Sleep is REALLY IMPORTANT. Whether you’re trying to lucid dream or not, it’s just a major part of our lives. Without sleep, we die. Literally. No I’m serious, when you deprive yourself of sleep you actually become ill, anxious, go insane and eventually die.
It’s important to make sure you’re getting a good nights sleep.
But how do you do that?
IMPORTANT NOTE: This article is focused on getting BETTER sleep and not FASTER sleep. I wrote another article showing over 50 ways to fall asleep faster, but this article is focused entirely on the quality of your sleep. But this article is going to focus on the basics and how you can get BETTER sleep.
Okay, now that we’re cleared that up, here’s a home truth.
You’re probably doing a lot of ‘sleep’ WRONG. Here’s how to NATURALLY get a really good nights sleep every night, and wake up feeling like a million bucks.
By the way, sleep is natures way of recharging. You SHOULD be waking up after sleep feeling absolutely incredible, and full of energy and life. It should GIVE you energy, not make you feel worse.
Here’s what you’ll learn in this article:
- Why sleep is so important
- How to get better sleep at night
- What perfect sleep should look like
- How to fix your sleep schedule
- How to stop napping
- Some more powerful sleep hacks and tips
Let’s dive in.
Why sleep is so important
Sleep is the most important ‘biohack’ or trick you can use to make yourself feel better. Your body NEEDS sleep, and with good sleep, you can massively improve everything else in your life:
- Your energy
- Your immune system
- Your motivation
- Your brainpower
- Recovery speed
- How good you feel
But it’s easy to get it wrong. It’s easy to overlook sleep and not focus on improving it.
But that’s what we’re going to change in this article. I’ll explain how you can improve your sleep and boost your sleep quality. It all starts with understanding how you should be sleeping, and what perfect sleep looks like…
What perfect sleep should look like
The perfect nights sleep might not exist. That being said, you can get CLOSE to perfect, by following a few guidelines. Importantly, you should be TRACKING your sleep so you can actually tell whether you’re making a difference.
A typical night sleep should look a bit like this:
- You don’t look at any artificial light before bed or watch any horror movies
- You go to sleep at about 9-10PM, and instantly enter light sleep within about ten minutes
- After light sleep, you enter NREM 2
- Then deep sleep (Important for immune health and recovery)
- Then REM sleep where you dream or even lucid dream
- Then the sleep cycle repeats and you start again with light sleep
- This happens 5-6 times during the night
- You wake up naturally peacefully and refreshed
Notice how there are no weird interruptions, breaks to go and check your phone, night walking, or going to the toilet in the night. I just described the ‘perfect’ nights sleep, but most people don’t get that.
There is one critical thing that you need to track, and that is your deep sleep score. Deep sleep is one of the many stages of sleep, but it helps the most with your immune system, rest, motivation and how you FEEL the next day.
But here’s the weird thing:
It’s possible to sleep 9 hours or more without getting much or any deep sleep. You might not notice that you’re ‘deep sleep deprived’, unless you’re tracking your sleep. And that’s what it’s so important to track your sleep.
The best way I’ve found is the simple way, just buy a sleep tracker. They’re not that expensive now, and they work really well. Anything that can track the following is great:
- When you fall asleep
- When you enter deep or REM sleep
- How much you move during the night
- How your heart rate changes during the night
- What your ‘heart rate dip’ is
- What your body temperature is during the night (optional)
And then you can write notes alongside each ‘entry’ and see what things influence your sleep quality. I’ve found this priceless, and I’ve been able to really see what makes a difference to my sleep.
- Whether or not the window should be open
- Wearing socks to bed?
- When to stop eating
- When to stop drinking water
- Having light in the room
- How sound influences your dreams
- And much more
You can learn all of that if you track your sleep so get on it! I made a little video about how I used a simple Apple watch to track my sleep and actually lucid dream more often:
But you don’t HAVE to get a sleep tracker to apply these tips and tricks.
So let’s get onto how to actually get better sleep…
How to get better sleep at night naturally
To get better sleep at night naturally you really need to be going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Also, avoid stimulants, stress and artificial light in the evening, because it stops your body producing enough melatonin which is key for falling asleep and staying asleep.
I should also mention that lots of this won’t actually be easy.
This won’t be nice to hear or even convenient. But what I can promise you, is that if you follow these steps, you’ll sleep better. You’ll also feel better in the morning and throughout the day. In the next few minutes I’ll share with you how to fix your sleep schedule, and improve your sleep.
But you won’t be able to make all of these changes overnight.
And that’s fine! As long as you practice these things and TRY and improve your sleep, you’ll get great results. Many people don’t even TRY and improve their sleep, so you’re already on the right track.
Are you ready to dive in?
1: Fix your broken sleep schedule
Do you even have a sleep schedule?
- By this, I mean what time do you normally go to sleep on an average Tuesday?
- What about Friday?
- And Sunday?
Well, it should ideally be the SAME time on each day of the week.
The time you go to bed should ideally be the same as well. Now, I know what you’re probably thinking, you like to go out with your friends at the weekends, and so can’t always go to bed at the same time.
That’s fine, but if you’re having trouble sleeping and you want to naturally improve this, then you should start thinking about the bigger picture. The time you go to bed sets your sleep schedule for you.
If it’s always a different time depending on which day it is, you’ll always be adjusting to the new schedule and you’ll always feel tired.
Just make sure you get up at the SAME TIME every day, even if you’re hungover or tired. It might feel horrible at first while you get used to the idea of waking up even when you don’t feel like it, but that feeling will dissolve soon. In fact after a couple of hours you’ll be feeling much better anyway.
That way you’ll have at least half of your schedule consistent and stable. Your body will adjust and start making you feel more tired in the evenings at the right times so you can get enough sleep to wake up at your set wake up time.
Even on weekends.
If you are the sort of person who is going to lay in every weekend and then wake up early in the week, you’ll always be in that awkward transition stage where your body doesn’t know what sleep schedule and times you’re running on. Result? You’ll always be tired and groggy.
2: Create a strong bedtime routine
Before you go to bed, what do you do? Do you have a ritual or a routine?
Or do you just do anything and everything you feel like.. Most people don’t have a ritual other than maybe brushing their teeth and having a shower or something. This is fine, but there is a better way!
A ‘bedtime ritual’ is a set of things you do every night in the same order. It becomes a habit, and after a while it makes it MUCH easier to fall asleep because you’re trained your mind and body to follow the ritual, and then fall asleep.
An example of a bedtime ritual would be this one – (This is actually my personal bedtime ritual, but you can feel free to copy it! Also I’m going to make it blue for literally no reason other than I think it looks kinda pretty)
- 8PM: Close down all business related tabs and put phone on silent mode. Write out ‘to do’ list for the next day and prepare anything I’ll need such as gym clothes, documents, books etc
- 830PM: Brush teeth, and sometimes have a bath depending on how tired I am, then get PJS on, then read for 20 minutes
- 840PM: Meditate for 10 minutes then look over my yearly goals, and tomorrows to do list. Then get into bed, and normally fall asleep within 3 minutes or so
Meditation is now a very big part of my life, and I don’t know if I’d be where I am right now without it. It’s such a simple thing, yet the benefits are enormous and I couldn’t list them all here if I tried. It also MASSIVELY helps your sleep quality.
To give you an idea, meditation has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, as well as heal and prevent depression, anxiety, stress and much more. It physically alters your brain and makes you calmer, smarter and more mentally sharp.
Not to mention it MASSIVELY improves your chances of lucid dreaming naturally and makes sleep EASY.
Music – Some people like to listen to music before bed. I personally do as well. I find that in the day time my music tastes vary from Trance, Vocal trance, Dubstep, Industrial, Heavy metal etc and then in the evenings I like listening to a few types of music which I think are PERFECT for relaxing and getting ready for a good sleep:
Here’s a little example of a ‘chillstep mix’ you could listen to to get ready for bed..
- Bath or shower? If I’ve done a heavy workout or been physically active in the day I find that a warm bath is a good way to relax as well. It loosens the muscles and helps you to wind down for the day.
- Incense and mood lighting – I sometimes burn incense in my room which makes the room smell nicer, and helps to relax me. This isn’t for everyone, and some people don’t like this sort of thing but I find that it helps me to get a good nights sleep and it’s a very natural way of relaxing as well.
- Computer screens keep you awake! If you work from home or at least use your computer a lot, you’ll probably notice that the screen tends to keep your eyes working over time late into the night. The glare of a computer screen can keep your body producing ‘wake up’ hormones which in turn keep you from being able to fall asleep naturally.
3: Don’t try and sleep if you’re not tired enough
If you’re not tired, don’t try and sleep.
All you’ll do is frustrate yourself. If you’re laying there and you REALLY can’t even close your eyes, then don’t. Just get up and do something else. BUT, the key is to NOT do anything that would wake you up more. Things like watching TV or looking at your phone are OUT of the question.
Do other things like reading, meditating, yoga or even going for a little walk.
Of course the long term goal is to be able to go to sleep at your set time, but to start with, you might not actually feel tired at the time you want to sleep. If this is the case, you need to do something else until you feel tired enough.
Make sure you keep the ‘wake up’ time the same though! this is important. So, like I was saying do something that keeps you occupied until you feel like you’re tired enough to go to sleep. Now, make sure the thing you do isn’t going to keep you awake too much!
What I mean by this is try and do things like reading, drawing or meditating. Don’t go and play some sort of violent video game, because that will have the opposite effect and next thing you know, you’re sitting there at 4AM surrounded by empty crisp packets exploring some unknown part of Skyrim! (Trust me, I’ve been there!)
Try reading something, or drawing the type of dream you want to have.
Then, when you feel tired go to sleep!
4: Avoid stimulants and other substances
There are certain substances which will make it harder to naturally fall asleep, and you should probably avoid taking or using them if you want to get better sleep at night.
These things are things like:
- Heavy meals before bed and snacks late at night
- Drugs and even sleep aids to some degree (They build up tolerance)
Try and avoid these if you have problems falling asleep at night! Alcohol reduces your REM sleep, which as I’ve explained in the video below can mean you have LESS dreams, and find it HARDER to fall asleep. Of course, the flip side is you get ‘REM rebound’ but that’s neither here nor there. Long term, this stuff is bad for your sleep and dreams.
Intermittent fasting: Another interesting thing to note about eating is this: I’ve been experimenting with eating ONLY during an eating window of between 12PM and 6PM every day. If it’s outside those hours, I don’t eat anything. This has MASSIVELY helped me fall asleep faster and feel better, and it’s done wonders for my energy as well. Worth experimenting with.
5: Make sure you’re comfortable
Your room needs to be nice. By ‘nice’, I mean comfortable, relaxing, warm and inviting. It needs to make you feel like you want to sleep there, because it’s the perfect place to sleep.
Try adding some relaxing ornaments to your room, getting a new soft rug, changing your sheets and switching to a memory foam mattress. Even just by adding a plant to your room for example, you’ll improve the oxygen levels and the entire room will feel more fresh.
You’ll be able to sleep better!
- Your bed: Memory foam or normal? Memory foam has been shown to be much better for you than normal mattresses, and it can help you improve your sleep naturally. They are of course slightly more expensive, but they’ll last you years! There are certain things in life that you should never be fussy about price with. Things that will LAST you a long time and possibly affect your general quality of life..
Things like your food you eat, and the bed you sleep on.
You’d be surprised how many people sleep in beds they’re not really comfortable on! It’s amazing because we spend about 20 years of our lives asleep and that’s a huge chunk of time to be uncomfortable. Invest in a good quality mattress ASAP, and make sure you LOVE the feeling of it!
Don’t compromise with your sleep because it’s probably more important than almost anything else you could spend your money on. People spend thousands of silly things like cars and houses over the years, but the idea of spending even $1K on a good quality mattress that will EASILY outlast your car?
For some reason that’s the silly idea. Be smart about it, and invest in a high quality mattress. They’re going to last you YEARS anyway, and your sleep will massively improve as a result of it. We reviewed a couple of good mattresses here but you can just search online and find good ones.
6: STOP NAPPING!
If you find it hard to fall asleep, try to nap less during the day.
Napping makes your body think it’s time for bed.
Sure, there are people who can nap and then sleep again at night, but if you’ve got insomnia or you find it hard to sleep at night, don’t. Napping will just make it harder to fall asleep in the night! If you LOVE your naps in the day time, try and phase them out slowly.
If you’re researching this whole sleep thing, you’ve probably realised that you need to KEEP waking up at the same time in the morning to set your sleep pattern, right? BUT a common mistake is to then nap during the day because you’re tired.
Don’t make that mistake, you’ll just undo all the work you’ve been doing by waking up at the same time every day. Stick to it and push through the fatigue for the first few weeks until your sleep pattern has been set. It’s so worth it and if you nap, you’ll just end up feeling terrible sooner.
7: Use your common sense more
What I mean by this, is just focus on using more common sense. You know that staying up late playing video games will make your sleep quality worse. So don’t do it!
You know that eating junk food until 10PM is not going to be great for your digestion, so avoid it. Eat earlier, and eat healthier as well. These are simple fixes you can make that will make a really big difference, and they’re easy to change too.
Other ways to get better sleep at night?
I made a video about how to get better sleep which you might like. It’s a long video but it’s good! Here it is! Don’t forget to subscribe (I think you can hover over the icon at the top and the subscribe option comes up?).
I’m not going to list a huge load of things you can try here, because the truth is there’s ONE thing or one CONCEPT you should try. This one concept is going to work better than any gimmicky tip or hack I could give you, if you actually use this.
Fix your circadian rhythm
This is the concept that changed my life:
Get in line with what your body and your nature really is. We’re animals, designed to walk around during the day, interact with other humans, and then seek shelter at night when it gets dark, after we’ve been active physically during the day.
So just get back in line with that!
- Wake up roughly when the sun rises in the morning.
- Go to sleep (or start getting ready) when it gets DARK at night.
- And during the day? Be as active as you possibly can. Run around, walk, talk, laugh and be merry. Just be active and try and get out of the ‘sitting down lifestyle’ that most of us are locked into. Do more, and be more active in the world. I PROMISE you you’ll find it much easier to sleep if you do these things.
And you could go beyond this and also get in line with our physiology by eating a plant based diet (no meat or dairy) and breathing deeper, but that’s just going to cause a debate in most cases. Do your own research but I guarantee if you do these things, you’ll get better sleep, naturally.
And it’ll last too. It won’t just be a placebo effect or a fad effect of some gimmicky new sleep pill, it will be nature. It will be raw and undeniable, and you’ll be able to sleep better, FOREVER.
How can I improve my sleeping habits?
To improve your sleeping habits, simply stop looking at screens two hours before bed. Also start going to bed and waking up at the same time every day and keep yourself consistent with that. Track your sleep using a basic tracker and look at what influences your deep sleep score.
These tips will help you improve your sleeping habits but really it has to be a complete change.
It’s no use trying to just tweak one or two little bits, because the whole puzzle needs to fit together.
Set yourself a goal of boosting your deep sleep up to 1.5 hours per night (track it).
And then look at what things, habits and activities influence how much deep sleep you get. That’s the most effective way to really improve your sleep habits, because you can directly see which things are influencing the sleep quality.
You need to improve ALL of your sleep, not just your deep sleep. Often by improving one thing, you also improve another though. So it won’t actually be that difficult to do, once you set your mind to it, and decide to do it.
What helps you sleep better at night?
There are several things that help you sleep better at night, such as valerian root, lavender pillow spray, white noises machines and even just closing the door to block out sound and light. Different people need different things though, so some people might find it easier to sleep WITH noise and some without.
You have to test things and find what works for you.
I would suggest NOT using sleep aids or sleeping pills unless you REALLY have to, because they can become crutches that stop you improving your habits. This leads to dependence and tolerance, which are never good things.
How can I fall asleep in 5 minutes?
To fall asleep in 5 minutes, you have to be tired enough to need the sleep. This can be achieved by exercising enough during the day. Also avoid watching screens two hours before bed so that your body produces enough melatonin to fall asleep easily.
There are some other things you can do too. I made a video about falling asleep in a few minutes that you might like:
You can lay there, relax your muscles, and try not to think about anything. When you do that, you trigger sleep and tell your body to ‘test’ whether you’re ready for sleeping. It does this by sending you ‘roll over urges’. This feels like the desire to suddenly turn over.
If you IGNORE those urges, you’ll usually fall asleep really quickly, and it happens pretty reliably too.
How can I trick my brain into falling asleep?
To trick your brain into falling asleep, try this military technique. Lay down, don’t move any muscles and count from 1 to 100. As you count, tell yourself that you’re asleep between each number. So count ‘1, I’m asleep, 2, I’m asleep’ and so on. It tricks your brain into thinking you’re asleep and you relax even further.
After about two minutes or so you should be asleep.
Resources for sleeping better
- Practice deep breathing (An article I wrote showing you how to meditate and breathe DEEPLY) – This can improve your energy in the day and make it easier to relax at night. Try practicing deep breathing 10 minutes before going to bed.
- Learn meditation for lucid dreams – 5 Steps To Lucid Dreaming (My Ebook for beginners) has a free bonus Ebook called ‘Meditation for lucid dreams’. This will help you as well!
- Try a natural sleep aid: I don’t like suggesting that people do this but if you REALLY need extra help sleeping properly, at least get a natural (non dependant) sleep aid, and use it ONLY when you need to
- Another good option is to try a melatonin spray (That’s the best one I could find on Amazon) just before bed. Your body naturally produces melatonin, so it’s not harmful in any way, but it will help you feel very tired very quickly.
- Need to fall asleep FASTER? I wrote a very long article showing you over 50 ways of falling asleep faster, even if you’re not tired. It’s only worth reading when you’ve applied what you’ve learned in this post though