10 ways you can beat sleep deprivation and live a better life

Top tips to have you snoozing in no time.

Last updated: February 6th 2019

Can't sleep? As a society, we underestimate the true power and necessity of sleep. "Sleep when you’re dead", they say. We call people who love to sleep, or sleep-in past a certain hour, lazy. But in reality, your waking hours could be a whole lot better if you had a few hours more sleep each night.

Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, says the only way to be more successful is to get more sleep. She calls it the Sleep Revolution in her 2017 bestseller of the same name.

This article isn’t about convincing you that you need sleep; chances are, you know that already. What you really need is actionable tips and tricks to turn yourself from a daytime zombie into a well-rested, life-loving human being.

Ready or not, it’s time to get comfortable and join the Sleep Revolution.

Can't sleep? These tips will have you snoozing in no time

1. Create a sleep retreat.

When your bedroom is a mess, your mind is too. Take care in the spaces you live; a clean, welcoming bedroom will make all the difference when it’s time to get some rest. You don’t have to spend a fortune to make your bedroom feel like a luxe sanctuary. Try candles or an essential oil diffuser, fresh sheets in neutral tones, extra storage for untidy items.

2. Dress to sleep.

Like you would dress to leave your house, have an outfit that you strictly wear just as you get into bed. Put your sleepwear on only when you’re ready to sleep; this will shift your mindset from lazing around, playing on your phone, watching TV in your pyjamas to "now it’s time to sleep". Treat yourself to a pair of sleep-only pyjamas that make you excited to put them on and dream away your worries of the day.

3. Wash the day away with a hot bath.

Set the tone for the night ahead and indulge in a self-care bath. Fit this into your sleep routine (more on that below) every second night. Download a podcast or guided meditation and destress before it’s time to hit the hay.

Take a bath to relax

4. Invest in natural skin care.

There are two benefits to investing in natural skin care products: first, you’ll be prepped and primed for an epic night’s sleep, and second, any products with essential oils (think lavender) will calm you down and help you breathe easier before bedtime.

5. Wear blue light blocking glasses when using devices.

Whether you wear frames or not, a pair of blue light-blocking glasses are a must-have at night to protect your peepers from eye strain and long-term damage. Many eyewear companies insist on a “blue blocker” when purchasing glasses for reading or everyday use; after all, we do spend a lot of time on our smartphones (the leading emitter of blue light). For the non-glasses folk, any good pharmacy or eyewear store can sort you out with your very own orange-tinted blue light blockers.

6. Sans-mobile for two hours prior to bed.

This is an obvious, but ever-so-hard-to-manage sleep disruptor. Start with 30 minutes prior to sleep, moving your iPhone to another room in your house – and build up to 2 hours, instead filling the time with reading or other self-care rituals. With most of us sleeping next to our iPhones (71% of Americans do, so us Aussies can't be far behind), it’s no wonder we find it hard to sleep.

7. Cut out caffeine.

Think about it: do you really need that afternoon coffee or are you just searching for an office escape? Caffeine can take around six hours (but usually more) to leave our system – that means a whole lot of buzz we just can’t kill, especially when it’s time to shut down. Decaf or dandelion tea, both very similar in taste to coffee, are great alternatives to beat the afternoon slump.

8. Read a fiction book.

Put the self-help and business books away. Just before bed, escape to another world with a fiction book in hand. Easy reading is perfect for helping your brain relax and mind shift to a more sedentary state.

Read a book to unwind

9. Give the eye mask a go.

You may wake up with it stuck to your hair or halfway across the bed, but to sink into a deep sleep, it’s important to block out all light. So when you’re creating your sleep retreat (see tip #1), also place an eye-mask on your pillow as a clear reminder to shut out all light. 

10. Set up a sleep ritual.

The most important step of all: plan a sleep ritual that you follow every night and stick to it. Be realistic and shift where necessary, but decide what order you’re going to complete the list above, what nights you will take your bath, what time you will put your phone away and pick up a novel.

Shift your routine and set yourself up for a comfortable night’s sleep. Sweet dreams!

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