The Good Sleep Checklist

Getting good sleep is a process that starts long before you lie down.

What you do—morning, day, and night—can greatly affect your quality of sleep. Here are 12 tips to help you get better sleep every night.

Morning

  • Follow a routine: Try to wake up at the same time each day—even on the weekends. This will regulate your body’s clock and help you fall asleep more effectively come nighttime.1
  • Let the sun in: The more natural sunlight you can get in the morning, the better. It's the body's cue to stop producing melatonin—the hormone that controls your sleep cycle—so you can wake up and start your day.1
  • Eat breakfast: Think slow-to-digest foods like oatmeal, eggs, plain yogurt, or nuts. This will help reduce any reliance on caffeine and sugar throughout the day.1
  • Close your bedroom door: Pets can drag dander, fur and pollen into your bed, potentially triggering nighttime allergies. For better sleep, make your bedroom a pet-free zone.

Afternoon

  • Cut off your caffeine: You may feel like that afternoon coffee isn’t doing anything, but it is. Caffeine remains in the body for up to 8 hours, so have your last caffeinated beverage around 2pm.1
  • Nap with caution: If you find yourself needing a midday rest, keep it short—10-30 minutes—and try to do it before 3pm.
  • Get moving: Whether it’s a walk after lunch or a vigorous workout, make sure you exercise daily. Just remember to wind it down at least 3 hours before bedtime.
  • Make time for important conversations: It’s not easy to fall asleep after having a difficult conversation—you don’t have time to emotionally process what happened. Instead, communicate any issues earlier in the day so you can relax at night.

Evening

  • Eat a sleep-friendly dinner: Try to stick with veggies, beans, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates.1 These foods calm the body and increase serotonin levels.
  • Adjust your room temperature: The perfect temperature for sleeping is between 60-68 degrees Fahrenheit. Experiment to find out what your optimal temperature is for better sleep.
  • Sniff out your surroundings: Smells—both good and bad—can affect your dreams. Try spraying calming scents like lavender and chamomile in your bedroom before sleep.
  • Clear your mind: Write in a journal, make a list of tomorrow’s priorities, or just quietly meditate. When you finally shut your eyes, your mind should be calm and ready for relaxation.
    1. “How to Get on a Sleep Schedule.” Sleep.org, National Sleep Foundation, 13 Nov. 2014, sleep.org/articles/get-sleep-schedule/. Retrieved June 20, 2018.