How to Sleep Better and Fix Insomnia in 30 Days

Comprehensive recommendations and plan to improve your sleep

woman sleeping on her stomach holding pillow

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You've finally reached your breaking point. After another night spent tossing and turning, a morning where you struggle to get out of bed, and a day fighting sleepiness and fatigue, you are committed to trying to sleep better and fixing your insomnia. This can be a significant and life-changing goal, and it can also be a little intimidating without a plan. Where should you even begin? Fortunately, there are a series of specific changes you can make that will help you to sleep better. Set aside the next 30 days to focus on how to begin to implement this advice You'll discover that you can enjoy the sleep of your dreams.


How to Get a Better Night of Sleep

Committing Yourself to Better Sleep

Before setting off on this path of personal improvement, you should candidly assess your level of commitment. Are you willing to make some hard choices? Is it a good time in your life to focus on your sleep and set necessary boundaries? Can you see this process through to its end? If your life is in an uproar, now may not be the perfect opportunity to focus on your sleep. But if you're ready and willing to improve your sleep, there is no better time than the present to make some changes.

Don’t short-change yourself in this process by failing to do some of the hard work. Your reward will come in due time, and improving your sleep will be worth your perseverance and commitment.

How to Sleep Better in 30 Days

The following steps are organized to provide you guidance and support in your efforts to sleep better. It can be implemented over the course of a month, with different tasks assigned to each of the 30 days. Major changes are spaced out in the schedule to allow prior tasks the time needed to take effect. Most of the first week, for example, focuses on improving your sleep environment after the recommendation to fix your waking time is in place—but some of the groundwork laid through self-reflection this week will provide a foundation later on. Similarly, as is later recommended, creating a relaxing buffer zone and going to bed when you feel sleepy will take some effort, while simultaneously rearranging the use of substances may come easier.

There are recommendations that will be fruitful and corrective in different situations for different people. Some topics won't be relevant to your situation (such as quitting smoking if you are already a non-smoker.)

The latter portion of this plan is meant to tidy up some of the loose ends, including conditions that can undermine sleep. If the early changes haven't proven to be effective or relevant, it may be because other issues are at play. Ultimately, if your efforts aren't rewarded in the end, it may be useful to speak with a sleep doctor who can provide you the personal assistance you need to overcome any remaining problems. This advice is generally good for all, but carefully crafting it to attend to your individual needs may make it invaluable.

Implementing the Plan to Sleep Better

You can take one step per day to improve your sleep. Below are suggestions for what to work on each day for 30 days. It's not necessary for it all to unfold in an orderly manner: you may find that you need to take longer on one particular task, and conversely, you may be able to breeze by recommendations that are irrelevant to you. Personalize the plan to fit your needs and your situation as best as you can, and allow flexibility in the process.

Whatever you do, stick with it. Your reward will be not only a better night's sleep but also improved vitality and function during the day. The goal is very worthy of your efforts, and you should be commended for committing yourself to the process.

  • Day 1: Wake up at the same time each day. Start with making a regular sleep schedule. This wake-up time will be the same on weekdays, weekends, and your days off, so select a time that is the best for you.
  • Day 2: Remove electronics from the bedroom.This includes television, computers, cell phones, and even electronic readers. 
  • Day 3: Lock the pets out of the bedroom. While your pets may love to sleep with you, they can contribute to sleep problems with their behavior and their dander.
  • Day 4: Calculate your sleep needs. You may need the traditional eight hours of sleep, or do best with more or less. Find out what you really need.
  • Day 5: Sleep at the right time for you. Some people do better with "early to bed, early to rise," while others are natural night owls. You will do better working with your circadian rhythms.
  • Day 6: Pay off your sleep debt. If you haven't been getting enough sleep, now is the time to catch up on your sleep debt. You can extend your sleep times, take naps, and learn to use caffeine wisely.
  • Day 7: Learn the difference between sleepiness and fatigue. You may not realize there are important differences that can help identify and treat the causes of insomnia.
  • Day 8: Go to bed only when sleepy. You will fall asleep more easily and sleep better through the night if you go to bed when your body is ready and not when the clock says to do so.
  • Day 9: Create a relaxing buffer zone with sleep rituals. Get your body ready for sleep by cueing it with quiet activities.
  • Day 10: Avoid alcohol near bedtime. While alcohol may make you feel sleepy, it disrupts quality sleep.
  • Day 11: Cut out the caffeine. For most people, caffeine should be avoided for four to six hours before bedtime.
  • Day 12: Stop smoking and start sleeping. Smoking disrupts your sleep in several ways. Nicotine is a stimulant. Because it is addictive, it may also result in waking due to nicotine cravings. The respiratory effects can also lead to snoring and sleep apnea.
  • Day 13: Get exercise at the right time. Exercise can help improve sleep, but vigorous exercise right before bedtime may not be useful.
  • Day 14: Decrease the frequency of trips to the bathroom to pee. A full bladder can disrupt your sleep. Learn what factors can contribute to needing to get up during the night.
  • Day 15: Avoid heartburn at night. Not only can nighttime heartburn disturb your sleep, it may pose more health risks than daytime acid reflux. Learn how to prevent it by having a lighter evening meal, eating earlier, and not snacking. Sleeping with your head and shoulders on an incline can also help.
  • Day 16: Don’t lie awake in bed at night. If you can't fall asleep in 15 to 20 minutes, it's better to leave the bed and enjoy some relaxing activities until you feel sleepy.
  • Day 17: Manage your stress with relaxation techniques. If you have trouble with stress when you are trying to go to sleep, you will need tactics such as scheduling your worrying time and using relaxation methods.
  • Day 18: For a racing mind, make a list. If you have racing thoughts when trying to sleep, use a tactic such as making a list so you will have taken some action and can then relax.
  • Day 19: Instead of trying to sleep, change the focus to rest. Waking up early or during the night may be your normal pattern. You may need to focus on getting rest rather sleep.
  • Day 20: Don't take naps. If you nap during the day, it can contribute to insomnia at night if you don't feel sleepy at bedtime.
  • Day 21: Restrict your time in bed and consolidate your sleep. Only go to bed when you are sleepy.
  • Day 22: Address underlying mood disorders, including anxiety and depression. Your poor sleep quality may be a symptom of a mood disorder. Getting a diagnosis and appropriate treatment can help your sleep and improve your life.
  • Day 23: Snoring and sleepiness equal sleep apnea. If you snore and you are drowsy during the day, you may have sleep apnea. Treating this condition can improve your life.
  • Day 24: Quiet your restless legs. This is a common syndrome that can disturb your sleep.
  • Day 25: Focus on weight loss. Being overweight contributes to risks for sleep apnea and restless legs. Meanwhile, not getting good-quality sleep may contribute to weight gain or being unable to lose weight. It's a vicious cycle that you need to break.
  • Day 26: Expose yourself to morning sunlight. Morning sun exposure or using a light box can help with some sleep phase syndromes.
  • Day 27: Get rid of the alarm clock. Hitting the snooze button can be too easy.
  • Day 28: Consider whether you are too sleepy. Sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and what you eat and drink can contribute to daytime drowsiness.
  • Day 29: Make sleep a priority. Now that you've considered many factors affect your sleep you can dedicate yourself to changing those that you can.
  • Day 30: See a sleep doctor. If you still are having sleep difficulties or suspect you have a condition such as sleep apnea, it's time to get a sleep study.
8 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Brandon Peters, MD
Brandon Peters, MD, is a board-certified neurologist and sleep medicine specialist.