A good night’s sleep can improve your health in a number of ways. Better sleep can improve your mental and physical health, safety, and overall quality of life.

However, when I’m not well-rested I can’t be productive, pursue my passions, or do what I need to do on a daily basis.

I find I’m always more productive, and have the energy I need, when I get GOOD sleep.

Even if your passions energize you, you still have to replenish your energy to continue pursuing your passions.

How do you do this?

You learn how to sleep, better.

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Stretch Your Body

I meet a LOT of people who can’t sleep well at night- and oftentimes the first thing I ask them is “do you exercise?”

Many times the answer is “no.”

When you work out, your body releases Endorphins, aka your “feel good” chemicals, into the blood stream.

If you have ever gone to the gym, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Even when I DO NOT want to go to the gym, I always feel great when I leave.

However, if you aren’t into the whole “gym vibe” you can replicate this incredible feeling from the comfort of your own home- while watching Netflix. Boom.

It’s scientifically proven that by incorporating stretching into your daily nighttime routine, you are increasing circulation, which in turn leads to lower amounts of stress. This makes it easier to get to sleep- and STAY asleep!

“When you’re anxious, worried, or worn out, it places extra strain on the body, causing you to feel stressed. By taking a few minutes each day to unwind and relieve this unwanted tension, you will experience a sense of relief, and stress will slowly start to fade away.” — BUSTLE

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Invest in Light Therapy

I recently saw Jen Gotch, founder of Ban.do, posting on her Instagram stories while huddled on the floor in front of her light box- and I knew I had to consider getting one of my own.

The use of light therapy as treatment for SAD is relatively new. While it’s steadily become more and more popular, not all doctors endorse this product as being foolproof.

However, the science behind it is real; light therapy works because it has a similar effect on the brain as some mental-health-related medications. “Research suggests that using a light box to deliver intense, bright light (between 2,500 and 10,000 illuminance, or lux) early in the morning (7 a.m. or earlier) is effective in lifting the winter blues,” says Jonathan Prousky, chief naturopathic medical officer at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine.

Being exposed to a light box every day can help improve circadian rhythm, boost serotonin levels, and help regulate melatonin production. This will not only improve your mood, but it will allow you to get better sleep. You can find a list of the best light boxes for SAD therapy here!

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Make Your Bedroom a Sanctuary for Sleep

It is very likely that the only time we think about how our environment affects our sleep is when something unusual is happening that disrupts it.  This is very common when we are away from home and the environment around us is different than we are used to. 

If you are struggling to sleep, check your space for excess light and noise.  Make sure the room isn’t too cold or too warm. Pay attention to what is happening on nights when you are not struggling to sleep and look for clues to the type of environment you need to get the best sleep.

Play Relaxing Music

Some people roll their eyes SO HARD at this suggestion, but it’s one that has made a huge impact on my ability to sleep.

There are a million sounds that can keep you up at night, and all of them are equally annoying — loud neighbors, honking cars, dripping faucets, etc.

According to Schocker, “If you live somewhere where there’s frequent changes in background noise, you might want to invest in a white noise machine or earplugs.”

However, some sounds can be relaxing, whether you live in a loud neighborhood or not. Check YouTube for white noise playlists, or soothing ocean sounds, and you’ll be out like a light in no time.

Below is my Spotify playlist that I listen to when I’m trying to fall asleep, and I’m usually out after a few of these songs: