When all you want to do is relax and get ready to fall asleep but your mind is racing, it can feel like you’ll never fall asleep. There are things you can do to combat that restlessness, though. Here are seven tips for relaxing before bed.
Reading is a great, simple way to calm down at the end of the day. Ideally, you can try reading a physical book in order to avoid screens, but reading, in general, is good for relaxation. It’s a quiet, sedentary, solitary activity, which can help you wind down after a long day of work or other strenuous or stressful activity. Fiction may be a good option if you’re trying to forget your worries for a while. Poetry can provide soothing repetition
2. Try Calming Aids
A CBDfx tincture, oil or capsule can be a helpful relaxation aid. Some people who take CBD say it has a calming effect and can help them relax when they’re ready to go to bed or fall asleep. Research suggests that it does help mitigate insomnia and may help improve overall sleep quality as well. If you would prefer a calming aid that doesn’t require ingestion, you can try aromatherapy. Scents like lavender and jasmine have calming effects and you can get these benefits via diffusers, candles or scented creams.
Meditation can sometimes be difficult to grasp, but it can be a very rewarding method of relaxation once you get the hang of it. Start out with guided meditations or scanning meditations. These have clear directions and sometimes clear end goals for you to latch onto. For example, in a body scan meditation, you focus on each area of your body and your awareness of it, systematically, from the head down or from the toes up. Progressive relaxation builds on the body scan. As you focus on each body part, pay attention to any tension you’re holding there and manually relax it. You can also practice meditative movement in the form of tai chi, qigong, or yoga.
4. Make a Hot Drink
Sleep researchers aren’t certain why hot drinks help people relax, but there is enough observational evidence to prove that they do. Popular choices for bedtime drinks include warm milk with a little honey, hot water with lemon and herbal teas, particularly chamomile. Take care to avoid any drinks that include caffeine or alcohol. Caffeine is likely to prevent you from sleeping and alcohol can lower sleep quality.
5. Try Breathing Exercises
There are a few different breathing exercises you can try. These are similar to meditation, but may be easier to do for those unused to meditation due to their relatively straightforward instructions. One common choice is 4-7-8 breathing, where you inhale for four seconds through your nose, hold it for seven and exhale for eight as if you were blowing out candles. Another, simpler option is diaphragmatic breathing. The goal here is to focus on breathing through your belly rather than through your chest. It deepens your breath and focuses your mind on only your breath.
6. Take a Hot Bath
Hot baths can trigger your body’s natural cooldown cycle, which experts think mimics the temperature fluctuations that occur during your sleep-wake cycle. This means if you take a hot bath, or a hot shower for that matter, in the evening, you’re more likely to fall asleep more quickly. If you prefer morning showers, don’t feel like you need to incorporate this trick into your nightly routine. This could be something you do only during periods of high stress, such as right before a work evaluation or when you have a lot going on at once.
7. Listen to Calm Music or Sounds
Many people find white noise or soft music helps them sleep better and feel calmer. You can also use these types of sounds to mask other, more jarring, or inconsistent noises. If you live in a city, for example, you can try listening to ocean or woodland ambiance. If you prefer more consistent sounds, try white noise generators, falling rain ambiance, or a fan. Some people prefer music. The best kinds of music to try are softer, slower songs, like slow instrumentals played on instruments like acoustic guitars or pianos.
Not every method of relaxation will work for everyone. Try a few out and see what works for you.