Counting Sheep? 5 strategies to encourage a better night’s sleep

photo credit: Adrian Pimpam
photo credit: Adrian Pimpam

Sleep is important for our overall health. Sleep affects mood, energy levels, productivity, and mental clarity.  Recent studies also indicate the amount of sleep can impact weight gain/loss. So whether you are having difficulty catching those zzzzz’s, or just don’t feel rested, try a few of these strategies to see if your counting sheep days are over.

1. Create a bedroom oasis.

One of the most important things to consider is creating a bedroom oasis, where you can relax and rest. I don’t know about you, but too often laundry, papers, or other distractions try to worm their way into my bedroom. It’s best to leave these influences behind, since they are not part of creating a relaxing retreat. Decor should also be serene and uncluttered.

2. Establish a calming evening routine.

Once you have created your bedroom oasis, it is beneficial to establish an evening routine that you find relaxing. To learn more about how to create a calming evening routine, check out this article.

3. Develop and maintain technology boundaries.

As part of establishing the calming evening routine that is right for you, some experts recommend no television in the bedroom. My husband and I agreed when we were married that we would leave the television in the living room. For us, that has been an easy decision to maintain over the years, but the distractions such as the laundry listed in #1 have been more challenging for us to overcome as a family!

If you do choose to have a television in your bedroom, try to turn off the tube at least an hour before you go to bed. Same goes for computers, tablets, and smart phones. Read here if you want to learn more about blue light and how electronic devices may have a negative effect on sleep.

4. Try a few apps.

Yes, I know what I just said about technology in the bedroom, but these exceptions may be helpful to you. I have used all three of these apps and I have found them to be extremely beneficial, so see if one of them might be right for you.


  • Relax Melodies – Sleep & Yoga
    • By far, the relaxation/sleep app with the most diverse playlist. Music and other sounds range from everything from Gregorian Chants to sounds of the seashore or a vacuum cleaner.
    • This app allows you to combine sounds, with music, say, a lullaby with white noise and a heart beat for a baby’s ears or a mix of ocean waves, seagulls and sounds of foghorns for a beachy mix.
    • Other nice features include favorites and timers.
    • 52 nature sounds or melodies

5. Check out the new sleep guidelines.

The National Sleep Foundation has updated their guidelines on How Much Sleep We Need. Check out this Infographic to see the amount of sleep considered appropriate for you and your family.

Disclaimer: If you have concerns regarding sleep, please check with your doctor for information specific to you or your family’s needs.

photo credit: B. Fernari
photo credit: B. Fernari