As you get into bed each night, do you stress out about the day you had or worry about all the things you need to do tomorrow? Does your mind race thinking about the chores you didn’t finish, the deadlines looming at work, or the laundry you didn’t have time to do?
Bedtime is the time for one thing and one thing only:
And if you can’t fall asleep quickly, it may be because you haven’t had time to relax beforehand.
How you end your day can have a significant impact on how you sleep. So are you looking for some new ways to unwind before hitting the pillow? Here are nine evening routine ideas to relax before bed.
1. Turn Off All Devices
Whatever you do, do not get into your bed with your smartphone or tablet in hand.
Phones and tablets emit powerful blue light that boosts alertness and makes your brain more awake. It can be relaxing to play a game on your phone or scroll through social media on your tablet for some people. But those are some of the worst things you can do when your immediate goal is sleep.
If you must, put your phone on “do not disturb” or place it on the other side of the bedroom where you can’t reach it. That way, you won’t grab for it when you hear a notification or a new text come through.
LED TVs also emit blue light. Instead of watching your favorite show, turn the TV off completely before you put your head on the pillow.
Reciting mantras and practicing deep breathing techniques are excellent ways to calm both the mind and the body.
Practicing meditation can reduce stress levels and anxiety. It can also help clear your mind and help you focus better — all of which can contribute to a better night’s sleep.
The better your sleep habits are, the more likely you will wake up feeling productive in the morning.
Keep a beloved book on your bedside table and spend a few minutes reading before it’s time to go to sleep. Reading printed words is a smart way to relax, and doing so in bed is sure to put you in an untroubled state of mind, ready for sleep.
Just be sure to read things that will calm you down and let your mind wander. Avoid reading breaking news or social media posts that might stress you out even more!
4. Dim the Lights
Bright lights make the brain more energetic, so it’s best to get into bed when it’s dark.
Dim and lower the lights throughout your house and bedroom about an hour before getting into bed. It will put you in the frame of mind for sleep. Low levels of light make us feel more relaxed and help to calm the brain.
5. Pour a Cup of Tea
Resist the urge to have a cocktail or a glass of wine before bed. Alcohol will disrupt your sleep, not make it better.
Instead, pour yourself a cup of chamomile tea. Chamomile tea includes an antioxidant called apigenin, which reduces anxiety and puts you in a sleepy mood.
Chamomile tea is also ideal for people who are prone to insomnia.
6. Take a Warm Bath
A warm bath won’t necessarily put you in the mood for sleep, but it is a marvelous way to de-stress and unwind after a long day of work.
For many people, stress and anxiety keep them up at night and make it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep. And that’s what makes a warm bath the perfect way to top off a stressful day.
Fill your tub, add some essential oils or your favorite scented bath bomb, and relaaaaax. While you’re in the tub, try to erase the stress of the day and calm your thoughts in preparation for tomorrow.
A warm bath also helps to lower your core temperature, which also helps to promote sleep.
7. Spend a Few Minutes Cleaning Up
Do you find it impossible to fall asleep because you’re thinking about all the chores and work you need to do the following day? Spend ten or fifteen minutes tidying up at the end of the night. You will go to bed knowing that you’ve already knocked out some of tomorrow’s tasks.
Make sure you washed and dried your dinner dishes (or at least load them into the dishwasher). Straighten up the living room. Hang jackets and coats in your coat closet and put away the shoes you left at the door.
By doing a few small tasks at the end of the day, you can fall asleep knowing that your home is clean and prepped for your morning routine.
8. Listen to Music
Listening to music is a great way to put yourself in a relaxed state of mind.
No, we’re not suggesting that you blare the dance music or hip hop jams you work out to in the gym. Those will only stimulate the mind and have the opposite effect of what you’re going for.
Instead, put on soft music, such as classical or light jazz, that can soothe and calm the mind to prepare for a good night’s sleep.
There are many benefits to writing and journaling, including putting you in a calm and clear state of mind that promotes sleep.
Take several minutes before bedtime to write in your journal and recap your day. You can also write about things you want to do the next day or prepare a to-do list you can tackle in the morning.
The act of physically putting pen to paper is a great way to unwind, de-stress, and ease anxiety. It’s also a superb way to resist the urge to turn on your phone, television, or other electronic devices.
Whether it’s drinking chamomile tea, soaking in a warm bath, or journaling, there are lots of ways to unwind before bed.
No matter how overwhelmed you are, devote an hour or so before bedtime to prepare your body and mind for sleep. The better your sleep habits are, the more refreshed and productive you’ll feel in the morning!
Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Grove Slippery Rock to help them with their online marketing.