Your 7-Day Sleep BETTER Plan

Congratulations — you're giving yourself the gift of good sleep.
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Studies have shown that cutting your sleep short for even just one night directly affects your health.John Brecher
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By Margaret O'Malley

Thanks for signing up for the 7-Day Sleep BETTER Plan. With just a single text message you've taken the first step toward getting a good night's sleep. A recent survey showed that 46 percent of us aren't getting enough rest to power through the day. That's a lot of people tossing and turning every night. Here's the thing: If you have a medical issue that's disrupting your sleep, please see your doctor. But if you're one of the many Americans who suffer from common sleep disturbances caused by, well, life, creating better sleep habits — or what doctors call "sleep hygiene" — may be key. And that's what this program is all about.

(If you've somehow landed here without signing up for our text messaging program, check out this page for the all the details — it's not too late to sign up!)

Over the next week, you'll start to uncover what's literally keeping you up at night — and get the expert advice you need to make the transition from bleary-eyed and tired to well-rested and ready to take on the new day. We'll even give you an expert-backed plan to help you become a morning person.

We'll send you two texts a day with all the information you need to take it step-by-step, but if you're a fan of jumping ahead, here's what you need to know:

Day 1: Download Your Sleep Diary

This journey is all about mindfulness. Every morning for the next seven days, you'll ask yourself these three questions: When did I go to sleep? How did I sleep? And how did I feel when I woke up? Jot the answers down in this handy downloadable and printable sleep diary PDF and you'll get insights into what's keeping you up at night (and the knowledge you need to fix it).

Day 2: Get Off Your Phone (or Whatever Else is Keeping You Up)

Catching up on the latest neighborhood gossip on Facebook or your latest Netflix binge may feel like the best way to shut down the day, but the light from your TV or phone make it harder to unwind and fall asleep. Your challenge for today is to shut down your devices or whatever else is keeping you up (looking at you, work) at least one hour before bedtime to give your brain (and body) the best chance for some quality zzzs. We'll share some strategies to make getting to sleep faster even easier.

Day 3: You're Probably Making a Few Mistakes You Don't Even Know About

Today, we'll explore some of the ways our best sleep intentions are actually some of our biggest mistakes (all fixable, of course!). For example, if you love to hit the snooze button, that simple swipe at the alarm clock may be doing do more harm than good. (Yep. We know; we're sad, too.)

Day 4: Supercharge Your Diet for Sleep

File this under "tell me something I didn't know," but if you're not feeling rested in the morning, you're probably not getting quality sleep. The good news is that better sleep tonight may start with a simple tweak to what you're eating and drinking. On Day 4, we'll share the secrets of highly rested people and get a peek into what they eat and drink for optimal rest.

Day 5: You've Got to Sweat to Snooze Like a Champion

Hitting the gym early in the day can make hitting the sheets later on a whole lot easier. A study found people who got 150 minutes of moderate to intense exercise every week slept better. Today, we'll give you the kick in the pants you need to get up and moving.

Day 6: Optimize Your Mornings to Sleep Better at Night

To sleep better, you need to set your internal body clock. One way? Getting outside in the natural light within the first hour of waking can be key to getting your sleep schedule on track. We'll tell you all about it and give you some other ways to shape up your mornings for better rest later on in the day.

Day 7: Review Your Results

By the end of the plan, you''ll have a week's worth of data to review (remember that sleep diary?). You'll want to look for patterns over the course of the week to see what pops up. For example, do you sleep less on weekdays when you down that double espresso to combat the mid-day slump? Or maybe you oversleep on Sunday mornings making it harder to get to bed on Sunday night, resulting in the most manic of Mondays? We'll help you get to the bottom of it.

If you have any questions or concerns about the plan, please reach out to us on Twitter. We'll be tracking everyone's progress on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — and we'd love to see your photos and posts. Please tag us and use the hashtag #SleepBETTER. We'd love to hear from you.

Happy Snoozing!

The BETTER team

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