We’ve heard all the tips and tricks for getting a good night’s sleep — exercise during the day, go to bed and wake up at a set time, unwind for 30 minutes before going to sleep — but we have to admit that last one is a toughy in our crazy connected lives. Whether it’s taking a bath, sipping a cup of tea or burning a candle, unwinding before bed is essential to catching those elusive ZZZs. Because we all need a way to shake off the stress of the day, right? If you aren’t sure how to calm things down before hitting the hay, check out these 10 relaxing, rejuvenating ways to unwind after a long day.
1. Make a to-do list. Clearing the mind for a good night’s sleep is critical. If you have a mental list of things you still need to finish up from the day, it will haunt you all night. Write down a list of any unattended items to address the following day so you aren’t worrying all night long.
2. Adjust the temperature. Studies show that you’ll sleep longer and deeper in a cooler (not cold!) temperature. Pay attention to the layers of clothing, sheets, blankets and duvets you’re using, ’cause those affect your skin temperature regardless of what the thermostat says.
3. Take 10 deep breaths. Deep breathing slows the heart rate and calms the body. Hearing your breath as your body inhales and exhales can calm your nerves and act as a simple meditation that quiets the mind and allows you to peacefully drift off to sleep.
4. Read. Take time for some inspirational reading, as it helps fuel greater creativity and passion in your life. It also requires regular eye movement and brain power, which naturally tires you out and makes it easy for sleep to ensue.
5. Reflect on the day and lie down on a positive note. Try to let your mind focus on recalling the day’s precious little moments. Taking just a few minutes to think about the positive things you’re appreciative of from the day can often lull you away to dreamland.
6. Drink a cup of tea. Obviously caffeine before bed is a no-go, but a warm cup of naturally decaffeinated herbal tea can be an excellent way to help you relax before bed. We suggest Chamomile, Jasmine or Lavender, all of which are considered natural relaxants perfect for that pre-snooze sip.
7. Have a glass of red wine. If a warm cup of tea isn’t your cup of tea, then perhaps a nice glass of red wine will do the trick! Believe it or not, according to the University of Milan, the skins of the grapes used in Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chianti contain melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone that helps regulate our body clocks and promote better sleep patterns.
8. Take a natural supplement. We’re not hug fans of sleeping pills, but there are a number of good supplements on the market that will help you get those Z’s. Valerian Root has wonderful natural relaxation properties, as does Tryptophan (which is also found in turkey). You should try not to rely on supplements as your only means of falling asleep, but in a pinch they can do the trick.
9. Play some white noise. For many of us, the sounds of nature have a wonderful way of putting our minds at ease. If you have trouble letting go of the day, consider investing in a white noise machine. You’ll feel like you’re napping seaside in no time, and without worrying about a sunburn! The white noise will drown out any distracting sounds that might interfere with your sleep, helping you to snooze like a little baby.
10. Hide your clock. Okay, this one might sound silly, but it isn’t. Anyone that has had trouble sleeping can tell you that watching the clock is a great way to stress yourself out. Stress and sleep do NOT go hand in hand. So, hide the clock and stop calculating how many minutes you’ve been trying to fall asleep in your head. And don’t worry; you can hide your clock, but you can’t hide from your alarm.
How do you unwind before bed? Any relaxing tips we missed? Let us know in the comments below!