These mindful pre-bedtime rituals will help your body prepare for high-quality rest and recuperation.
The National Institute of Health has reported that over 50 million adults suffer from full-blown sleep disorders, and many more face related problems.
I’ve struggled with sleep issues myself and will be the first to admit that they are no walk in the park. Insufficient sleep affects every aspect of my life–I wake up feeling groggy and unrested, bloated, mentally foggy, and basically unfit to engage in everyday activities.
No one wants to walk around feeling like a zombie, but sometimes it feels inevitable. Sleep problems are tough to tackle–especially if you forego “quick-fix” solutions like prescription sleeping aids. That doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to a life of bloodshot eyes and caffeine dependency, but you should be patient when trying to regulate your sleep cycle.
I recommend the following pre-bedtime rituals to get yourself in a restful mindset before bed. These tips are relatively easy to sustain and will assist you on your journey to a better night’s sleep.
1. Turn off your phone, TV, and computer a few hours before bed (or at the very least, get a blue-light blocker). Screen light suppresses melatonin, making it harder for you to actually fall asleep once your head hits the pillow.
2. Drink a date shake. This tasty Ayurvedic recipe is rich in tryptophan (a natural sleep aid) and carbohydrates, which calm the central nervous system.
1 cup almond milk
2 Medjool dates
Pinch of cinnamon
Blend all ingredients on high speed
Warm on stovetop and serve
3. Write down a to-do list for the next few days. Getting your obligations off your mind and onto paper will keep you from obsessing over them as you try to drift off. There’s nothing worse than a brain on overdrive when all you want to do is rest.
4. Pop a valerian root supplement. This herb acts as a very mild sedative which can calm both your body and mind in preparation for bedtime.
5. Dab on a bit of lavender oil. Research suggests the aroma may increase slow-wave sleep and overall relaxation.
6. Do some gentle stretching.
Knees to chest
Legs up the wall
7. Follow with a bit of self-massage. If your muscles are tight or sore, you will have a hard time getting comfortable in bed and may find yourself tossing and turning through the night.
8. Read something interesting but not overly stimulating. You want your text of choice to help you unwind. It should captivate you without exciting the brain so much that you become hyperactive.
9. Practice deep breathing as one more way to calm the nervous system and boost digestion. (Healthy digestion is an integral part of a healthy sleep cycle–it’s hard to rest with a stomach full of food waiting to be metabolized.)
10. Turn off the lights before midnight (or ideally a bit earlier). 10 pm to 5 am are the hours in which your circadian rhythm is at it’s lowest point (i.e. the best hours to get quality shut-eye).
Now, stop reading this post, shut off your computer, and enjoy a good night’s sleep.
Do you have a relaxing pre-betime ritual? Share your tips for getting a good night’s rest in the comments below.
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Photos:: Nomao Saeki via Unsplash, Ruby Blossom via Flickr