How to Relax Before Sleep
Getting a good night's sleep may seem impossible when your mind is racing or you're lying in bed feeling like you'll never drift off. But by using some simple relaxation techniques into your pre-sleep routine, you can relax and improve your sleep hygiene In this blog post, we'll cover 10 simple yet effective tips to help you relax before going to bed so that sleeping becomes easier and more enjoyable!
Massage chairs are a convenient way to relax your mind and body
The first of our tips on how to relax before sleep is to get a massage. For this method, you can use a variety of ways to get your massage. Having a partner help you, using a portable massage device, or by using a massage chair, these are all great ways to get your massage. Massages work by increasing blood circulation throughout the body and releasing feel good hormones, which all work together to help you relax and get better sleep.
Warm Bath or shower
The first of our tips for how to relax before sleep is by taking a warm bath or shower. A tried and tested method, warm baths lower heart rate and blood pressure, and ironically, lower body temperature. They work by widening blood vessels, making it easier for your heart to pump blood and thereby lowering heart rate. The warm water then simultaneously transfers body heat away from the body and at the same time keeps us warm without the body having to do the work.
Write A Journal
Journals are excellent for relieving stress and relaxing
Although this is a much stigmatised activity for adults, all people benefit from keeping a diary and writing in it before they hit the hay. The secret to how writing in a journal can help you fall asleep is by letting you express all your thoughts and feelings down before they get out of control. Sleep can often be the only time we are left to our own thoughts, and reserving time to write in a journal lets you dedicate time in your day to let these thoughts come out of your mind. This then reduces stress and leads to improved sleep
Gentle Yoga & Stretching
Another big tip for how to relax before sleep is through gentle yoga and stretching. A great, low impact physical activity, gentle yoga and stretching promotes blood flow and circulation throughout the body. The slow and calm nature of this activity also relaxes your body and mind at the same time, so that you feel more relaxed before heading to sleep.
For people that struggle with mental health issues like stress or anxiety, deep breathing is a great management technique that is also perfect for relaxing before sleep. Taking slow, deep, even breaths lowers your heart rate and blood pressure, leaving you feeling more relaxed.
Meditating before bed relaxes the mind and better prepares you for sleep
Going hand in hand with yoga and stretching is meditation. One of the best ways for how to relax before sleep, meditation lets you have quiet time to yourself and forces your mind to relax itself.
This technique involves concentrating on your thoughts without wandering off to others, and accepting them without judgement. This type of meditation can take some practice to master, but gets easier with practice.
Body Scan Meditation
A body scan meditation is where you slowly concentrate on specific parts of your body and feel for any feelings, sensations or pains. How you scan your body is up to you, with selecting body parts at random being just as effective.
In this type of meditation, you use audio in the form of an instructor or audio recording and follow instructions to relax your body and mind. Many videos and apps are available for guided meditation, making it the perfect option for beginners looking to relax before bed.
Make a Regular Bedtime Routine
Regular sleeping times and routines let you relax and fall asleep easier
Bedtime routines include a set of activities that calm and relax your body, along with a consistent time for you to go to bed. A regular bedtime routine is great for your circadian rhythm, which is the body’s internal clock.
Part of your circadian rhythm is the sleep wake cycle, the pattern in which your brain relaxes to fall asleep and becomes alert to wake you up. Consistent bedtimes and routines make it easier for your internal clock to relax and sleep by giving it better control of melatonin release, and makes staying asleep easier.
What to Avoid
Using Electronics With Screens
A growing problem with our ability to get to sleep is the overuse of screens, specifically before bedtime. This includes TVs, computers, tablets and smartphones. The main issue with looking at these screens is how they emit blue light. The blue light that gets projected from these screens prevent our body from producing the sleep hormone melatonin, along with making our brains more alert.
The content consumed through these screens, such as videos or scrolling through social media, can also make our brains more active. To help you relax before sleep and regulate your circadian rhythm, we recommend to avoid looking at screens for 2 to 3 hours before heading to sleep. Using glasses with blue light filters and turning on blue light filter modes on your electronic devices also help.
Avoid drinking caffeine late in the day to get better sleep and avoid feeling tired in the morning
It goes without saying that caffeine will keep you awake at night and prevent you from being relaxed. Although you may feel like you need caffeine from feeling tired, whether it be through coffee, tea, or energy drinks, remember not to drink them close to bedtime. The half life of caffeine, or the halfway point to it being fully processed is about 5 hours depending on your tolerance, so it’s best not to consume any past the late afternoon.
Strenuous or Stressful Activities
For 2 to 3 hours before sleep, it is recommended to avoid any activities that are stressful for either your mind or body. This includes exercising, work activities, or engaging conversations. These activities release the stress hormone of cortisol, which decreases levels of the sleep hormone melatonin.
How To Relax Before Sleep
From meditation to avoiding caffeine, these 10 tips will help you on how to relax before sleep, even if you suffer from sleep disorders like insomnia. No matter what lifestyle you live, using these tips will help you to relax and get better sleep hygiene. And for more tips and tricks to help improve your health and wellbeing, head over the OSIM Australia blog!