We live in a stressful world. Between the challenges of work and our personal lives, finding the time to sleep, let alone restfully sleep, is becoming harder and harder. We stay up later and later each night trying to accomplish all of our tasks then wake up early to start our day all over again. Whether we have children to get off to school or a 9 am board meeting, there is little time to find relaxation and ultimately to get the most relaxing sleep possible. Here are eight tips for relaxing and getting most restful sleep you can:
Create a Routine
One of the best ways to get your body relaxed and your mind ready for bed is to create a bedtime routine. Take about half an hour to an hour before bed to start your process of winding down. Change into your pajamas, read a little, or maybe put on some light music. Your bedtime routine should become the time to just decompress from the day and focus on yourself.
Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
You might think it makes sense to drink a glass of wine before bed; it certainly makes you tired. Resist! Alcohol is a depressant which theoretically should help you sleep, but really alcohol makes you sleep less restfully and can actually cause insomnia later in the night, according to WebMD.
Caffeine should also be avoided for obvious reasons – it is a stimulant and will keep you awake. It is best not to have caffeine at least four hours before you want to sleep, but six hours is ideal for the best rest and relaxation.
Use Essential Oils/Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is great way to relax before bed, and in fact, there are several oils that are believed to promote relaxation and sleep. If you’re seeking oils to promote relaxation, look for chamomile, jasmine or rose. A fantastic oil to promote sleep is lavender.
Whatever oil or oils you choose, make sure you enjoy the scent. If you choose oils just because they are supposed to do certain things, but you don’t actually like the scent, you are really not going to be able to relax. Not only can you use essential oils in an oil diffuser but they are great additions to a bath or diluted and lightly sprayed on your linens.
Take a Bath
If you are short on time or really just need to get clean, showers can be the most efficient way (and also relaxing in their own right), but taking the time to soak in a hot bath can be extremely effective at making you feel relaxed enough for a sweet night of sleep. To enhance your bath even further, play some soft music, light some candles, and combine those essential oils with some Epsom salt.
Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate and it helps to alleviate muscle aches and pains along with reducing swelling. Add about two cups of Epsom salt to your bath and sit in it for at least fifteen minutes for the perfect soak.
Turn Off Your Phone
We’re all dependent on our phones. Not only do they provide us with all of the information we need at a single glance, but they’ve also become our lifelines to the world. It’s extremely tempting to keep our phones in our pockets or within arm’s reach all the time, and that includes at night — but the worst possible thing that you can do is check your phone before bed. Phones (as well as televisions and other electronics) provide light that tells your brain to be awake, and that’s the exact opposite of what you want at bedtime. Aim to turn off your phone or at least put it up about half an hour before you want to go to bed, so you get the best night of sleep possible.
Make Your Bedroom a Haven
Make sure you are using your bedroom only for sleep and intimacy. Where you lay your head should become a place of rest and relaxation, and not stress, so if possible, avoid working and other activities that are not resting. It might be very tempting to work in your bedroom where you can get comfortable, but ultimately, it removes the haven effect of having a place just for rest.
Keeping your bedroom for two purposes will help create an association in your mind with relaxing. You should also make sure to have the best mattress, a comfortable neck pillow (here’s a list of top picks from The Sleep Advisor) , and the right bedding to make sure that it’s the perfect environment for you to sleep soundly.
Read or Do a Puzzle
Reading is a great way to escape from your day, but if you’re going to read before bed look for something lighter and not a gripping mystery. The point is to relax your body and mind, not stay up until 5 am because you just can’t put a good book down. If reading isn’t your thing, consider playing sudoku or doing a word search or crossword puzzle.
We all have worries and anxiety which can often prevent us from relaxing. We are worried about everything we have to do the next day and just how we’re going to accomplish it all. Consider making a list of all the things weighing on your mind or the things you have to do.
Writing them down will get them out of your head and in the morning you do not have to worry about where you have to start. It best not to do this right before bed, but maybe an hour or two before.
By following these easy tips and having better sleep, you’ll soon notice that it changes other aspects of your life — everything from your mood, to relationships, to performance at work. You’ll be improving the three key areas of life, according to Woman Around Town.
The best part is that because your life has become more stress-free, it will be easier for you to fall asleep in the future, and the cycle of positivity will just continue.
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