Just like morning routines can help get the day off to a good start, bedtime rituals can also help you get that restful and well-deserved night’s sleep your body needs in order to function properly.
Trouble getting to sleep, or maintaining sleep, can be more than a nuisance. It can contribute to chronic fatigue, mood swings, slower metabolism, and immune-system and memory issues.
Start practising some of the healthy habits listed below and say hello to sleeping like a baby again!
1. Turn off the screens
Relax, your e-mails and social media feeds will all be there tomorrow, waiting for you to read them during your morning commute. Just don’t read them before bed. At least an hour before going to sleep, turn all screens off, as the light from electronic devices keeps you awake even after you have turned them off. Basically, the blue spectrum light (which is the one that phones and tablets use) stimulates your brain and interrupts the secretion of melatonin, which is what makes us feel sleepy. You need some time away from the screens for your body’s natural sleep processes to kick in.
2. Do soft stretches
Don’t think a full on heavy sweat routine, but just some light stretching can be beneficial before bed. You’ll be able to get rid of all the aches and pains you’ve carried throughout the day, and you won’t wake up feeling stiff the next morning. Yoga is a great practise that you could take on to calibrate your muscles and get ready for a perfect night sleep.
3. Listen to soothing music
Music can take you places, and one of those places can definitely be to your warm and cozy bed. Listening to instrumental, soft environmental, electronic, or classical music can help your mind and body relax and get ready for sleep. Choose anything that will calm you down and take you to a settled mood.
4. Take a relaxing bath
Nothing’s better than rolling into bed feeling fresh, and if you’re able to replace the shower with a relaxing, cleansing bath, even better. A nightly bath can help with sore muscles, colds and infections, and even with congested sinuses. You can also add bath salts and pure essential oils to your bath to have the ultimate bath experience, something you will surely not regret. There is no need to stay there for an hour, either; with just 20 minutes of soaking you’ll get all the benefits. Oh, and the best part – it’s 20 minutes that you can take for yourself, and yourself only.
5. Dim the lights and start reading
Your brain is conditioned to relate darkness with sleepiness, so why not give it a hand? Dim the lights slowly, 2 hours before bedtime. Your brain will start secreting more melatonin, making you feel sleepy. And if you want even quicker results, complement the soft lights with a good, interesting read.
Reading activates your imagination. It can leave you in a positive mood before bed. Waking up in a positive manner is just as important as going to bed happy, too.
6. Wash your face and remove any makeup
You’ve probably heard this a million times before, but removing your makeup is a something you should be doing every night. Not only because sleeping with makeup prevents your skin from breathing and can contribute to premature aging of your skin, but because the process of cleaning your face can also be relaxing.
7. Tidy up your bedroom
Clutter is noise, and you could do without that when preparing to sleep. Just as it makes it easier to work when your desk is clean, sleeping in a relatively tidy room can help you relax, even if you don’t notice it immediately. Subconsciously, you’ll be getting rid of any anxious feelings that are running around in your mind. In addition to your room, try to leave dinner dishes clean as well, so when you wake up the next morning to have breakfast, you start the day feeling ahead and positive.
8. Be spiritual
Whatever religion you profess, or even if none at all, being spiritual is crucial to a peaceful sleep. It could help you refocus and consider all of the things you do have. It might make you realise how fortunate you are. Reflect on your achievements, be proud of them, and consider how you have overcome significant obstacles during your life.
Being spiritual can also bring inner peace and clarity of mind. Practising meditation is a common way to relax and detox your soul, which helps you to end the day feeling fulfilled and relaxed.
9. Have a tea
A warm herbal tea, especially chamomile, has soothing and calming properties that can make your night the night of your dreams, literally. However, if you don’t want the opposite effect and be up all night, always go for decaf!
10. Plan out tomorrow
Don’t start stressing about tomorrow, but rather write down at least three of the main things you need to get done. That way, you’ll wake up knowing exactly what you’re ought to do, and your day will go more efficiently. But remember: no electronics or phones! Go old school, grab a piece of paper and write down your ‘to do’ list. When it’s done, don’t think about it or revise it until the next morning. It’s time to relax!