Do you ever have trouble falling asleep, because you’ve been running non-stop all day and can’t seem to unwind? Or maybe you have a lot on your mind and just can’t quiet those distracting thoughts? Or worse, do you wake up in the middle of the night tossing and turning as you watch the minutes go by, getting more anxious as you count the numbers of hours left until you have to be up and ready to take on the next day?
This has been a big topic of discussion in my house as of late, because Michael and I both currently have a lot on our plates, and like many, when we’re stressed, anxious, and have busy minds…our sleep suffers (as in, waking up at 4am and having difficulty falling back to sleep). And if you know me, you know this makes for a bad situation, because, similar to a child, I require 8 solid hours of sleep (+ constant snacks😊) in order to function at my best level. So clearly something had to be done to get our sleep schedule back to norm.
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been incorporating some new rituals and remedies to help us slow down and begin to enjoy higher-quality sleep- and they’ve definitely been helping! Whether you struggle with this same issue, or you just never feel well rested when you wake up in the morning (even after achieving your recommended hours), check out these tips and switch up your nightly routine to help you drift off to sleep feeling calm and relaxed (no sheep counting necessary).
TIP FOR GETTING A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP:
- Limit your caffeine intake and stop drinking by early to mid-afternoon: caffeine can be great to get you started in the morning, push you through a workout, and boost your energy, but it can also keep you up at night if you’ve had too much or consumed it too late in the day. Be aware of your caffeine intake and try to cut yourself off by 2pm.
- Shut off all “media” at least a half hour before bed: many studies recommend turning off devices like televisions, computers, and phones at least 1 to 2 hours before bed, but in the world we live in, that’s often unrealistic. Instead, aim to shut down at least 30 minutes prior to bed, and then go about your evening routine to settle in for the night.
- Find an evening routine that you enjoy and look forward to doing: make yourself a cup of chamomile or mint tea to help your body and mind relax, read a good book that helps quiet those racing thoughts, light some candles and take a bath, etc. Pick activities that you enjoy and that provide a little self-care to ease you into your evening.
- Use magnesium oil: magnesium is a mineral that induces a relaxed feeling in your body by helping your internal systems slow down and release tension, so that you can slow down and chill out as well. It also helps produce a nice sleepy feeling, which is perfect for bedtime. I recommend rubbing a few sprays of oil onto the bottom of your feet before bed. (Bonus: have your partner do it for a relaxing foot massage ;)).
- Develop an evening skin-care routine: a nice evening routine should include a little pampering and self-care. Use a luxurious facial cleanser, apply night moisturizer or oil, and maybe slather on some hand and foot cream. These little behaviors can add a calming and spa-like twist to your evening.
- Write it down: one of the best ways to calm those racing thoughts and help you let go is by writing down whatever is on your mind. Be it a to-do list, a work assignment, or a conversation you need to have, write it down to physically get it onto paper and therefore out of your head. This will clear up some extra space for peaceful thoughts and sleep.
- Create a gratitude list: while on the topic of writing things down, keeping a gratitude journal, and recording a few things you’re grateful for, can help shift your focus to positive and loving thoughts, which can then alter your morning mindset. Keep the journal on your night table, so it’s easy and convenient.
- Keep your house cool: the ideal bedroom temperature for a good night’s sleep is between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit, as your body’s own temperature drops as bedtime rolls around. So, cool down your space and snuggle in for a solid night of sleep.
- Practice breathing exercises and/or meditation: one of the best ways to settle down your body and mind is by bringing your awareness to your breath- or some other form of meditation that allows you to detach from your thoughts. One of my favorite breathing techniques is from Dr. Andrew Weil: the 4-7-8 breath, and it’s super simple. Inhale (through your nose) for a count of 4, hold the breath for a count of 7, exhale for a count of 8. Repeat this 3-5 times, focusing your full attention on your breath, and notice how you feel after (your welcome 😉).
- Take melatonin: this is basically a healthy and completely all-natural supplement that helps turn on sleep and sustain it all night long. When used in conjunction with these other tips, you will begin to experience a deep, solid night’s sleep, and wake up feeling well rested in the morning.
- Utilize white noise or a sound machine: putting on white noise at night helps to enhance a calm sleep space and soothe you into a peaceful sleep. And even better- you can download a free app on your phone and play it right from there. Many apps offer sounds other than white noise, so find your preference and allow it to lull you to sleep.
These tips should definitely help you slow down at night and create a positive and calm mind and environment for a good night’s rest.
Have any other awesome tips you want to share? Let me know in the comments!