'Sleep Sloth' Helps You Go To Bed Worry-Free, Plus 4 Other Tools For Getting The Restful Sleep You Need

If you're anything like me, getting a good night's rest feels more like a distant dream than a part of your daily routine. If you're reading this with groggy eyes and an exhausted brain, though, fear not! There is an adorable, animated sloth called Sleep Sloth who will help you go to bed when the time comes. And hey, at least those of us who struggle to get a good night's sleep aren't alone; reports from the Centers for Disease Control show that not getting sufficient sleep is a legitimate public health problem, and one which plagues way too many Americans on a regular basis. So basically, this little sloth couldn't have come along at a better time.

That's right: If you check out Sleep Sloth, you'll be greeted with an animation of a friendly sloth who just wants to tell you what you need to hear in order to get a good night's rest. The creator of Sleep Sloth, Tim Manley, believes that sometimes to get to bed, we all need to hear a little something to calm our nerves. For example, do you need reassurance that your best friend isn't mad at you? Tell Sleep Sloth your concern, and it'll pleasantly reassure you that all is well and you're OK to get some rest.

Also, Sleep Sloth is adorable. I mean it. This is what it looks like:

Awwww.

If, however, the Sleep Sloth isn't cutting it, or you're just in the mood to try out a few different approaches, here are four more tools you can utilize before bed to help get better sleep at night:

1. Give Hypnotherapy A Shot

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The awesome free app called "Relax and Sleep" by Glenn Harrold is basically a self-hypnosis app that helps soothe you to sleep. I know it sounds a little unorthodox, but hypnotherapy has been to known to help people overcome all sorts of obstacles, including breaking addiction and getting over breakups. Harrold is a clinical hypnotherapist, but more importantly, he has a British accent, so he automatically sounds intelligent and reassuring in my book. The app is available for free on both Android and iPhone.

2. Embrace The Rain

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If the thought of a man's voice in your earbuds instructing you to go to sleep doesn't sound like your cup of tea, there are other audio apps available to help you get some sleep. There are lots of nature and sound oriented apps but in particular, "Sleepmaker Rain" has great reviews and is available free of charge for both Android and iPhone users. In my opinion, the really cool thing about the "Sleepmaker Rain" app is that it allows you to choose the type of rain (say, a light shower or a torrential downpour) as well as the volume.

3. Focus On Your Breathing

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In my personal opinion, there are few situations where focusing on your breathing won't help calm and steady you, at least a bit. If you're having a hard time falling asleep because you're feeling anxious or stressed, it can be helpful to refocus your attention on your breathing. The app "Long Deep Breathing" guides you in regulating your breathing, going as far as to suggest lengths for inhaling and exhaling. This app is only available for iPhone users, and costs .99 cents to download, but has great reviews and some pretty unique features, if you ask me. You can also check out meditation or yoga for tips on how to better manage your breathing to help you fall asleep.

4. Keep A Gratitude Journal

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Studies show that disconnecting from your screens before bed may help you get a better night's sleep. While it might be easier to keep a gratitude journal on a blog (or even on your own Facebook or Twitter), I think there are definitely benefits to sitting down and writing one by hand. When keeping a gratitude journal, you allow yourself to destress by finding something to be thankful for in every day, even the hard or stressful ones. Ideally, reflecting on the good moments of your day can help you unwind before you try to conk out for the night. I think the activity also provides a way for your mind to stay occupied if you're feeling wired, while also stepping back from the constant screen usage we've grown accustomed to having.

So, there you have it! Please don't underestimate the value and importance of sleep. Sleep has a huge influence on your overall health, mental clarity, and stress level. Not getting enough sleep can also have an impact on your work performance, memory retention, and mood. If you're struggling to fall asleep, I suggest trying a bunch of approaches and keeping a journal to keep track of what works best for you. If all else fails, never hesitate to talk to a medical professional, because your health matters.

Images: Fotolia; Giphy (4)