They say eight hours is the recommended amount of sleep that you should be getting each night. However, your mind and body don’t always allow you to get that much sleep. If your mind is filled with anxiety caused by the things going on your life, or if your body is full of energy, you’ll end up tossing and turning all night long. So the next time that you have trouble falling asleep, try one of these strategies to help you relax before bedtime.
Pick an activity that will help you relax just before it’s time to go to bed. If worrying about your busy schedule is causing you to toss and turn, try to clear your mind with mediation and relaxation techniques. Maybe a bit of television or some light reading will do the trick. Just be sure to avoid anything that might be too stimulating, like reading a new thriller novel or watching your favorite TV show – these can keep you awake instead of put you to sleep.
Related: 5 Ways Technology is Ruining Your Sleep
When you’re worried about your job, finances, family or any big issue, you may find yourself lying awake at night thinking about it. To prevent those thoughts from disturbing your sleep, give them some attention during the day by writing them down. Write out why you are worried and any possible solutions that you can come up with. This simple brainstorming may help you feel better, particularly if you can come up with some rational explanations or actions that you can take. Just be sure to jot down your problems way before bedtime so you don’t end up thinking about them when it’s time to go to sleep.
You may not realize it, but a bed in a dark room isn’t always a healthy sleeping environment. A blinking light from a laptop, street noise outside your window, or a room that is completely in shambles can have an effect on your sleep. Just think of how easy it is to fall asleep in a nice hotel room. These places have taken the time to create the perfect sleeping environment; you should do the same thing in your own bedroom. Eliminate flashing lights, clear up the mess around your bed and invest in a noise cancelling machine or just use an electric fan to create white noise.
Counting sheep to help induce sleep is an old tactic, but one that works. You don’t have to actually count sheep, though. You can count the number of groceries in your pantry or try to think of as many cars as you can that begin with the letter “A.” In fact, any kind of brain exercise will work, whether it’s reciting a poem or singing a song. The goal is just to shift the focus of mind away from your worries.
If it’s your body and not your mind that’s always racing before bedtime, tire it out with some light exercise such as yoga, walking or stretching. Make sure you exercise a few hours before you go to sleep, however. This way, your body will be tension-free before bedtime but it won’t be overstimulated.
A bubble bath before bedtime is one of the best ways to get a child to sleep, so why wouldn’t it work for you? Bubble baths are relaxing at any age and the warm water will have you ready to fall asleep in no time. To make the experience even more relaxing, light some candles and add some essential oils like lavender or orange essence to the water.
Cleaning helps some people relax, so if there’s a part of the house that’s a bit cluttered, clean it up a few hours before bedtime. Again, the goal is to shift your focus off of your worries and onto a mundane task, such as reorganizing. For many people, cleaning up after a long day of work is a source of stress, so by tackling the problem, even if it’s only a little bit at a time, you’ll feel better just by getting some of it done.
If you have a lot to do tomorrow and you’re worried about accomplishing it all, create a mental checklist in your mind before you go to bed. Think of all that you have to do and how you plan to accomplish it so when you wake up in the morning, you’ll be ready to tackle it all. However, if thinking of all that you have to do stresses you out, create a checklist of all of the things that you have already accomplished today or in the past few days.
You probably like to have a snack in the evening, but what you eat may be keeping you up at night. Foods and beverages that contain sugar and caffeine are definitely off limits as they’ll cause you to crash – and wake-up – sometime during the night. Fatty foods won’t digest as well and will most likely end up on your stomach, hips or thighs, which will cause you more stress as you struggle to fit into your skinny jeans in the morning. The best type of bedtime snack is one that contains protein because it will keep you full and satiated throughout the night.