How to Cure Insomnia: 7 Secrets of Women Who Beat It

Let’s talk about sleep. Sweet, glorious, elusive sleep. We’re willing to bet if you clicked on this story, you’re not getting enough of it. That sucks. But luckily, you can learn from the tired folks who have come before you and conquered restless nights. Here tips on how to cure insomnia from seven women who have. Follow their guidance.

: 27 Soothing Things to Do When You Just Can’t Fall Asleep

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Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

1. They Know What To Eat Before Bed

Women who have perfected the art of getting enough sleep know that what you do before getting into bed is as important as what happens when the lights go off, and that includes what you eat for dinner. Instead of taking another melatonin capsule, try eating one of these six dinners, all of which utilize ingredients (like walnuts and tuna) that are scientifically proven to give you a better night’s sleep.

open door to a bedroom

2. They Sleep With The Door Open

While some sleep tricks seem a bit out there, this one’s actually backed by science. In a study published by Indoor Air: International Journal of Indoor Environment and Health, scientists observed a group of healthy young adults sleeping over a period of five nights. Those who slept with the bedroom door open reported a better and longer night’s sleep than those who slept with the door closed. Why? When you open your door, you’re providing more ventilation to the room, which might help some people drift off more easily. Opening the door also caused the temperature of the room to lower slightly, to about 67 degrees Fahrenheit—optimal for sleep. So instead of tossing and turning, crack open your bedroom door.

3. They Create A Routine

Some nights, you’re in bed by 10 p.m. Others, you drag yourself to your room at 1 a.m. It can be tough to set a sleep routine and stick with it, but it’s super important. And yes, you should stick with your routine on the weekends. Sleeping until noon on the weekends won't actually make up for a week of bad nights. Choose a reasonable time to go to bed and wake up each night and day, and make a concerted effort to stick to your timetable. It’s worth it in the long run—we promise.

woman stretching in bed in front of a window

4. Their Rooms Are Set Up For Success

The design and layout of your room can actually play a huge role in how restfully you sleep. Maybe, for example, your sheets are making you too hot. That polyester or jersey cotton blend might look and feel nice, but you’re actually trapping in heat, which might make it harder for you to sleep comfortably. Try an organic percale sheet set that will keep you cool overnight. Here, seven other ways your room might be messing with your sleep.

5. They Know Their ‘sleep Opportunity’

You’ve probably said the following upon waking up after a less-than-restful night’s sleep: “Don’t worry, body. Tonight, I promise to get eight hours of sleep.” But according to Matthew Walker, director of UC Berkeley’s Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab and author of Why We Sleep, unless you plot out your sleep opportunity, you’ll never log the hours of shut-eye you actually need. According to Walker, the secret to a good night’s sleep is calculating the number of hours of sleep, plus the number of hours you know you’ll need to fall asleep. (That’s your sleep opportunity.) For example, if you know you need eight hours in order to be productive the next day, but you also need 30 minutes to read in bed and 30 minutes to fall asleep and you always wake up 15 minutes before your alarm, you actually need to get in bed nine hours and 15 minutes before you get up. (This means a 10:15 p.m. bedtime versus 11:30 p.m.) Do the math and get ready to have your most restful sleep in months.

alarm clock on a table next to a phone

6. They Don’t Hit Snooze

In the moment, giving yourself nine extra minutes of shut-eye seems nothing short of blissful, but in reality, every time you hit snooze and drift back to sleep, you start a new sleep cycle that will be interrupted in a few minutes anyway. Since that cycle will end before it’s truly finished, chances are you’ll feel even more tired when you wake up for good. It’ll take some getting used to, but training yourself to actually get up when your alarm goes off is so worth it.

7. They Know What To Do When They Can’t Sleep

To be honest, even if you follow all of these tips, there might still be some nights when you wake up inexplicably in the middle of the night. When that happens, know how to get back to sleep without disturbing yourself too much. Here are a few tricks to try: First, visualize your childhood home. When you’re not thinking about the stresses of the day (or not being able to sleep), you’ll drift off faster. Next, set your thermostat between 65 and 68 degrees. That’s the sweet spot for a good night’s rest, according to science. And finally, turn off your phone and computer. We promise, there’s nothing happening on Instagram at 1 a.m.

RELATED: 7 Myths About Sleep That Are Total B.S.

sarah stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...