18 Affordable Tips to Help You Sleep Like a Baby

Driving sleepy? Trying to stay awake at the office? Luckily, there is plenty you can do to turn around sleeplessness.

Lack of sleep is “a national epidemic,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. Almost one-quarter of people the CDC surveyed confessed that sleepiness keeps them from concentrating.

What’s worse, nearly 5 percent of them told CDC pollsters they had “nodded off or fallen asleep” while driving at least once in the previous month.

Many of us just aren’t getting enough rest. Here are the National Institutes of Health’s recommendations:

  • School-age children — At least 10 hours
  • Teenagers — Nine to 10.5 hours
  • Adults — Seven to eight hours

Fortunately, there are ways to improve your sleep. Many require little or no money.

1. Create the right atmosphere

Make your bedroom a comfortable, inviting place. Pay attention to the temperature, the aesthetics and the comfort of your bed. Set the temperature between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and make sure the air circulation is good.

Toss out nightclothes that aren’t loose and comfortable. Change your bedding and sleepwear at least weekly.

2. Invest in a good mattress

The Consumer Reports’ Mattress Buying Guide offers more than a dozen tips for buying the right mattress. According to the guide:

You should think about buying a new mattress if you wake up tired or achy, you tend to sleep better at hotels than at home, your mattress looks saggy or lumpy, you’re over 40, or your mattress is at least five to seven years old.

3. Wait until you’re sleepy

Stay out of bed until you’re feeling drowsy, says the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Instead:

Read a book, listen to soft music or browse through a magazine. Find something relaxing, but not stimulating, to take your mind off of worries about sleep. This will relax your body and distract your mind.

4. Train your brain

Bad habits contribute to many sleep problems.

It’s hard to break and make habits, but, once established, they run effortlessly in the background of our lives.

Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTI) is one way of reshaping your sleep habits. The National Sleep Foundation explains how it works.

CBTI may take weeks of work and require professional help, but it likely is worth the effort. The National Institutes of Health says, “cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTI) has proven efficacy.”

5. Keep the bedroom a sanctuary

Reserve your bedroom for sleep, dressing and sex. Nothing else.

The underlying idea is to associate your bedroom with restfulness and sleep, eliminating activities connected with wakefulness or stress.

6. Get up if you can’t sleep

Insomniacs shouldn’t stay in bed when they’re not sleeping. By getting out of bed, you avoid making a connection in the mind between the bed and sleeplessness.

“If you are not asleep after 20 minutes, then get out of the bed,” says the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

7. Try a sleep app

Healthline offers reviews of its top sleep apps for iOS and Android. Many feature sounds like peaceful music, white noise, or falling rain and whispering wind.

Others use hypnosis, deep breathing instructions or meditations.

8. Do a DIY sleep clinic

SleepRate is an iOS or Android app. It’s more elaborate and more expensive than other apps. Time describes it:

SleepRate is an app that helps people who can’t or won’t go to a sleep clinic to generate, in DIY fashion, the same kind of information that all the monitors do to help sleep experts design the right behavioral therapy for patients.

The app ($99.99) “can detect sleep disturbances by mathematically defining the connection between sleep, heart rate and respiration,” Time says.

It comes with a kit including a sleep plan, a heart-rate monitor worn on the chest that wirelessly transmits data to your phone, and a Stanford University proprietary CBTI treatment plan for sleep problems.

9. Manage caffeine and tobacco

Coffee does a good job of keeping you awake. That’s why we love it. But it stays in your system for hours, as Harvard Medical School’s Division of Sleep Medicine notes:

So avoid caffeine (found in coffee, tea, chocolate, cola, and some pain relievers) for four to six hours before bedtime. Similarly, smokers should refrain from using tobacco products too close to bedtime.

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  • broad0505

    itssss great

  • Barbi

    I gave up all the traditional methods of sleep remedies. I don’t look at the clock in the evening and continue my day until I eventually fall asleep! I will do laundry at 3am, go to grocery at midnight, and even cook a pot of spaghetti at 6am ! Sometimes I get 2 hours of sleep and on a good night I hit 5 hours!

  • Kate Moss

    In response to the article on affordable sleep tips, there is another tip they did not mention, aromatherapy. I had a terrible time sleeping years back. I did many of the tips they listed plus aromatherapy. Lavender is especially good for sleep. I used lavender bath items, linen sprays and scent diffusers.


      Chamomile(sp?) Tea is usually good for relaxing you before sleep…
      as is Sassafras Tea as well.

  • Georgia Wessling

    The “make it dark” idea was followed through in an article I read by a sleep expert. He said that light has a tendency to keep jerking us awake. You know – when you start to feel very sleepy and suddenly you are wide awake. Farmers do this on chicken farms to keep the birds active and growing more. He said to turn off all your lights about 1 1/2 to 2 hrs. before your bedtime. Use candles for light, or if you watch tv, use only that light. The lack of strong light allows our body to slow down and begin to feel sleepy. As this article says, light is what stops melatonin from starting to work on your sleep cycle. I use this trick, plus the breathe in to the count of 4, hold breath to the count of 7 and blow air out through your mouth to the count of 8. This concentrates your brain on this and not on thinking over a hundred details of your day. I also often put on a tape or use a machine to play rain, white noise, etc. For some strange reason, the one that helps me the best is thunderstorms. I love them. I used to take 30-45 minutes to get to sleep. I’ve more than cut that in half and will keep practicing to get it better.

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