So you’re exhausted and you KNOW you need more sleep and you’d LOVE to get more sleep but you simply don’t know HOW?

The truth is, there are many, many reasons why you may be tired. If you’re getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis (for most people that means about 7-8 hours in a 24 hour period), and you’re eating foods that are well suited for your body, and you still feel exhausted, you definitely want to talk to your health care provider (don’t Google it and drive yourself crazy, just make an appointment to get a checkup…you’re probably overdue anyway).

If you laughed at the idea of regularly getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night, I want to first let you know that I completely understand where you’re coming from. There are probably many reasons why you aren’t sleeping enough. Bed-sharing? Night nursing? Stress? Night waking toddlers? Deadlines for work? I’ve been there. And I’m not telling you to get more sleep because I want you to change anything that feels important to you. But I also know that you MUST rest, and there are things that you can do to help you do it.

In addition to the obvious things like cutting our caffeine and making your room dark, here are a few things to consider if you know you need more sleep:

1) No electronics before bedtime. Do you have a habit of checking Facebook or emails before you go to bed? Do you like to watch the news or your favorite show, right before hitting the sack? In order to sleep soundly, it’s important to disconnect from technology completely, before bedtime. Our phones, ipads and computers require our brains to function in a certain way that it not conducive to true relaxation and rest.

2) Do you keep your electronics in your room? Even if they aren’t being used, it’s a good idea to have as few electronic devices in the bedroom as possible.

3) Could you need more magnesium? Magnesium is essential for relaxation (among many other things). Eating more foods high in magnesium (dark leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, lentils, figs, and avocado) or a hot bath with Epsom salts at least an hour before bedtime. Craving dark chocolate could actually be a sign that you need more magnesium (pure chocolate is a good source of magnesium, just don’t eat it before bed).

4) Is there something that you need to get off your chest? Try giving yourself some quiet space before bed to process and digest the events of the day. It can be helpful to journal quietly for a few minutes.

5) Do you hold a negative belief about how people who sleep a lot? You might not even be aware of it, but do you have an idea about people who sleep too much being lazy or neglectful? Do you think it’s your job to get things done before you can take time to rest? Believe it or not, your unconscious beliefs may be playing a part in your ability to sleep.

6) Do you prioritize your sleep? You know how you rearrange your schedule when you little one needs a nap? What would happen if you gave your own sleep the same level of priority?