by Dr. Wendy O'Connor, Positive Psychologist + Life Strategist for Women

Ready to catch more Zzzs? 5 Tips to Improve Sleep Starting Tonight

Sleep is a topic of conversation everywhere you go; it's like talking about the weather. What is the first thing your significant other asks you in the morning? Typically it is "How did you sleep?". I ask my children this every morning too. And my girlfriends talk about it all the time. Ahh, #momlife . We rarely run into people who feel well-rested. Why is that? Are we all terrible at prioritizing quality sleep? For some of us, yes absolutely. For others not so much. Here are my 5 tips to get you started sleeping better TONIGHT.

1. Create relaxing cues at bedtime. Turn down the bed, lower the lights, put on relaxing music, diffuse oils or light a candle, get into soft cozy pajamas. By creating intentional actions around bedtime to slow down we send our brains the message that it is time to rest.

2. Brain dump! Before you even get started in the relaxation mode of the evening you might notice that your mind still feels cluttered from the day. If this is the case, pull out a journal and find a comfortable spot in a common area of your home. Take 5-10 minutes to write down everything and anything that comes to mind. Worries, to-do list, random thoughts, tasks for tomorrow, unfinished business, quotes, anything at all. Once you get to the place where you can no longer think of things to write close the journal and leave it outside of the bedroom. The act of removing thoughts from your head and leaving them on paper frees up space in your mind to welcome relaxation and peace.

3. Skip the drip - No caffeine after noon (I know!) and ideally you eliminate it altogether until you are sleeping well. If you don't want to lose your favorite part of the morning routine choose half calf, decaf, or herbal tea to keep the warm beverage part of your day without the sleep-robbing consequences. (Clients hate me for this one.)

4. Put your phone away- If you are struggling with sleep the first thing I want you to do is make your bed (ideally your bedroom) a no phone zone. As well as a no food zone, no TV/Netflix zone, no reading zone, and the list goes on. The only things I want you to give yourself permission to do in bed is sleep and have sex. That. Is. It.

5. Insight Timer is Your Friend- One of the most effective strategies my clients use to improve their sleep is sleep meditation, and I specifically recommend #insightimer . Download the free app, explore the meditation options under the sleep category, and try a different one every night until you find one you love. Then repeat every single night around the same time until your mind and body associate this action with sleep. You might even drift off before the meditation ends!