We all claim that our bedroom is our comfort zone and relaxing haven. However, all our worries, pains and unwanted emotions do not magically go away that moment that we climb our bed. The ironic thing is, your anxiety is even magnified when we are about to fall asleep. Instead of making you feel relaxed and calm, these emotions will make you feel more stressed and scared.
This is the very reason why you need to find a way to turn off all these emotions so you can enjoy a better and more relaxing sleep. To help you achieve that, we have shared the different ideas on how to relax before bed.
The Tips and Tricks on How to Relax Before Bed
Here are some of the things that you can do to help you relax:
Enjoy a warm bath.
This is probably the first thing that came into your mind when thinking of the ways on how to relax before bed. This is because a warm bath can soothe your muscles and reduce your anxiety.
But please take note—use warm water only. If it is too hot, it will make you sweat which will cause the opposite effect on your body.
If you want it to be more relaxing, you can also pour a bit of lavender bath oil to your tub or use a face mask while you are at it. If you have time to spare and wish to splurge a bit, you can also light some candles and play soothing music.
This may seem like a cliché, and a lot of people think that there is no way that this trick would work. But it does! And there’s a scientific reason for it.
If you are already lying in your bed and stressful thoughts are already trying to creep in, try staring at the ceiling and count down from 60 (while you think of sheep jumping over a fence).
When you gaze upward, your parasympathetic nervous system is stimulated. As a result, your blood pressure levels are lowered, and your breathing is regulated. All of these results can make you feel calmer, more relaxed and ready for sleep.
Find a craft to do before you go back to sleep.
I know this may seem as if you are becoming like your grandma, but one of the tried and tested ways to relax before bed is to get crafty. This is because doing a craft project will take off your mind from work and all the other things that stress and overwhelm you. Aside from making you feel better, these activities can also help you become more creative and stimulate your brain.
There are plenty of projects that can help soothe your overworked mind. You just need to find what craft project relaxes you and take advantage of it. The key here is to try all the activities available to determine which one is the most suitable for you.
Cool down your brain.
Say what? According to research, cooling down the temperature of your brain can help you feel relaxed enough to go to sleep. Studies have shown that the reason why insomniacs find it hard to sleep is that their frontal lobes are overly active. They can combat this by lowering the brain temperature, so their frontal lobes can chill out (pun intended!). This is usually done by wearing ice pack or cranial cap against the head.
Perform some stretching exercises.
If you want to feel relaxed a few hours before you go to sleep, the best thing that you can do is to relax your muscles, and you can do that simply through stretching exercises. Stretching exercises are designed to ease tension in your muscles, causing them to relax. Moreover, these exercises also require controlled breathing which can lower down your blood pressure and ultimately, your stress levels.
One of the exercises that you can try is belly breathing which is easy to do. You can do that by putting one hand on the area under your ribs and your other hand on your chest. Afterward, take a deep breath through your nose and allow your belly to expand and push against your hand. But as you do so, you should refrain your chest from moving. Try to breathe out through your pursed lips. Your hand in your belly will go in, and you can use it to push all the air out of your belly.
To know what other stretching exercises you can try, watch this video:
Don’t drink alcohol before you sleep.
Many people have this notion that drinking alcohol can help your body relax. While it is true that alcohol can help your muscles relax, you should understand that this substance will prevent your body from enjoying deep sleep.
It will also increase your time in the REM Sleep. This is the sleep cycle wherein you will make more bodily movements have more dreams, and your pulse will get faster. In short, this is the type of sleep that will not put your body at rest. That is why when you wake up the next day after a long night of drinking, you feel more tired than refreshed.
Make your to-do list for the next day.
We often find it difficult to sleep at night because our mind is filled with all the things that we have to do the next day. To silence your mind, the best thing that you can do is create a list of everything that you need to accomplish (according to priority if you are OC like that). In this way, you can be able to free your mind of all your thoughts, and you can sleep peacefully for the rest of the night.
Try sleep-inducing drinks.
Instead of alcohol, the wiser thing to do is to consume sleep-inducing drinks before you go to bed. Some of these drinks are as follows:
– Chamomile Tea
This tea contains apigenin, a substance which calms your nervous system and makes you feel sleepy and relaxed.
– Coconut Water
Many people see this drink like an energy booster, but you will be surprised to know that it can also have relaxing effects on your body. This is because coconut contains high amounts of magnesium and potassium which can aid in muscle relaxation. It also has B-vitamins which can help relieve stress.
– Chia Seed Water
Yes, chia is high in fiber, but it is much more than that. You see, this power food also contains tryptophan, an amino acid which can help improve your mood and regulate your sleep.
If you wish to take advantage of it, you can mix 3 tablespoons of chia seeds to one cup of water. If you want to add flavor to this drink, you can add a cup of juice of your choice too. Make sure to let the chia seeds bloom (double in size) before drinking it.
– Almond Milk
The last sleep-inducing drink in our list is almond milk. Even though this is a non-dairy milk option, it still contains a good amount of calcium which can stimulate the production of melatonin in the body.
Jot down all your worries.
I know this may seem counterproductive. After all, you want to relax before bed and not think about all your problems, right? But whether you like it or not, all your worries will haunt you at the end of the night and even worse—while you are already lying in bed. The best thing that you can do to avoid it tackles them head-on.
Instead of running away from them, think about everything that is stressing you and write them down on a piece of paper. If you already got a solution for some of these problems, you may want to write them down too. Not only will doing so free your mind—it can also help you assure yourself that you are doing something about these issues and they can surely be resolved in the future.
Clean up a bit.
Nothing is more relaxing than lying in a clean bed with a fresh set of linens. But if you wish to have a restful sleep, you should do more than just clean your room. It would be best if you will put everything in your home in order.
You can put away the dishes, get your work clothes ready, place everything you need (keys, wallet, etc.) in one spot. In this way, your mind will be free of unnecessary clutter and worries when you go to bed.
Do meditation before bed.
Meditation before bed is one of the most effective ways to relax. This is because meditation offers plenty of benefits including pain management, stress reduction, enhanced concentration, and better sleep.
The act of meditation also requires you to free your mind of the things that are stressing or overwhelming you.
Our most stressful thoughts surface at night. This is because the silence is deafening. If your mind is starting to get clouded with your doubts and fears, you can try to fight them off by focusing on positive things.
One good way to combat your negative feelings is to recite positive affirmations. Think about the things that you love about yourself, the good things that happened today and all the amazing plans that you are looking forward to in the future.
Once you start to starve those negative thoughts, your mind will be put to ease, making it easier for you to sleep well.
Write in your journal.
Is your mind still full of thoughts of the things that happened all throughout the day? Do you feel afraid/ angry/ excited/ anxious but you do not have anyone to tell it to? Or perhaps you feel embarrassed to tell other people about what you feel?
If you have pent up emotions, it does not come as a surprise that you will not feel relaxed come night time. You can quickly address this by letting go of everything you feel by writing it in your journal. Put everything into writing so you can finally get the shuteye that you need.
Perform mental exercises.
If you wish to relax, you need to distract yourself from all the worries that you have in life. The key to this is to find other things that you can focus on. In this case, mental exercises are recommended. One of the most popular mental exercises is to challenge yourself to think of fruits or vegetables that start with a particular letter. You will be too busy to think of items that you will forget all about your problems.
Eventually, you will get tired and start to drift off to dreamland.
Play some tunes.
When the night is silent, you will start to get bothered by the thoughts that you do not want to deal with. As a result, you will be more anxious and have difficulty sleeping.
If you want to soothe your emotions, you can always turn to music. Try playing light classical or instrumental music. You can also look for meditation playlists in Spotify. All the songs there are created to help you feel calmer and more relaxed.
With all the financial woes, demanding work, challenging studies and relationship struggle that we are all experiencing, it would be really hard for us to feel relaxed when we lie in our bed at night. Our to-do list, financial obligations, fears, and doubts will haunt us at night, and the only way that we can free ourselves from them, prepare ourselves for sleep and enjoy a restful slumber is to find a way on how to relax before bed.