Is there anything more frustrating than being so exhausted that your eyelids feel like lead, but you still can’t manage to get yourself to wind down? Instead, your mind is racing with everything that went wrong during the day—or that could go wrong tomorrow. Sounding familiar?
A good nighttime routine is so important in making sure that once your head hits the pillow, you are ready and able to switch off.
Sleep thrives on a regular routine. Building a great, consistent wind-down routine for the end of your day is the very best way to train your body to know that it’s time for bed. This will increase your chance of sleepiness, and make drifting off so much easier. As always, consistency is key.
First, run the perfect bath! It’s obvious and nothing new but a warm bath has really been proven to reduce anxiety and soothe aching muscles. Add a slather of lavender bath oil to kick off some relaxing aromatherapy. You could also invest in a lavender face mask, perfect for unwinding.
Next, stretch it out. Stretching and meditating even for just a few moments have been linked to better sleep and greater relaxation. Controlled breathing can also help you reduce stress and reduce your blood pressure.
Now comes the fun part. Set aside an hour or so for your wind-down activities. These should be things that are enjoyable in their own right, rather than just activities you think will make you sleepy. They shouldn’t be too stimulating, of course: activities like reading or listening to calming music are just what the doctor ordered.
Make your bedroom a sleep oasis. Turn your home into a sanctuary of relaxation by making sure your bedroom is only for sleep and sex. That means no phone time and Netflix is officially banned. As tough as this might be, it’s the only way to properly signal to your brain that this is a room for two things.
Get out of bed. It sounds counter-productive but if you’ve been lying awake for over 20 minutes, clock watching isn’t going to relax you into sleep. So get out of bed and try as reading to get you ready for sleep. After 10-20 minutes, you should feel better prepped to nod off.
Wind-down routines can be effective because there is a link between reducing physical and mental stimulation before bed and getting better sleep. However, we’re all different so, what some people find relaxing, others won’t.
Remember, a wind-down routine is very individual, so feel free to experiment and change things if something isn’t working!