For most people, the work week is stressful. You have meetings to attend, appointments to make, and errands that need to get done. Getting enough sleep feels like another task to add to your to-do list, and it isn’t always easy. An estimated 68% of Americans struggle getting shut-eye at least once a week.
Is counting sheep not cutting it for you? Here are five quick tips that will boost your sleep quality, bolster your energy, and help you tackle the work week like a champ:
1. Strategize in advance for a less stressful A.M.
One of the worst things about waking up on a weekday is feeling rushed during your morning routine. Prepping as much as you can the night before will leave you feeling less stressed at bedtime, and your morning will be a much calmer start to the day.
Some helpful things to get done ahead of time are:
Plan your outfit: Laying out your outfit the night before saves you not only time, but also the headache of realizing too late that your favorite shirt is at the cleaner’s.
Choose the items you want to wear the next day, make sure they’re stain- and wrinkle-free, and place them all together for easy access in the morning. Having trouble finding the time to plan? Apps like Stylebook allow you to plan your wardrobe weeks or months in advance.
Prep food: This is especially helpful if you brown bag your lunches. Pack your meal, including any snacks, the night before. If you tend to forget refrigerated goods, leave a sticky note by the door so you remember to grab everything on your way out.
And don’t forget breakfast! Overnight oats are a healthy and delicious option that will give you extra time to get ready.
Pack your bag: There’s nothing worse than getting to the subway or your car, only to realize you left your wallet underneath the newspaper on your kitchen table.
Make sure your wallet, keys, water bottle and any other necessities are all ready to go the night before, so you can get out the door in the a.m. without forgetting anything. Large zipper pouches are a good way to keep everything contained in one spot.
2. Tidy up around the house
Going to sleep with a to-do list on your mind is pretty counterproductive — it usually means you’ll be too stressed to get a good night’s sleep, thereby zapping all the energy you’ll need to tackle said list. So while you’re prepping your things for work the next day, make sure to ready your home as well.
Clearing all the dishes, wiping down your counters, putting away laundry, and picking up miscellaneous items will help you wind down for the night — and ensure a good environment when you wake up.
For any tasks you don’t have time to squeeze in, simply write them down to remind yourself the next day. Unloading them from your mind will allow you to rest better.
3. Schedule time to unwind and relax
With your home clean and your belongings organized for the next day, your natural instinct may be to watch TV, check your email, or grab your cell and aimlessly scroll Insta.
While all of these things might seem like a good way to unwind, they may actually be affecting your sleep negatively.
Instead of zoning out with tech, try pampering your way to relaxation.
One great way to wind down at the end of the night is by using hot/cold therapy. You can soothe muscles and induce relaxation with the heat factor, or comfortably lower your body temperature on hot summer nights with cold therapy.
Feeling tense, stressed, or just plain overwhelmed?
4. Get your bed as cozy and comfy as possible
Pampering yourself is a great way to unwind, but you need a comfortable bed to get a full night of rest. Bedding, pillows, light and the general state of your bedroom all affect the way you sleep.
You’ve already tidied up your bedroom, so now focus on your bed. The type of pillow you use and how you use it has a great impact on your sleep, so make sure you have the right pillow for your sleep habits.
Another way to ensure you are fully rested? Block out all light while you sleep. Blackout curtains are great for outside lights, but if you share a bed or need to travel often, a sleep mask is your best bet for optimal darkness.
5. Stick to your routine
Sometimes it doesn’t matter how much planning and prepping you do — falling asleep seems like it takes forever, and then you simply can’t get out of bed when your alarm goes off.
Ironically, the culprit may be more sleeping: Napping or sleeping in on the weekend can totally throw your schedule off balance.
The solution? Pick a routine and stick to it. Waking up and going to bed at the same time on both weekdays and weekends will get your body in the habit, and drifting off will soon become easier.
Plus, waking up earlier gives you even more time to enjoy your days off.
Still having trouble waking up at a specific time? Start a sleep diary. Writing down the time of day you go to sleep and wake up will help you recognize your sleeping patterns — and eventually reveal your body’s ideal sleeping preferences.
This article was written by the team at Bucky, whose full line of natural and essential health and travel products has been helping millions of customers ease into dreamland since 1992.