For adults such as what Shelley is referring to- that is more complex. After such a long and rough road with sleep issues I would suggest looking at what lies beneath. Seeking help from a therapist could do wonders to helping to figure out what the issue is inside the mind. Instead of numbing the issue with meds, it would be nice to know WHY 53 years of sleep issues exists. If I had 53 years of what I consider to be more like sleep torture as it sounds Shelley is certainly experiencing, I would be anxious for sure! CBT or even EMDR may be a welcomed new approach to treating the sleep dysfunction. Often times we get so used to living and even thriving at times in a state of dysfunction that we forget that is no way to live well- It is more existing. My apologies for a lengthy response but among the great information shared by everyone, I felt this component was yet to be considered.
        Good Luck to you all!

  20. Debbie MacInnis says

    Another helpful product for reducing blue light influences after sundown is a program called “Flux.” It can be installed on your computer and it automatically adjusts the light emanating from your computer screen to match the time of day.

    Here’s a link to the site:

  21. says

    This is so very timely. My holistic doctor told me today that my cortisol was high (busy working mom – go figure, lol!) and one thing she recommended was at least 8 hours of sleep. I have known for years that I don’t get enough sleep, and I’m vaguely aware of the negative side effects, but I crave the solitude and quiet when I’m the only one awake at night. I guess it’s time to stop resisting and start moving my bedtime earlier. Thanks for the great tips!

  22. Bambi says

    I received my magnesium oil the day before yesterday and I’ve had two good nights of sleep. The knot of anxiety in my belly has disappeared. I hope it keeps working! Another tip – many people experience insomnia from using Flonase type nasal spray.

  23. Christioni says

    Something that works wonders for me, but that is very hard for me to maintain, is a tech block out after 8pm: no tv, computer, smart phone or music. I spend that time reading, creating, meditating, cleaning or just about anything that’s not too stimulating. I have been a horrible sleeper my entire life and when I can do this it makes a world of difference.

  24. Cathy says

    This information is so timely. Thank you! I’m going to try these suggestions and the glasses. We have upstairs windows that are difficult to cover. (slanted into the roof line) Are there any sleep masks you recommend that I could use to block the light? Thanks again!!

  25. says

    Good article Elana, with lots of great tips! I often find clients can’t fall asleep or wake and have difficulty falling back to sleep because their minds are swirling with all the things that need to be done the next day, or neglected the day before. This used to occasionally happen to me too. Aside from making a list at the end of the day of all the important tasks for the next, I keep a pad, pen and tiny flashlight by my bedside. If I should remember something that isn’t on the list, or hadn’t occurred to me earlier, I write it down. Now my brain is free to relax, and not worry that the important “to-do” will be forgotten. This helps me drift off easily. Try it!

    • shelley says

      I’ve been doing this for years and it really does help.
      And when I have a lot of stuff going on physically or emotionally that I can not figure out, I have just a BIG blank sheet of paper near me – and a set of colored markers, pencils, crayons, gel pens – and just joy down feelings, phrases, words, images that pop out of my brain (as opposed to keeping them in my head). Don’t worry about spellings, proper grammar, or what something is supposed to be.

  26. says

    I have had chronic insomnia for most of my life……recently I started using a supplement from Isagenix called Product B, and within a couple of weeks I found myself actually getting sleepy and ready for sleep at night. It also has allowed me to give up my nightly habit of a glass of wine to help me sleep, as it was not longer needed. Success!

  27. William says

    I found and ordered these glasses on Amazon:

    The two main reasons for ordering this pair was the fact that they will fit over prescription glasses, and also they come in three sizes.

    The size chart is one of the pictures on the left side of the page, just click your mouse on it for dimensions for each size.

    If you are a Prime member you get 2 day free shipping for them.

  28. says

    Eating paleo really helped me sleep much better. Especially while we’re still in the winter season, I eat dinner earlier, go into quiet time earlier and now when I feel sleepy instead of pushing through, I actually go to sleep. I drink lots of water throughout the day, beginning early in the morning and finish it earlier in the day i.e. by 6 pm or 7 at the very latest, thereby eliminating (mostly) nighttime runs to the loo. I definitely adhere to the suggestion of sleeping in a dark room, that’s helped tremendously. Fresh air during the day helps. I feel content most of the time, that helps. Good luck everyone, as a health care practitioner I see so many people who come in with sleep/lack of sleep issues.

  29. Catherine says

    Thank you so much for posting this! I was still awake at 2.30 am last night. I will try candlelight tonight and NO computer.
    I had never heard of glasses that block out blue light – amazing!
    Toda :)

  30. Sandi says

    I had a complete endocrine panel done (recommended by my natropath) and found that my cortisol levels spike in the evening, instead of going down. It is also low in the morning which explains why it’s so hard to get up each day. With the spike of cortisol in the evening, my melatonin production(which aids in sleep) is low so I now take supplements from Nutri-Dyn that I think are helping that.

    Slow stretching, reading before bed, and turning electronics off early have also helped. My regular doctor also suggested not sharing a bed with my husband as he’s a restless sleeper! I haven’t gone that far yet(I would hate him not being next to me) but perhaps that’s why couples had twin beds way back :)

    • Jessica says

      Sandi, could you tell me more about the low cortisol in the morning. I feel like I sleep fine (no sleep apnea issues, can sleep a solid 8 hours if I go to bed on time) yet I have the hardest time waking up in the morning. I feel like I could always keep sleeping, I’m a bit groggy, can’t make myself get out of bed, etc. I attribute it to not wanting to go to work because weekends are often better but even on weekends I sometimes/often wake up still tired. Is there anything you can do about low cortisol in the morning? Thanks!

  31. QueenJellyBean says

    1) Avoid chocolate after 3:00 pm (even if it’s one of Elana’s fantastic recipes). Or have a bite, but your sleep won’t be as good. 2) Another thing I love for supporting my good sleep is the Maciek Sleep Cycle App for smartphones. The graph each morning of my circadian rhythm the night before is very accurate and helpful for me to tweak my routines for best sleep. (I’ve had a hospital sleep study, I swear this app is just as good, and my coworkers also swear by it). It does not emit light while it quietly rests on the mattress and listens to breathing rhythmn and recods movements.

    • Lynda says

      To Queen JB
      When you suggested to avoid all chocolate after 3pm are you including hot cocoa in this?
      This is what I drink–made 1/2 with dark chococolate almond milk n 1/2 h20.
      Usually start to drink this an hour before I go to bed.

      Also me nites I do listen to my tablet but I wear an eye mask especially on those nites.

      To Elana:
      Thank You for All of your hard work and courage to be open. I like you do require sleep–8+/ nite.

      Thanks to everyone for sharing. Believe me, I am learning so much through you all.

      Be Blessed!

  32. AJ says

    I read once you should take melatonin supplements but they’re unobtainable over the counter here in the UK. Has anyone every taken them. Are they safe to take?

    • says


      I’ve used melatonin supplements, mostly as a short term measure to help my body adjust while experiencing jet lag. It does help me fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply on those nights when my body thinks it’s still a few time zones away. You have to be careful not to take too much, though, as too much is associated with very vivid dreams, often nightmares. And on nights when I take it, my husband ends up getting up with our daughter when she needs something because I sleep right through. We don’t both take it the same night to ensure one of us will hear her if she needs us. A friend who uses it for jet lag as well has told me that she sleeps well with it, but takes a lot longer the next morning to feel as if she’s woken up fully; she’s groggy most of the next morning.

      We also, on our doctor’s recommendation, have given some to our 3yo daughter. (We cut the 5mg adult pill, the only size available where we are, into quarters for her.) We prefer to use it only for jet lag, but I confess to using it at times when she’s napped too late in the day and needs to get back on her regular schedule. She loves it and asks for it every night–we’ve actually realized that we give it to her too often and she seems to have become a little dependent on it, so we’ve stopped giving it to her for now.

      I looked into it before we gave it for her, and from what I’ve seen, it looks like it’s pretty safe for adults, not programatically tested in children, but anecdotally hasn’t caused problems for many, many children whose doctors have recommended it.

      • shelley says

        Melatonin does come in liquid form and the dropper is based on 1mg strength.
        More really is NOT better when it comes to melatonin, just as for the OTC drug diphenhydramine (benadryl) that is the basis for so many sleep and pain PM meds.

  33. William says

    Elana, Would you please elaborate on the glasses you use that blocks out the blue light, Color or Brand would be very helpful.

    When it comes to sleep, I would right, now gladly pay $1000 for a good nights sleep, seriously.
    Add sleep Apeana, sinus, nose blockage, permanent drymouth, and I guarantee that they add up to little sleep, maximun is about 2 1/2 hours, then awake gettng breathing thru the nose started again, and some saliva pumped. When I wake with drymouth, my mouthis totally dry, like an old piece of leather that has been drying for about 100 years in the desert out back of my house.

    Right now, I fight going to bed as I know what a miserable time is waiting for me. Years ago I could always be assured that I would get a good nights sleep…
    Down to 229# from 296#, and over 9 inches off my waist.

      • J says

        Try drinking more water. It cured my night sweats. Just do it early enough so you aren’t waking up several times “to go.”

    • says

      OMG you are describing my challenges exactly! Here are the so,utions I have found so far:

      1. Added a humidifier attachment to my CPAP. Really helps. Get it from same provider as the CPAP machine. Don’t try to gerryrig it, it must be the correct attachment so it doesn’t mess with your CPAP pressure.

      2. Xylimelts! These are tablets w/ an adhesive side that you wet and stick on your tooth. Slowly dissolves as you sleep. I use two.

      3. A U-shaped “Bucky” pillow. Keeps your head from slipping or rolling around.

      4. Pile up your pillows so your upper body is raised. This works great with the Bucky.

      5. A sleep doctor told me this — the most important thing is to wake up at the same time every day. You can alter your bedtime, but rise at the same time daily.

      6. Get at least an hour of sunlight every day. Outside, not through a window.

      7. Switch all the lightbulbs in your house to the Lumiram “Chromalux” brand. Pricy, but the ladt a really, really long time. Widely used in Scandanavia.

      8. Take a time-release Melatonin formula when you go to bed.

      9. Keep the bedroom cool (~60degrees).

      10. Biotene makes a mouth gel for when the dryness is really bad. Mouth rinse and spray, too. I’m sure there are natural equivalents.

      I hope that helps – those are all my tips and tricks!

  34. elizabeth says

    Thanks for sharing such important — and not commonly discussed — elements of sleeping. My doctor told me about sleeping in utter darkness in order to give the body a chance to manufacture melatonin and I was astounded, but tried it (sleeping with sleep mask is the best I can do right now) and I’m a firm believer.

  35. Lynette Kreidler says

    A possible answer to what color lights: I got this from animal researchers on obesity in rats, rats require day & night but researchers need to observe the critters- therefore Red/orange lights are out in labs so the animals have “normal diurnal rhythms” without disruption of lights. I got red lights for night lights for my girls who had fear of the dark as well.

    Hope this helps!

  36. Cynthia says

    i have started rubbing lavender essential oils into my children’s feet each evening at bedtime and it has made for a much calmer and relaxing evening :-))

    For me personally, vigorous exercise early in the day & good nutrition allows my body to fall asleep fairly easily. On days I do not exercise in this manner I typically stay up later than I should!

  37. Kerry says

    I also have found help using the supplement Natural Calm magnesium supplement. Recommended to me by a nutritionist. Helps with calcium uptake as well, and digestion (and I’m pregnant, so alleviating constipation is a constant goal) (sorry if that’s too much information!) – and I also have noticed that I sleep deeper / less dreams (also fun to battle during pregnancy) – and never feel groggy in the morning. Something to investigate for yourself!

  38. Lisa says

    I have no problems falling asleep. My problem is staying asleep through the whole night! Any recommendations for that?

    • Janice says

      Really enjoy and have benefited from this website. Appreciate everyone’s input.

      I have found that sleeping through the night did not always come easily, but a wonderful product called Magnesium CALM changed all of that (available on Amazon). Start slowly and build up your intake -Carolyn Dean, a Naturopath and M.D. offers much advice on magnesium. And, recently, in the middle of a move and with the added stress, another product that I discovered on Dr. Michael Murray’s website was GABA by a company called Natural Factors. It has helped ease the stress as well and helped keep me sleeping through the night.

      In addition, I wanted to add that I too love the idea of “no electricity” nights occasionally. Our family cottage growing up had no electricity, and we occupied ourselves with the wonders of nature, outdoor sports, reading, board games, cooking on the wood stove, apple picking in the Fall, and the wonderful art of conversation around the table. Great memories that are cherished. So good to hear about conscious decisions made to preserve health through diet and lifestyle, and family time through such things as “no electricity” nights.

      • Deni says

        CALM can be found at many vitamin or health stores. Price for a full size container vary so shopping around is a good idea. It is great stuff.

    • Christine says

      Historical accounts, journals and diaries indicate that humans aren’t really meant to sleep a full 8 hours without waking. It’s not uncommon to wake after the first sleep cycle. The key is to remain in the dark, stay relaxed and allow the quiet environment to remain intact. It makes it much easier to fall back to sleep for a second cycle.

      Once I learned about this a few years back I let go of a lot of tension surrounding this issue to sleep the whole night through. I don’t recall ever having slept an entire night without waking.

      Now I don’t feel guilty or somehow defective for living with Traumatic Brain Injury complicated by Gluten Ataxia. I can wake several times a night but by using the techniques for quiet, dark, black out curtains, etc, even when I use the bathroom (a very low watt night light) I can return easily to sleep. With all the dry winter air I keep water beside the bed and turn the furnace down to 60 F at night. The cooler air helps me sleep as does the quiet. I don’t get so dried out either.

    • Marcia says

      From what I’ve read, 5HTP is what helps you stay asleep. The melatonin you might want to take helps you fall asleep. Elana will probably know more than I do about this. Look into taking Kavinace at night also..natural product, very good.

  39. says

    This is a very timely post…I just wrote about toddlers and sleep on my blog!

    After 13 months of getting very little sleep thanks to a baby who wanted to nurse ALL THE TIME, I had my first “full night’s” (6 hours) sleep last night. Tonight I need to get to bed earlier and cross my fingers that she’ll repeat her performance.

    Our rituals for our children include a 10 minute “warning”…put on pjs, cuddle up for stories, a snack and warm milk at the kitchen table, then teeth brushing, tucking in, a story and a song (daddy does this part). I like to read a peaceful/pleasant book or write in my journal before I turn out the light but that doesn’t always happen…often I just pass out while nursing my littlest to sleep!

    After a year of total and constant deep exhaustion, I am looking forward to feeling more rested. I’ve stopped drinking coffee and consuming carbs and sugar in the past few weeks and have noticed that when I do sleep, it is deeper and more peaceful!

  40. Robyn says

    Thanks for this. Since going through early menopause at 42, I have had trouble sleeping. I am going to try the no screen and dark room idea. I also like the idea of a bedtime ritual

  41. Amy says

    I love the idea of candlelight evenings. I think my kids would get a kick out of that – and I’d love the calmer bedtimes. A question – do you know if there is a specific color of light that should be avoided in evenings (I’m thinking specifically of night-lights)? you mentioned blue light from the screens – so does that mean we should avoid blue nightlights? despite the fact that I know a room should be completely dark, my kids are still afraid of ____ (fill in the blank) in a completely dark room. what color is good? yellow? green? I want to pick the lesser of the evils of a night-lighted room.

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