Get rid of any electronics or devices in the bedroom. It’s meant for two things: sleeping and sexing (I said sexing, not sexting). When you allow too much of the outside world into the bedroom, distractions infiltrate the sacred space meant solely for rest, relaxation, and procreation.

Shut off all devices about an hour before bed. That means anything with a screen, including the television. Digital devices give off blue light, which has been shown to suppress the production of melatonin. Melatonin helps regulate the body’s natural circadian rhythms around day and night. When it is not released, your body doesn’t get the proper signals that it’s time to sleep. In addition, what’s on those devices, like work and social media, keeps the mind running and ruminating. Your brain needs time to de-stimulate and power down. In lieu of electronics, try journaling, which holds the added bonus of cataloging worrisome or agitating thoughts so you don’t have to hold them in your mind—like cleaning house. Taking a hot bath or sipping herbal tea also have soporific qualities.

Try to avoid napping during the day. It’ll just keep you up later, and it disrupts the body’s wakefulness and sleep cycles.
Avoid caffeine (and, if you are especially prone to sleep disturbances, any chemicals that interfere with sleep, including alcohol) later in the day. In general, caffeine has a half-life of four to six hours, meaning it takes your body that amount of time to process half of what you’ve consumed. Gage your caffeine consumption accordingly. I won’t sip coffee after about 2:00 p.m. so I can ensure this particularly potent source of caffeine has completely cleared my system by midnight. With tea, it seems to be slightly later, about 4:00 p.m. I think of it like a zero barrier: when 4:00 p.m. hits, no more coffee or tea (unless it’s herbal).

Also bear in mind that decaffeinated coffee retains some caffeine, so it can still keep you up if you have it late in the day.
Exercise early or at least three hours before bed. Remember Dr. Ratey’s advice to go for a jog to rev up the brain? Use your exercise medicine wisely so you’re not inconveniently at your sharpest while trying to fall asleep.

Inhaling the scent of lavender before bed seems to act as a mild sedative, triggering a drop in heart rate, blood pressure, and skin temperature, which are all physical signs of relaxation.

Melatonin is a hormone secreted in the brain that regulates sleep. It is also manufactured in pill form and sold over the counter. If you’re struggling with inadequate sleep, you can try taking melatonin to help you regularize your circadian rhythms. Lots of travelers use it for jet lag and swear by it. Since it’s naturally manufactured in the body, it’s generally considered a more benign option than pharmaceuticals and other chemical compounds that are foreign to the body and have side effects.

I know I said no phones or devices in the bedroom. There’s one exception: Use of a meditation app can be an immensely helpful tool. There are several styles of meditation that work well in this department, particularly the body scan, but there are also some specific to sleep since this is such a common problem. You might want to explore those to help you relax and quiet your mind. Just make sure that you download an app that will filter out the blue light on your device over the course of the day (they actually exist!) so that your circadian rhythms aren’t interrupted while using your phone in the evening.

Author's Bio: 

Pax Tandon is an author, filmmaker, entrepreneur, wellness advocate, and teacher. Tandon holds a Master’s Degree in Positive Psychology (the scientific study of what enables individuals and communities to thrive) from the University of Pennsylvania. She earned a BSE from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Psychology from the College. She also holds a Certificate in Applied Positive Psychology, a Certificate in Positive Psychology Coaching, 200 hours of yoga teacher training, and a certificate of training in Past Life Regression Therapy, has completed the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course, and is certified to teach mindfulness through the Mindful Schools organization. She is currently working toward a year-long certification to teach mindfulness to kindergarten through 12th graders through Mindful Schools.

Tandon has given speeches, led workshops and sat on panels for countless schools and organizations, including The Wharton School, Drexel University, Cabrini College, The Baldwin School, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the Philadelphia Film Society, Women in Media, and The Fearless Conference, to name a few.

Tandon acts as a Director of the Vivo-Forto organization, whose mission is to train all of the world’s children in mindfulness. She also sits on the board of Write Your Future, a non-profit dedicated to teaching writing skills to students most in need. She is an advocate for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, where she has played the role of Emcee for the annual “Out of the Darkness” Walk, which gathers thousands in memorial of those lost to suicide.

Connect with Pax Tandon on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. To learn more, please visit

Mindfulness Matters is available for purchase in at Indiebound, Amazon and wherever books are sold.