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    27 Hacks, Tips, And Habits To Help You Get Better Sleep Over Time

    Raise your hand if you're tiiired. 😴

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    By now, we all know sleep is super important for our mental and physical health.

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    But here we are, exactly 23 minutes past the time we said we'd go to sleep, browsing the Interwebs instead. (Don't you deny it!)

    And no matter what's keeping you up at night, I think we can all agree... we're TIRED. 😴

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    So we've gathered a bunch of useful hacks, tips, and habits to help you get better and more restorative sleep over time.

    (And of course, if you've having more severe issues with sleep, definitely see your doctor to find out what's going on.)

    1. Pick a consistent time to go to bed and wake up — and try to stick to it even on weekends.

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    I know: easier said than done. But it can really make a difference! If you’re like me, you’re down to play healthy, functioning human during the week — but weekends are for whatever. Unfortunately, our bodies and their lil’ internal clocks (our circadian rhythms) don’t differentiate between “weekday” and “weekend." And that inconsistency can throw things off.

    2. Lay off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.

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    Including but not limited to: TVs, tablets, laptops, and your beloved cellular device. And factor those 30 minutes into your nightly routine: if you’re going to sleep at 11pm, say goodnight to your electronics at 10:30pm.

    3. If you're always tempted to look at your phone in bed, set it to Airplane mode when you walk into your room.

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    You'll still have your alarm for the next morning, but you won't be tempted to check IG if you wake up in the middle of the night.

    4. If you can't ditch your devices at night, at least enable a blue light filter when looking at them.

    Becky Zak wears blue light glasses as she looks at her computer screen
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    Light can throw off your body's circadian rhythm — and blue-wavelength light can be especially disruptive when it comes to getting sleep. Most devices (like your laptop and phone) have settings that let you turn on a blue-light filter, but you can always wear blue-light blocking glasses, too.

    Watch Chloe and Becky Zak trying blue light glasses here, or read about my coworker John's experience here.

    5. Keep your bedroom on the cooler side — ideally between 60 to 67 degrees.

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    Sleep experts actually say 65 degrees is the optimal temperature for sleeping. So if you keep your room between 60 to 67 degrees, you may be able to fall asleep easier.

    6. Queue up some white, pink, or brown noise before bed.

    View this video on YouTube

    Here's more about each:

    White noise is most popular when it come to falling asleep. It includes all frequencies at equal intensity — so you won't hear one sound more than another, which makes it good at masking loud sounds that stimulate the brain. Examples of white noise include radio or TV static, vacuum cleaners, or a fan.

    Pink noise also contains all frequencies but not at equal intensity. Lower frequencies are stronger in pink noise, making it more rumbly and deeper sounding than white noise. Pink noise happens a lot in nature — for example, steady rain, wind, waves, and rustling leaves.

    Brown noise is even deeper than pink noise. The lower frequencies in brown noise are stronger than in pink noise. Think waterfalls or thunder.

    P.S. If you're on the market for a noise machine, you can get one that has 20 unique sounds from Amazon for $49.95. There are also playlists on Spotify, like this white noise one, or apps, like the myNoise app (which is free for iOS and Android and has its own YouTube channel).

    7. Plug into a soothing audiobook to help you doze off.

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    Popular before-bed audiobooks include Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman and narrated by Armie Hammer (here from Audible), A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson and narrated by Richard Matthews (here from Audible), or Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion and narrated by Diane Keaton (here on Audible).

    You can sign up for a 30-day free trial from Audible to try any book you'd like. After that, membership starts at $7.95/month.

    8. If an audiobook feels like too much commitment, sleep podcasts are also a great option.

    9. Or, for an even shorter before-bed commitment, try a sleep meditation.

    A screenshot of a meditation app
    Melissa Jameson / BuzzFeed

    The Insight Timer app is an extremely popular meditation app with 55,000 guided meditations (it's free for iOS and Android!). On the paid side, meditation apps like Headspace and Calm are worth checking out. The Peloton app also has a library of sleep meditations — ranging from five minutes to 30 minutes.

    10. If your room gets natural light earlier than you'd like it to, try a sleep mask or blackout curtains.

    These blackout curtains that reduce light (and noise!) have more than 25,000 five-star reviews on Amazon. Get them for $23.93+.

    11. If you need something you can touch, try a weighted blanket.

    Lara using a weighted blanket as she lays down, captioned, "Lounging under a weighted blanket"
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    They've been really helpful for people who have trouble sleeping because of anxiety, ADHD, insomnia, and more — there's even promising research on them.

    If you want some ~personal~ experience, check out Lara's review after trying a weighted blanket for two weeks or Merle's video documenting her week trying a weighted blanket. And if you want to buy your own, here's our in-depth guide.

    12. Don't underestimate the power of total silence at bedtime — and using (comfortable) earplugs to get you there.

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    My co-worker Michelle tried a ton of different things to help with her chronic insomia — and these earplugs were one of her favorites. As she says in her review: "I tried at least four other brands of earplugs, including super-dense ones for loud noise (uncomfortable verging on painful) and more generic ones without contour (would fall out almost immediately). None were as comfortable or worked as effectively as these."

    You can get a 10-pair pack of earplugs from Amazon for $2.98.

    13. Set the bedtime mood with a soothing scent — like lavender, jasmine, or sandalwood.

    A reviewer's wooden-looking diffuser that's shaped like a gourd with a soft light around the rim

    Other favorite sleep-inducing scents include bergamot, clary sage, ylang ylang, and chamomile oil. Aromatherapy can take the form of essential oils, a diffuser (the one pictured is $25.99 from Amazon), or even just a simple candle. (Although make sure you don't fall asleep before putting it out!)

    14. Avoid eating large or heavy meals before bed — as well as caffeine and alcohol.

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    Your body may still be digesting food if you eat a big meal before bed, making it harder to fall and stay asleep (and potentially causing indigestion). Alcohol before bed can also cause sleep disruptions because it can reduce REM sleep, leaving you tired the next day.

    15. And if you *do* drink, make it chamomile tea.

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    Chamomile has an antioxidant (apigenin) that's supposed to make you feel sleepy — and there are some promising studies that show chamomile tea may help people fall asleep faster and wake up less throughout the night (see: here or here!).

    You can get a 20 organic chamomile teabags from Amazon for $5.80+.

    16. Try melotonin — but remember that you need to take it earlier than you probably think you do.

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    As summed up by Johns Hopkins Medicine, your body's natural melatonin levels rise around two hours before your normal bedtime (when they're not suppressed by blue light) — so you'll want to take it around that time as well. Remember: melatonin doesn't directly make you sleep, but helps wind your body down to help you get there.

    You can get a bottle of 240 melatonin tablets from Amazon for $8.85.

    17. Some people prefer taking ZzzQuil — to get the drowsy effect of medicine without actually taking medicine.

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    ZzzQuil has diphenhydramine, an antihistamine and active ingredient that's also used in Benadryl. You're supposed to use ZzzQuil occasionally to help you sleep, but be sure to check with your doctor to make sure it's safe for you to take — especially if you have asthma. Read more about ZzzQuil here.

    ZzzQuil comes in liquid capsules ($13.98 for a 72-count pack from Amazon) or as a syrup ($7.97 for a 12-ounce bottle from Amazon).

    18. There's also the CBD route.

    The gummies
    Charlotte's Web

    Gummies are a favorite because they're quick and discreet. (Here's a run-down of some of the most popular gummy brands.) If that's not your thing, you can also find CBD sleep aids in the form of teas, oils, gel caps, and more.

    Find the 60-count pack of Chalotte's Web CBD gummies from The Vitamin Shoppe for $44.99 that are specifically made for sleep and contain10mg of CBD and 3mg of melatonin per serving.

    19. Use a sleep diary to track any patterns and figure out what helps or makes it harder for you to sleep.

    The PDF of the National Sleep Foundation's weekly sleep diary with a chart to mark what time you wake up, go to sleep, and note any exercise, naps, medication, and food you took during the day
    National Sleep Foundation

    They're free and only take a few minutes to fill out each day, highlighting key things that can affect your sleep. For inspiration, check out a sleep diary from the National Sleep Foundation here.

    20. Get some exercise during the day...

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    Y’know how parents love when their kids are super active all day and say how they’ll sleep well tonight?? Same energy.

    21. But take it easy with the naps.

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    Try not to nap during or after the evening, and, if you do nap, set an alarm to limit how long you sleep — or try a coffee nap!

    22. Four letters: ASMR.

    View this video on YouTube

    ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response, aka that tingly feeling you get on your head that moves down your spine. Trust, YouTube has no shortage of ASMR vids — from different 'triggers' to tapping sounds and massages, and even Cardi B. You can also check out ASMR University for more.

    23. Need something more physical — but still low-key? Nighttime yoga routines can help you relax, relieve tension, and get ready for bed.

    A person's living room with a rug and laptop on a coffee table captioned, "My jenky ass yoga set-up"
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    YouTube has a ton of great and free options if you're not sure where to start. Yoga With Adriene is a super popular channel with millions of views — she's got a 20-minute, a 12-minute, and a seven-minute bedtime yoga routine you can follow.

    If you're interested in testing a few poses yourself, here are some restorative poses from Harvard Health you can practice.

    24. Keep your bed for bed-related activities only: sleep and sex.

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    The reasoning behind this is to only associate your bed for sleeping and train yourself to fall asleep when you hit the covers. I’ll admit this one is tricky — esp if you’re tight on square footage. But if you can make it work, do it!

    25. If you're having trouble sleeping because your brain feels like its racing, write down what's on your mind.

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    Specifically, write down your to-do list or things you need to get done in the next few days. It doesn't have to be long or detailed, either. Just take five minutes to get it out of your head and onto paper. In one study, people who wrote a to-do list fell asleep significantly faster than people who wrote a completed list.

    26. Similarly, if you’re having trouble sleeping — like, you’re laying there for more than 20 minutes staring into the abyss — get outta bed.

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    Return when you feel tired and ready to fall asleep — and maybe use something from this list (journaling, sleep meditation, podcasts) to get you there.

    27. Lastly, remember that working toward your desired sleep schedule is going to be a gradual process.

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    Don’t expect to go from night owl to morning bird, well, overnight. There will probably be some trial and error! But the most important thing is you finding time for it, sticking with it, and figuring out what works best for you.

    Got all that? Good. Now, seriously, click the lock button and get to sleep!

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