How to Get Better Sleep: Strategies to try starting tonight! | Sara Ifert | Skillshare

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How to Get Better Sleep: Strategies to try starting tonight!

teacher avatar Sara Ifert, Health & Lifestyle Coach | Artist

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (28m)
    • 1. Course intro

    • 2. Why is sleep so important to your health?

    • 3. Setting up a bedroom sanctuary

    • 4. How much sleep do you need?

    • 5. Should you eat or drink?

    • 6. Tips for falling asleep

    • 7. What to do if you wake up, or can't fall asleep

    • 8. Class project

    • 9. Final thoughts

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About This Class


Sleep - you know you need it, but for whatever reason you're just not getting enough. Or you're in bed for plenty of hours each night, but you toss and turn and still wake up tired. When sleep is out of balance, it throws everything else off. Sleep is one of those core aspects of health that we need in order to feel our best, and it can lead to health issues if we don't bring it back into balance. Health Coach Sara Ifert from Go Simple Wellness has worked with clients to improve their sleep quality (and quantity), and is excited to share this information with everyone. In this class, you'll learn simple strategies that you can start implementing right away to get a better night's sleep. 

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Sara Ifert

Health & Lifestyle Coach | Artist


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1. Course intro: Hey there. I'm Sarah Ivor. I'm helping myself, Coach. This course is all about sleep. How can you get more of it? And how could it be better? I actually have had a lot of difficulties with sleep over the years. I'm a pretty light sleeper. So it doesn't take much for me to just wake up in the middle of the night for no apparent reason. And then sometimes one of awake I have a hard time falling back to sleep because I've got just a running script of things that I need to think about, or I'm worried about going around in my head and then I just can't turn it off and fall back to sleep. When I started working with clients, I discovered this is actually really common. People have a really hard time getting the quality and quantity of sleep that they really need to be the best each day. And really, that's what it's all about. Sleep is one of those foundation elements to health. You want to be getting the best possible so that you can do everything you need to do in a given day. So this force has plenty of strategies that are going to set you up for success in terms of getting a good night's sleep. I'm not promising that's going to solve all of your sleep issues, but it could help set the stage so that get a good night's sleep and hopefully a little bit more. And they're really easy strategies that you can start doing even tonight. Some strategies might take a little longer, but ultimately, sleep is something that you should invest time in, and this course will give you some good ideas in terms of how to we all can. I don't receive in the course. 2. Why is sleep so important to your health?: welcome to the course. So in this course, we're going to talk about why sleep is so important and specifically will cover some of the ways that a lack of sleep might start showing up in your life some signs of your physical and emotional health that are screaming. Give me more sleep. We'll talk about then, how to prepare for an awesome night sleep. There are a number of things you can do that are pretty simple, low hanging fruit strategies that can help you sleep so much better starting tonight. Even then, we'll talk about what to do. If you wake up in the middle of the night, you can't fall back to sleep. Or if you have a hard time falling to sleep to begin with, then we'll move on to how to overcome some sleep problems. Now I want to just mention that if you have a sleep disorder, you've been diagnosed with something like sleep apnea. This course will not cure that, but you can learn a few things that might make the sleep that you're getting a bit more rest ful. But I do recommend that if you are in a treatment plan for a specific sleep disorder to continue that treatment plan. All right, and then finally will go through and we'll assess your sleep habits So we'll look at each of the different areas that affect sleep and how you can improve them, and then you'll go through and develop your own personalized sleep game plan. So first, let's talk about why sleep is even important. Why do we care? And we care, because it has a pretty detrimental effect to our health, both our physical health and our emotional health. If you're running really low on sleep, you might have a trouble concentrating. You might find yourself at work and scattered and feeling unable to focus, and that's a really common sign of just not having enough sleep. You may have diminished creativity or problem solving skills. You might have some memory issues, maybe a bit of brain fog, where you just can't think of the name of somebody that you're looking right at. You might have some mood swings or an increased risk of depression. You could start getting sick all the time. Due to a weakened immunity. You might have an increased risk for diabetes, blood pressure and stroke you might start to gain weight due to increase hunger and appetites decreased libido, and you might be generally more prone to accidents. These air all common signs of being a bit on the sleeping bribe side. This statistic is pretty mind blowing to me in when I shirt with others. They tend to be pretty surprised, also that after 17 to 19 hours without sleep, your driving performance is equivalent or worse than a blood alcohol concentration of 190.5 There are a lot of activities in your life that I'm assuming you wouldn't want to do under the influence. So the ironic saying is that a lack of sleep actually is putting you in that same position . You might be just not quite on top of your game if you're just not getting enough sleep, and it could actually turn into something a bit more dangerous. So the benefits of a good night's sleep are really the inverse of the slide Two slides ago . We can talk about the possibility for increased creativity. Say you have some perspective because you got a good night's rest and are able to solve a problem that you've been trying to figure out in your head you might have better focus so that when you're working on a project, you're not getting distracted 17 times. While you're trying to get this work done, you might have an improved mood, which makes you just have, ah, happier time with your family and improves your general home relationship and the list goes on. So a good night's sleep is definitely something that we should all strive for, and it doesn't have to be a huge frustration. So in the next lesson will talk a little bit about some of the things that you can do, maybe even starting tonight to improve your quality of sleep. 3. Setting up a bedroom sanctuary: right. Are you prepared to start having an awesome night sleep well? There are a few things that you might want to do to help support your best night's sleep possible, and the first is creating a bedroom sanctuary. So one thing to consider, especially if you have a light right outside of your bedroom window, would be to put in some sort of room, darkening shades or blackout curtains so that you're not seeing so much light coming into the room. If you're a light sleeper, even if you're not, any changes in light could potentially wake you up in the middle of the night. Or just it might be harder to fall asleep another way around this. If you don't have control over the window or a light situation would be a sleep mask that can. You can wear a tonight to keep the light out, and that could really create a super dark environment for you and help him sleep well and then the cool space. So a lot of studies have shown that having a bedroom temperature in the mid to upper sixties Fahrenheit can help you sleep a little bit better, and I know sometimes in the summer. That might not be doable. If you don't have air conditioning, for example, it might just not be possible to get your bedroom temperature that cool. But installing a fan were having just a regular box fan in the bedroom blowing on you or having a window open can be a really great way to just keep things cool and keep the air moving in your space. Then we're gonna talk about clean quality linens. You know that feeling. You put clean sheets on your bed and you get in and you're just like that. Feels so much better, right? Make sure to regularly put clean sheets on the bed. This can be once a week more regularly than that. It depends on what you want to do. But having clean sheets really can improve your quality of sleep and then take a look at the quality of your linens. Make sure that they're comfortable for you. Maybe you're somebody who likes a crisp sheet, and if so, consider making sure that your bed has those sheets on it. Maybe you prefer more of a T shirt fabric. Whatever your preference, get the best quality of Lenin's that you could afford and possibly even consider organic cotton linens because that could help you be exposed to fewer toxins. And you spend a lot of time in your bed sheets anyway, so it makes sense to invest in quality linens within your budget, speaking in it of investing in something that you're spending a lot of time on, we'll talk about mattresses. So if you're sleeping on a mattress that you've had for 20 years and you wake up in your body aches, maybe you can hardly bend over or you're just storm here. You just feel like you're restless, rolling around a lot in the middle of the night. It might be time to invest in a new mattress. Now I know that sometimes a mattress might not seem attainable because they can be very expensive. But I'll give you a quick tip that we actually just bought a mattress on Amazon for about $300 a king size mattress, and it arrived right to our door, and it has been amazing. Nowadays you can go to a mattress store, try out mattresses, see what comfort level you want, what for myths and then go online and read the reviews, and you can get a really good sense of the quality of the mattress and how it might work for your preferences. It could be worth trying, especially if you're on a tight budget. But sleep is very important and worth the investment. Then consider having nice, quiet space, and sometimes that might not be 100% doable. So I love to introduce the idea of white noise. They have those white noise machines that make you feel like you're on a beach or have a heartbeat in the backgrounds. Or you could just run a fan. Having some white noise in the background can help even the lightest of sleepers not here, every single bump in the night. And then, finally, my last tip is to let go of the screens. Now, I know some people really love watching TV in the bedroom before they go to sleep and letting it run into the wee hours of the morning. But it could be very distracting and can affect your sleep quality more than you know, because you could accidentally wake up in the middle of the night if there's big changes in light or they start playing some music, So I really recommend that having in television in the bedroom and letting go of your phone and mobile devices from the bedroom. Also, it's too tempting if you use your phone as an alarm clock just by an old fashioned analog alarm clock that will go off the time you set. You don't need to have everything on there, including your instagram and YouTube and all the things that might be potential distractions to you in the middle of the night. 4. How much sleep do you need?: This next tip might seem a little silly to some people because most adults don't think about having a bedtime for themselves. It maybe think about it further, kids. But in reality, a bedtime could be really helpful in improving your overall sleep now and down the line. So how to set that bedtime? What time should you go to bed? And a good rule of thumb is to consider your wake up time and then go backwards 7 to 8 hours. Now we're all different. We all need different amounts of sleep in order to feel are best. So you may need actually nine or 10 hours or you might need fewer. But a good starting point is 7 to 8 hours. And then how do you enforce that time? Because again, things can get a little loose around that time. You might just be you lost in a project or just on autopilot doing some other activity. One tip, I suggest is to create a bedtime alarm on your phone or on a physical alarm clock. Actually, have an alarm go off at that time. That way, you know that this is the time for me to get to bed. So why is a bad time important if we're going to bed at two AM one night in nine PM one other night. It can be really hard for our bodies to know exactly when we're going to be going to sleep . And it can be really difficult to be in that rhythm. If you have a bit more of a concrete schedule where you're going to bed roughly at the same time each night and you're waking up roughly at the same time each day your body starts to give into that rhythm and it becomes more natural. So if you're somebody who has a hard time buying asleep might be helpful to just set some schedule for yourself so that your body starts to know like ho. Yeah, I could start going to bed at this time instead of just going to bed. Whatever it seems to work out, the next tip is to consider wind down activities. So now that you have your bedtime, actually go back 30 minutes prior to that and start developing a plan of what you can do to help yourself relax and get ready for sleep. So the idea here is to go for passive slow activities, and I'm going to start by saying that does not include scrolling on instagram or watching Netflix. Those are much more stimulating to your brain than you actually notice in the moment what it may seem like you're just vegging out. You're getting a lot of stimuli into your brain, and it can be really difficult to turn that off. So, going for some slow, passive activities, lower the lights, avoid phones and screens and do something relaxing something that you're actually gonna look forward to. I love creating a great bedtime routine that just feels sort of like you're on vacation. You're allowing yourself this time. Usually, I suggest 30 to 45 minutes up to an hour if you have time for it. Teoh, get into this pre bedtime space. You could take a bath. You could read a book. You could meditate. You could run a diffuser with some lavender or camomile essential oils into the space. You could write in a journal. You could do a gratitude practice riding down three things that you were grateful for for the day, and it's a great way to just reflect on the day that you had and wind down so that you're ready to go to sleep when you actually lay down. 5. Should you eat or drink?: it will ask if they should eat or drink something before they go to sleep. And it's a bit more complicated than just a yes or no answer. Generally, if you're starving, say you've worked all day and you just haven't had anything. Teoh eat of substance all day. I suggest eating something, preferably something moderately sized, a light meal, a light snack, something that just takes the edge off before you go to sleep. I wouldn't suggest eating if you're not really that hungry and you've had food all day. And you know, this is just sort of like a snack Teoh that you know you don't really need it necessarily. You just kind of want it. I recommend steering clear of that because basically, as soon as you eat, your body starts going into digestion mode. And that is not the same as our sleeping restorative mode, so you can actually have a bit less of a rest full night's sleep if you've eaten right before you go to bed. Now, if you do eat, I suggest not going straight to bed. But maybe just walking around or staying upright for a little bit, because if you eat and then lie right down and go to sleep. You could have some acid reflux or some indigestion has results. Now what to eat or drink, I would suggest again a very light meal, a light snack that will satisfy what you need. So one of my favorite bedtime snacks is, Ah, small bowl of oatmeal with some nuts. I think that can be really satisfying, has some fibers, so it's going to keep you fuller a bit longer. I'm some carbs and protein and fat, so it's a well rounded snack, and it's also warm, which can be a bit comforting to our our insides as we consume that in terms of drinking, a lot of people ask me about sleepy time tea or some sort of sleep enhancing teas. And with that, I suggest to use a bit of caution because if you drink too much, you might interrupt your sleep later by having to get up and go to the bathroom. So some tea could be good. It could be a very calming, experienced drink tea. Just be mindful of the portions, and so I guess that's one of the biggest takeaways from what to eat and drink is to just make sure whatever it is, it's not a huge heavy portion on. Then what to avoid? I would suggest avoiding alcohol before bed. I can give you a bit of a fitful night's sleep. I would also avoid straight, sugary snacks, big meals big, heavy like a bull, French fries. These types of things might not help you sleep very rest, Feli. 6. Tips for falling asleep: So you have set the stage with the comfortable bedroom. You've said a bedtime. You've done a free bedtime ritual and now it's time for bed. So what do you do? I mean, you could just lay down and hope for the best. But if you're maybe not falling asleep right away, one tip would be just do a body scan. So this is something where you can actually start at the top of your head and think about just focus on it for a moment. So focus on how it feels to have your head resting on the pillow. Feel the heaviness of that sensation, feel the pillowcase around your face and then moved to your neck and shoulders. Consider what might, what tension you might have and how that feels. And maybe loosen that up a little bit, relaxed those muscles and just work all the way down to your toes. This could be an ultra relaxing experience because we don't tend to sit and focus on any particular body part most of the day, right, unless there's something really demanding our attention through pain. But if you take a moment just to look at each area of your body, allow it to relax on the move onto the next. It could be very relaxing and help you feel more ready to fall asleep. You can also focus on your breath, and this is also very relaxing if you take deep belly breaths and count them. 25 tech Nice long inhales up to five counts and then long exhales to five counts and just focusing on your breath. And it's natural rhythm. After that, you can really start to shut off the world around you a bit more and get ready for sleep and then avoiding distractions. And, gosh, I hate to bring it up again, but one of the top distractions is your phone in the bedroom, so it can be very tempting if you're not instantly feeling ready to fall asleep to just reach for your phone or do something else, but hang in there for a moment. Give yourself a few minutes to just sort of sink in to that moment and get ready for bed. 7. What to do if you wake up, or can't fall asleep: But what do you do if you wake up or you've been lying there doing a body scan relaxing and you just can't fall asleep? Sometimes we just have too much on our minds, and we can't just shut it off right. There have been times, even for myself, where I'll even start dreaming about something that's on my mind and it, and like something is minuscule, is trying to remember to go to the grocery store tomorrow. That can just played my entire night and make it hard for me to get a good quality night's sleep. So the answer to that is to really write down your thoughts or write a note to yourself. If something comes up to you while you're resting and having a notebook and a pen next, your bed could be really useful to just write it down, cools the notebook. Okay, I don't need to worry about that right now, and then try to get yourself back in that zone of sleep. If that's not working, get out of bed. So here's the thing. If you spend a lot of time awake in bed, you start training your brain to believe that it's what you do when you're in bed. We want your brain to think that when you're in bed, you're getting some blissful sleep. So if you're not doing that, I suggest getting out of bed doing something super mundane. Maybe you're folding laundry. Maybe you're walking slowly from one end of a room to another. Maybe you're sitting on the couch and sorting paper whatever it takes to just do something really mundane you're not thinking about or judging the fact that you're not getting good sleep, you're just going to do something, get away from a situation for a moment and then get back to bed and then kind of repeat that body scan, go through, maybe linger on areas that are tight or uncomfortable a little bit longer and really send a calming energy to those spots. It may sound a little silly, but it really can be helpful. And then, if you're really having a hard time falling asleep, the other suggestion would be to try a visualization. So a visualization exercise for somebody who's having a lot of thoughts swirling around in their head and they just can't turn him off would be to picture a nice, pretty blue sky overhead and you have clouds up there that all have things that you're thinking about let written right on them. So maybe you're thinking about your relationship or something your boss said or something you said to a friend that you're worried about. Start looking at those clouds and just observe that there don't really judge them. Don't try to give them too much additional thought. Just look at them and be like Huh? These are my thoughts. And then allow yourself Teoh. Envision a breeze coming along. That sort of just pushes thes cloud thoughts, often to the distance, and you see them moving away from you out of picture and just blue sky overhead again. The idea here is to try to trick your brain toe. Let some things go so that you can just rest and fall asleep. Now if you're having other sleep problems, maybe your snoring maybe wake yourself up snoring or your partner complains of your snoring . If you've got continued fatigue that just you can't seem to get a handle on or insomnia that doesn't go away. Talk to your doctor, see if there's anything that might be going on that could be contributing to your lack of sleep or your lower quality sleep disorders like sleep apnea can have, ah, really strong effect on your health. And so if it's something that you're dealing with, you might be useful to understand that and start getting treatment for that. 8. Class project: go ahead and download your sleep assessments and game plan. Pdf from the project files and give yourself or ranking for each of the areas that we talked about. Rank your bedroom sanctuary your bedtime. Considering whether you're getting enough sleep rank, your pre bedtime habits is there's an area for improvement there and then rank your overall sleep quality. Then I want you to. For each of those areas in your game plan, give 1 to 2 ideas that you might be able to improve in those areas some things that you could implement. And, honestly, we could improve something in each of these areas. So even if you break well on the previous section, I want you to include an idea or two of how you could improve, and then I want you to go ahead and set up a timeline. So pick the top three things that you want to dio one short term item that you can do tonight tomorrow, the next day. So within save 48 hours or so, then something that's a bit more midterm. So, like 1 to 2 weeks from now, you want to accomplish this and then look at something and like the 1 to 2 month timeline. So, for example, if you're looking to maybe invest in a new mattress, that might be something Maurin the 1 to 2 month timeline or later. Something like studying a bedtime could be something you could start doing tonight. So choose three things that fit each of those categories. One for today, tomorrow, one for the week, next week or two, and then one in the next month or two or more and and go ahead and set that in your schedule. However, you remind yourself to do things, I want you to actually put this information there so say you manage your schedule by a calendar on Google, or are your iPhone actually put a note on your calendar that you want to stop at the store and pick up some new sheets that day? This will keep it top of mind and that you actually implement some of the ideas that you're coming up with to improve your sleep that you have a hand written calendar. Go ahead and write that down there. However you manage your calendar, go ahead and add that now and then upload the pdf to the class files so that we can see it 9. Final thoughts: thank you so much for taking this course. I'm really excited to see what type of things you're going to try when you upload your project files and definitely reach out with any questions you might have about any of the material or anything that's hanging you up a little bit. I do have some other courses on skill share and on my personal site, focused on having more energy and stress. So if these areas that you want to learn a little bit of a little bit more about you can learn more about them and go simple well assed dot com slash forces. But I really appreciate that here, and I hope that you were able to come up with some really great strategies for getting a better night's sleep. Thanks so much again for taking this course well, to see you well rested very soon.