I've always had a hard time getting to, and staying, asleep. I've always been extremely envious of those people that get into bed, close their eyes, and then they're off snoring away. My fiancé is one of those people and it used to drive me crazy until I started to make a few simple changes to my routine and my relationship to sleep.
MAKE YOUR BEDROOM A PLACE YOU WANT TO BE
My fiancé and I spent most of the last year renovating our small New York apartment. We remodeled the kitchen, the bathroom, and fixed up a few things in the bedroom and the living room. After the reno we put a hold on decorating the bedroom out of pure exhaustion. As of a month ago we got a new bed, a new sconce above our nightstand, a new carpet, and freshened up our bed linens. Our bedroom is finally a room I want to be in and I look forward to heading in there every night. Previous to the bedroom fix-up I never wanted to leave our living room; now I can't wait. A stylish bedroom with a nicely made up bed is like sleep catnip.
UPGRADE YOUR BEDDING
An important part of getting a good night's sleep is being comfortable. Making your bedroom a place you actually want to be in is just the start. Comfortable bed linens take it to the next level. High thread count sheets, the perfect-weight comforter, a supportive mattress, and a supportive pillow can make a world of difference. You'll likely have no idea how uncomfortable your bedding is until you give it a refresh. With brands like Tuft & Needle, Brooklinen, Parachute Home, and Snowe, a luxurious bedding upgrade doesn't have to be expensive- so there's no excuse.
Changing out of your clothes and into a pair of PJs is like taking off the activities of the day and changing into sleep mode. PJs subconsciously prepare you to sleep. Don't wear the same tee shirt that you wear to the gym, don't wear your lazy house pants; wear clothing that's for sleep only. I got a pair of Steven Alan PJs and now I look super stylish getting into bed and sleep better because of it.
MINIMIZE DISTRACTIONS WITH SLEEP MASKS & EAR PLUGS
Sleeping is less passive than we think. It can take focus for a person who struggles with getting a restful sleep to get to sleep and stay asleep. Figuring out what prevents you from falling asleep and staying asleep can lead to simple actions that can cut these distractions out of the equation. For me it was the subtle changes in light coming through my bedroom window. With the addition of a sleep mask it's no longer a problem. If it's a noise problem, try a white noise machine or ear plugs.
CLEAR YOUR MIND
The hardest part of bedtime for me was always turning off my brain. I would always lay in bed thinking about what happened during the day, what I would do tomorrow or a week from then. It was so hard to quiet my mind until I started the process before I got into bed. Now, an hour before I'm about to head to bed I stop looking at my phone, I close the laptop, and if the weather permits I take a walk around my neighborhood (having a dog that needs walking definitely makes this habit easier). The time away from the things that remind me of the tasks and stresses of the day resets my mind. I additionally don't sleep next to my phone and put it on "do not disturb" mode. Unless you're a doctor who's on call, there's no need to have your phone at your bedside.
MAKE NEW HABITS
Implementing these few changes are easiest if they become habit. At first it wasn't easy to adjust to a healthier routine, but my determination to finally be one of those people who falls into a slumber the moment their head hits the pillow made me persistent. Now those conscious decisions like not looking at my phone before bed have become second nature, and best of all, my life-long struggle with sleep is a thing of the past.