In a time where we all want better sleep, that is one of the things that’s hard to come by. Our minds are buzzing all day, and it’s difficult to let go of that at night. We are eternally tired, but we can’t seem to get the sleep we want.
I am not going to tell you what to do at what time, because there’s no use. everyone’s rhyth is different and we prefer different things. I am simply here to offer you some things that will calm you down before you go to bed, so you can wake up energized and excited for the new day.
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Go to sleep and wake up roughly at the same time. You can deviate 30 minutes or so, but try to stick to the same times as much as possible. This way, your body learns when it is time to get sleepy and produce melatonin, the sleep hormone.
Screens and devices
Let’s start with the obvious one: stop any social media and negative influences at least an hour before bed.
I personally think it’s fine to be on a digital device before you go to sleep, as long as you are conscious of it. Stay away from any movies, shows or books that will upset you, make you angry or that are violent. I have written a whole blog post about mental health and media, and this is something I think applies even more in the hour close to bedtime.
Personally I read on my iPad every night before I go to bed, or sometimes I watch a show right before I sleep. Especially if my mind is busy, a show is the best way to make it quiet enough for me to fall asleep. I’ve never noticed the impact of my screens on my sleep, so I’ll leave that up to personal preference. You could also opt for some blue light glasses to help your mind.
Start a bedtime routine
A bedtime routine is another clear way to tell your body to start shutting down and relax. It recognizes the same movements and actions, and your subconscious will know it’s time to sleep, so you will automatically start winding down.
A hot shower or bath
Is there anything more relaxing than taking a hot bath or shower? I don’t think so. A nice bath helps your muscles relax, and it’s almost as if the water just absorbs all your worries.
Add some (lavender scented) epsom salts to your bath for additional benefits, just some lavender oil for a relaxing scent or use a creamy, luxurious shower gel to pamper and relax your body. If you’re in the bath, why not read a book or watch a show that will make you feel good?
Set an alarm to get ready for bed
Once you know what time you want to go to bed and how long your evening routine takes, set an alarm to remind you to start your evening routine. It’s so easy to keep watching netflix and suddenly remember you wanted to go to bed in about … 5 minutes. That sure isn’t going to happen now, so you mess up your schedule.
Setting an alarm to remind you of when to get ready for bed is a simple trick to help you stick to that bedtime schedule, ensuring proper rest and a good night’s sleep.
Although it’s not really a bedtime routine thing, I can’t help but touch on bedsheets for a minute.
After your nice bath or shower, it feels so good to get into a bed with luxurious bedsheets. I invested in 400TC sheets for my own bed (cue sheets of egyptian cotton), and every day I am grateful for it. They may not be top of the market, but they feel so much better and softer than regular cotton sheets.
So why not invest in the place you spend 1/3 of your life, and get yourself some super soft and smooth sheets? If you are willing to go the extra mile, splurge on some silk pillow cases to keep your hair and skin in the best condition.
Create a peaceful environment
Aside from treating yourself to some gorgeous bedsheets, make sure your bedroom is inviting you to come sleep. Depending on how much space you have this might be easy or more difficult, but do your best nonetheless.
Make sure you have as little distractions in your bedroom as possible. Ideally, you should only be in there to sleep and possibly dress yourself.
Make sure it’s the right temperature at night. Get a 4-season bedspread if possible, or get 2 different sets for warmer and colder weather.
Get something (or nothing) to sleep in. As long as you’re comfortable in bed and nothing is irritating you. Get an eyemask if necessary, or invest in some true blackout curtains to keep it nice and dark.
Add some aromatherapy
Another beautiful practice to add to your bedtime routine is to incorporate some aromatherapy toturn your bedroom into a true sleeper’s paradise. Use a pillow spray made to help you sleep, and rub some sleep balm on your temples and wrists.
In ayurveda, lavender is known to relax the body and the mind, so it is a perfect scent to put in an oil diffuser, or even to have a lavender scented candle to burn before you go to sleep.
Get some fresh air
fresh air at any time of the day is so beneficial for us, but especially closer to bedtime. Go for a walk an hour or so before you start your bedtime routine, or include it. Keep a window open in the bedroom if you can so fresh air can come in at all times, or open it for 5 minutes before bedtime.
Whatever works for you, include that in your routine, as long as it’s about getting some fresh air!
Stretch it out
If your body is in knots, sore or you’ve been sitting all day, give it some love with a gentle stretching routine. Follow any youtube video for this, there are plenty bedtime stretching routines, Hatha yoga or yoga for sleep. So roll out your mat and treat your spine to a lovely stretch.
Beds are for sleeping…
… right? While there are a small number of exceptions, Sometimes we use our beds for anything and everything. we watch tv, do our homework, finish that last work e-mail or even spend a whole day working from our beds. This gives your brain mixed signals about what the bed is for, which will make it that much harder to fall asleep at night.
Dedicate your bed to a limited number of activities, and you will sleep much better.
Read a book
To me, the best way to get sleepy is to read and I know I am not alone. There is something about words on pages (even digital ones), transporting you to different places and different lives that is so magical, and at the same time oddly sleep-inducing. Although there is the occassional book that makes you want to stay up all night, right?
Personally I am a fiction-before-bed girl, but I know some people love to read non-fiction. I have written a post on some of my favorite fiction books as well as one on personal development books, but I also really recommend these ones:
Write it down
If you can’t get your brain to quiet down at night, try writing it out. I often journal before I go to sleep, and I can tell the difference. There is something about writing down your worries and to-do’s that tricks your mind into thinking that they are taken care of. of course they’re there in the morning, but it’s so much easier to fall asleep.
So put a nice journal and pen to your bed, or even a notepad and pencil, sop you can write down your worries before you go to sleep and they won’t bother you as much. I also have a post on overthinking and worrying right here.
Get a cup or tea or warm milk
Finally, if you have trouble going to sleep or staying asleep, I always think a hot cup of tea or some warm milk works miracles. Herbal tea is best as it doesn’t contain theine, the tea version of caffeine. Try one with nutmeg for extra benefits, or get yourself a special sleepy time tea.
For milk, I prefer oat or soy milk, with a touch of nutmeg. Nutmeg helps calm and ground the mind, so it’s less restless during the night. If you often wake up in the middle of the night, try this trick. If you’re really anxious, you could consider adding a couple drops of CBD oil into your milk or tea to calm you down as well.
So I hope that these tips were helpful, and that they are easy to incorporate into your bedtime routine. Now go on and get a good night’s sleep!