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Did you know a study found that a farmer’s chance of reduced stability leading to dangerous falls is 7.4 times higher when they don’t get enough sleep? Sleep is crucial to your mental and physical health. But getting enough quality sleep is easier said than done.
Some people struggle to get those precious hours of rest, making gardening and homesteading tasks even more difficult.
If that sounds like you, you’re not alone. Studies show that 10-30% of people suffer from insomnia from time to time.
Here are some tips to help you get the rest you need.
1. Start With the Basics
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Quality sleep starts with a healthy lifestyle.
To establish a healthy lifestyle, you must prioritize a balanced diet and exercise. Many people overlook their daily habits when considering what it takes to drift off into a peaceful sleep at night.
It’s not only just the hours before bed that count when improving your sleep quality. It starts first thing in the morning and lasts all day.
I know, sometimes living on a homestead feels like all-day exercise, but make sure you’re getting cardio and stretching, in addition to all that lifting and digging that you’re probably doing.
Bonus points if you can exercise with a friend. Socializing regularly is another part of establishing a healthy routine. Don’t let yourself get too isolated.
Try to establish healthy habits in all parts of your life and you’ll see it extend into your sleep.
2. Get Light Exposure in the Daytime
Depending on where you live, you might have bright sunlight all year long, or the days might be very dark during the winter. Regardless, it’s essential that you try to catch a healthy amount of sunlight each day.
Having a healthy dose of natural light can help balance out your hormones and circadian rhythm, which tells you when it’s time for bed or to get active.
You can get outside on a walk or hike when the sun is out or even just pop on your shoes and stand outside for a few minutes when you notice the sunshine is appearing from the clouds.
For homesteaders, you might just pop out during those early morning hours for some gardening, animal care, or yard maintenance.
If you don’t have the time because of work, you can use a light specifically made to mimic daylight, like this Carex Day-Light Therapy Lamp. Sit in front of it for 30 minutes in the morning.
Speaking of, 30 minutes is the amount of time that scientists believe is the minimum to keep you feeling good.
3. Minimize Blue Light in the Evening
Blue light is one of the reasons that you might struggle to switch off after a long day. Some people stay on their phones or watch TV at night. The light from these devices tricks your brain into thinking it’s still daytime, making you feel more awake than you should.
Blue light can negatively influence melatonin production, stopping you from getting the correct amount of sleep.
You can limit your blue light exposure in the evening in several ways.
One method is to download an app for your desktop and mobile phone that block out harsh blue light past a specific time. You can try the app f.lux, which is software that alters the brightness of your screen and allows you to set times for winding down.
If you have an iPhone, this function is built right in. Just turn on Night Shift and your phone will have a warmer hue during the time you set.
You can also lock your phone into a time safe or ask someone to hold it for you. That way, you won’t be tempted to stay up late and binge TV shows or stay on your phone checking social media.
These tools can make it easier for you to stick to a sleep routine and will give your brain a break from the blue light.
4. Watch Your Coffee Intake
There’s no denying that coffee is the magic trick for getting our brains awake and alert in the morning. But, too much caffeine can lead to sleep issues and make it hard to feel energetic the next day.
Many homesteaders love to brew a cup of coffee in between tasks, but you should stop drinking caffeine in the late afternoon. This will allow you to wind down naturally, and the caffeine will leave your system before you head to bed.
If you crave a cup of caffeine in the evening, you can still brew a decaffeinated drink and enjoy sipping it by the fire with your favorite book. Alternatively, you can make a herbal tea like chamomile or mint to help you relax and get in a sleepy mood.
5. Create a Consistent Routine
In an ideal world, getting up early and going to bed before midnight would be the dream scenario. But we all know that life can get in the way, and things happen that make us go off schedule. But a good sleep routine is about being disciplined with your time.
If you need to set an alarm on your phone or write yourself notes to get to bed on time, then do it!
The most important thing is you find a routine that works for you. For instance, if you need to get up to feed animals or take care of children, you should plan ahead the night before so you leave plenty of time in the morning.
Likewise, you should consider your daily tasks so you can leave enough time to relax in the evening.
Without a sleep routine, you could end up staying up too late and struggling to sleep when you go to bed. You can try to allocate time to reading a book or writing in a journal. That way, you can process the day and spend time offline.
If you don’t know what to do at night, you can try a few things until you find the right evening routine. It’s all about being disciplined and switching your favorite show off when the alarm beeps. Then, read a book, do a puzzle, or write in a journal.
6. Herbal Supplements
Nature can be a place for healing and growth, and it can certainly help with sleep issues. Herbal supplements like valerian (Valeriana officinalis) can help you get to sleep.
This herbal supplement has been researched and has been found to have powerful effects on patients with insomnia and sleep disturbances. It can also potentially be useful for people suffering from other mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
Here are some other herbal supplements that can be used in place of pharmaceuticals and help you reach a peaceful dream state:
Of course, you must advise your doctor if you’re taking prescription drugs or considering adding a herbal supplement to your diet. Even if it takes a while to find the right supplement, there are plenty of options for natural sleep aids available.
7. Use Your Bedroom Space for Sleep
Your bedroom needs to be a place of peace and quiet if you want to get a good night’s sleep. Yet, it’s common for people to leave their bed unmade, clothes on the floor, and piles of laundry in the space when life gets busy.
That TV on the dresser in your room? It’s not doing your sleep any favors.
We have busy lives and most of us don’t have endless space, so it’s no surprise that our bedrooms become more about functionality than relaxation. But if you have the space, your bedroom should feel like a sleep sanctuary.
That’s why you should avoid working on your computer in bed or cluttering the space with clothes. Instead, you should focus on minimizing distractions so the room is free from stress, work, and chaos.
You’ve probably heard the idea that your bedroom should only be for sleep and intimate activities. This is good advice. You need to train your brain that when you’re in the bedroom, it’s time to unwind.
You can make a calming bedroom using relaxing colors like green, cream, gray, and blue. If you want to take it to the next level, you can add an essential oil diffuser with lavender and some mood lighting to feel relaxed when you walk in the door.
Remember, it’s a good idea to keep technology away from the bedroom if possible. The best way to get a good night’s sleep is to allow yourself to switch off from the modern world and reduce the volume of background noise in the evening.
Plus, there’s that whole blue light thing we talked about.
To inspire you, watch some home improvement documentaries or spend some time redecorating the space to make it feel more calming.
8. Take a Relaxing Bath or Shower at Night
It’s vital that you get in the right mindset before sleeping, or your mind will race with thoughts until the early hours of the morning. Studies show that if you can treat yourself to a warm shower or bath before bed, you’ll sleep better.
Try lighting candles and running a bubble bath. You can also play calming background music and light incense to upgrade the bathtime experience.
Alternatively, you can roll out a yoga mat and do a short meditation or yoga to help release tension from your body. This is particularly important if you’ve spent the day bending over to plant vegetables or pick up debris from around your homestead.
Sometimes, a few minutes of stretching can make a world of difference to your mind and body when sleeping. And you’ll feel amazing the following day when you’ve managed to get at least 8 hours of sleep.
9. Keep Your Room Dark
All those gadgets we use come with chargers and those chargers usually have indicator lights to let you know their charging. TVs and streaming devices have lights and so do digital clocks.
Add to that lights outside your house coming through the window and your room can feel like daytime even in the middle of the night.
Try your best to make your room as dark as possible. Move charging equipment to another room and put electrical tape over any TV or electronic device indicator lights. Better yet, move them to another room, too.
Get good curtains that shut out any outdoor light. You’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes.
Getting better sleep range is all about getting physical activity like yoga or other forms of exercise and adjusting your sleeping space to maximize restfulness. Find the right balance between your external environment and mental health. Then, better sleep will follow.
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