7 Simple Ways to Improve Sleep

At the end of my ideal day, I take my super-relaxed self back to my bed, pull back the covers, crawl between a set of smooth, clean sheets and lay my head on a lavender-scented pillow.

With a smile on my face, I ease into a great night’s sleep.

7 Simple Ways to Improve Sleep {+ an Organic Sheet Set Giveaway}. Enter at shalommama.com.
Does this always happen? Um, no. In fact, that this happens at all amazes me after so many years of battling insomnia. Thankfully, though, it was my sleep challenges that inspired me to find natural, simple ways to improve sleep.

The following ideas have helped immensely, making my insomnia a thing of the past. My husband even claims that I frequently fall asleep before he does now (which I still have a hard time believing – the man can fall asleep in minutes anytime, anywhere, no matter how uncomfortable it is).

I hope these suggestions help you as much as they’ve helped me.

1. Take a quick shower

If I’m sticky, whether I worked in the garden, exercised or just took a walk under the hot summer sun, I can’t sleep. So it’s best to do a quick rinse off before bed. This gets rid of the sticky feeling and, as a bonus, cools down and relaxes the body so it’s easier to get to sleep.

And if you slip between the sheets, snuggle in and realize that you’re sticky, do yourself a favor and go take a quick shower. Just last night I tried to ignore the stickiness and it took forever to fall asleep.

2. Use essential oils

There are so many essential oils you can use to calm down and ease into a restful night’s sleep. You can either dab a drop onto your forehead, chest or the back of your neck or spritz it on your pillow.

  • Lavender is well-known for calming and I highly recommend using it on yourself and your kids before bed.
  • Alternate it with cedarwood, an essential oil with sedative properties that also keeps away bed bugs (be sure to pack that stuff when you travel).
  • If sleep is really hard to come by, mix a drop of wild orange with a drop of vetiver essential oil. This powerful combination might be just what you need.

3. Create a bedtime routine

Make a bedtime ritual that you enjoy so your body knows it’s time to wind-down and go to sleep. Turn off all screens, including your phone, at least an hour before you go to bed. Apply calming essential oils. Try to go to bed at the same time each night.

4. Have a little snack

Don’t go to bed with a growling stomach (this book explains why). If I’m feeling pretty hungry before bed, I’ll have some apple slices with cheese or peanut butter (I aim for a sweet/salty combo with some fat and protein).

5. Embrace the darkness

If you’re sensitive to light, take measures to keep your room darker. I love curtains that block the light and my sleep mask was one of the best investments I’ve ever made.

6. Make your bed

I’m a little “princess and the pea” when it comes to my bed. If my bedding is even the slightest bit askew, I grumble a bit, get out of bed, rip off the covers and make the bed so everything’s nice and smooth.

I’ve had enough restless nights due to funky covers to know that it’s worth the two minutes it takes to make my bed to get up and do it.

7. Be picky about your sheets

My husband and I are frugal minimalists. But. We’re all about high-quality items. We choose not to spend our money on certain things so we can afford products we’ll love that will last a long time.

Like our sheets. We like soft sheets that don’t get too hot, but that aren’t too slippery either (like these ones). And we’re willing to pay more for a nice set of sheets (and, for a long time, we just had one set that we washed weekly – now we have two).

And be sure to clean them regularly, even if you just shake them out mid-week. Because there’s not much more annoying than climbing into bed after a long day and finding that your kids were playing in your bed and now it’s all crumby. Yuck.

Enter to win an organic sheet set at shalom mama

Organic Sheet Set Giveaway

Speaking of sheets, how would you like to win a luxurious set of organic sheets?

Yeah, thought so.

This week, I’m giving away an Organic Sheet Set – size of your choice – courtesy of the wonderful folks at My Green Mattress (go read their story – I love it – and I also love that they, too, have four kids).

They sent us a set of queen-size organic sheets for us to try before the giveaway and oh, my goodness. I love them! They’re neither too hot, nor too slippery and feel oh, so soft.

I’m so excited for the lucky winner who will get their own set of sheets!

To enter, follow the instructions in the widget below – it’ll tell you what you need to do.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What tips do you have for improving sleep?

* This post has been sponsored by My Green Mattress and I received a free set of sheets to try before the giveaway. All opinions are my own and I’m happy to recommend this great company.


  1. Tracy Stringer says

    I drink a relaxing herb tea consisting of chamomile, oats, passionflower and valerian.

  2. linda says

    The best thing i have done to improve sleep is getting an organic wool mattress topper; insulates cool in summer and warm in winter. Clean and breathable, and I rotate it everytime I change the sheets.

  3. Terri Dye says

    Thanks for the opportunity Shalom Mama…I’d LOVE a great nights sleep on some lovely sheets like these!

  4. says

    Totally agree about creating some sort of nightly ritual. My husband falls asleep faster than I do, so I keep my Kindle beside my bed, and I just read for 5-10 minutes, until my eyes are really tired, and then I usually fall asleep no problem. I used to struggle with insomnia so much as a teen and young adult, and then again with every pregnancy. But for whatever reason, this ritual of reading just a little bit each night helps me so much. If I’m really having a hard time, I also use essential oils. I like the Serenity blend a lot. It’s my happy, calming smell. :)

  5. says

    Sometimes I pray. Not necessarily that I will fall asleep, but sometimes I think the Lord keeps me away and alert so that I can devote a few moments in intercessory prayer.

  6. sarah Robinson says

    Hi Nina, I am sorry if this is not the right way to contact you to ask this question. Why did you choose doTerra vs. other brands of essential oils? If there is a better way to ask this question please let me know and I can do that instead.

  7. Kay says

    After having my 2nd son, he refused to sleep so my body was on an incremental schedule. He started sleeping eventually and I didn’t. But thanks to melatonin, and clary sage in coconut oil rubbed on the bottoms of my feet, I’m sleeping great now!

  8. says

    I’m big into having a bedtime routine. I find I wake up much easier in the morning if I get to bed on time. To do that I have to start getting ready for bed about 30 minutes before bedtime. During that time I take care of all the pre-bedtime stuff, like brushing teeth, drink of water, turn off lights, etc.

  9. Deborah says

    Turn off computer, t.v. or anything else that flickers at least 30 minutes before bed and read a book (sorry not an E-book) for 20 or thirty minutes. Then be sure all light sources are off.

  10. beth says

    Prayer as I am laying in bed helps me sleep :-) “Cast all your cares on Him for he cares for you.” :-)

  11. Vickie T. says

    My tip for getting a good night sleep is to cut back on the fluids a few hours before going to bed,

  12. says

    I too, usually have a snack before bed. Milk is good for me Because it Is the perfect mix of protein to carbs. I do this because I cannot sleep with a rumbly tummy and so my BG won’t go screaming high and it will help control it during the night.

    I always make sure a couple of hours before I go in to check the temperature in my bedroom. That way I have a couple of hours to adjust accordingly. I cannot sleep if it is hot.

    Sandalwood, neroli, basil, and a touch of Ylang ylang is my go to sleep blend. I will also put this blend into my small crock pot and let it defuse that way into the room for days when my insomnia is at it’s worst. I will sometimes use lavender, it depends on my mood.

    Sleep is something I’m always grateful for when it happens. I have fibromyalgia and a mood disorder that both interfere with my sleep cycles. Or all I do is sleep. Either way I’m grateful for a comfortable bed and whatever sleep. I get.

  13. Kim says

    I just found out that I won the sheets, and I can’t tell you how grateful and excited I am! I love reading your posts with all of your wonderful info, and this is the icing on the cake! Thank you, thank you, thank you!


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