Getting quality sleep is one of the best things you can do for your health. However, an article on Huffpost found that some aspects of your bedtime routine — such as exercising, looking at the news, and eating a full meal — may be preventing you from doing so. A relaxing bedtime routine should comprise of activities that calm your mind and are easy on the body. This is especially important during these uncertain times when it’s more difficult to get a good night’s rest. Here are some tips to create a relaxing bedtime routine to calm your anxiety.
1. Take a warm shower.
Cold showers wake you up, but the opposite is also true. Research listed on Quartz informs that the body relaxes better when its temperature is low. When you take a warm shower, it brings the heat from your body’s core to the surface, causing a drop in internal temperature. If you time your shower right, around one to two hours before bedtime, your body will be much more inclined to rest.
2. Drink a glass of milk.
Milk contains tryptophan, an amino acid that creates more melatonin — the hormone responsible for sending you to sleep. It’s better if you drink it warm, too, for the same reasons why warm showers help you relax. The closer your beverage is to whole milk, the more tryptophan it contains. But if you’re lactose intolerant or worried about the extra calories, then coconut or almond milk are great alternatives.
3. Stay away from your phone.
Your smartphone might be a big reason why you can’t fall asleep immediately. These devices emit a blue light, which prevents your body from producing melatonin. Reading the news before going to bed can also lead to distracting thoughts or even anxiety — making it even harder to fall asleep. If you find it difficult to part with your phone, ‘How to Break Up With Your Phone’ by Parsley Health suggests banning the device from your bedroom entirely. This way, you can limit the distractions in the room, allowing you to tuck yourself in and tune out.
4. Apply some essential oils.
Your sense of smell is directly connected to the part of your brain that handles emotions. As such, if something smells good, your body ends up feeling good, too. This is why one of our 17 Tips to Create the Ultimate Sleep Environment is applying essential oils, like lavender, right before bed. Apply a small amount directly on your skin, particularly on your wrists or feet. Then, add two to three drops into a diffuser. The smell will enter your body either way, causing you to relax, drift off and calm your anxiety.
5. Play some music.
Music isn’t just delightful to listen to. They also have a direct effect on the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing your body to calm down. Thrive Global’s post on ‘Soothing Sleep Songs to Relax and Unwind to Before Bed’ recommends making a nighttime playlist filled with your favorite songs to help you relax. Some tracks to consider are those that evoke strong feelings of nostalgia, like Return to Innocence by Enigma, classical tunes like Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven, or ambient nature sounds like View from My Window by Hiroshi Yoshimura.
In times like these, it’s normal to feel restless and needing something to calm your anxiety. As a final tip, if you don’t fall asleep within 20 minutes of keeping your eyes shut, then you can do another relaxing thing for half an hour (like read or meditate) before trying again. It’s never a good idea to force yourself to sleep, as worrying will only keep you up longer.