How To Relax Before Bed: Get Better Sleep TONIGHT
In our quest to get a better night of sleep, it’s not just what we do once we are in bed that counts but also what we do before we go to bed. If we are relaxed before we go to bed, it’s easier to fall asleep. Having a set of options for how to relax before bed can really help you out.
I’ve put together seven ways you can relax before you go to bed, including some you can try tonight without needing to buy or have anything extra in your house. Some nights you might want to try one of them, others you might do several. I’ve also given you an estimate of how long each thing will take to do.
1. Drink A Delicious Cup Of Herbal Tea
Drinking a hot cup of tea is soothing for lots of people: how many times have you heard people offer to make someone a cup of tea when they’re upset? A cup of herbal tea is something that is calming, relaxing, and can even help with any sweet cravings you may experience at night if you choose a fruit flavored one.
There is a huge range of delicious herbal teas available for you to try. Get one that is caffeine and sugar free, you don’t want to be adding any stimulants into your system and undoing the relaxing you’re trying to do with your hot cup of happiness!
Some of my favorites include berry flavored fruit teas, or sleepy blends that contain ingredients such as chamomile.
Time required: 2-5 minutes to brew your tea, as long as you like to drink it
2. Take A Shower Or Relax In The Bath
Washing the day away is a great way to start feeling relaxed before bed. A soak in a hot bath can help soothe weary muscles and ease tension. It’s also a really nice way to pamper yourself if you can have a bath with some bath salts or candles around you (be fire safe of course!) A bath tends to be more effective than a shower, because you would sit in a bath for longer.
It sounds kind of strange, but having a hot shower or bath can also help you cool down for bed, which helps us sleep better.
The reason for this is that while you are drying yourself off, your body temperature tends to drop – even if you don’t notice it. Our body temperature naturally drops a little as we fall asleep so having a relaxing bath or shower will kick start that process. Research suggests it’s best if you take your bath about 90 minutes before you go to bed.
Time required: 5 minutes for a quick blast shower, as long as you like for a soothing bath (at least 20 minutes is best)
The health benefits of meditation are becoming more and more widely known and it’s something that is being taken up by more and more people. Apps such as HeadSpace and videos on YouTube have made meditation accessible and easy to try for everyone.
The main thing about meditation is that it helps calm your mind and reduce any stress you’re carrying around from the day. It’s well known that it’s hard to fall asleep when you’re stressed so it’s easy to see that meditation could be a great way to relax yourself before going to bed.
The amazing thing about meditation is you don’t even need to do it before you go to bed. You can do it any time you’re feeling stressed because as soon as you can reduce or remove that stress, you’re setting yourself up for a better sleep! So meditation might be something you like to build into your evening routine as something to do before bed, or at any given moment throughout the day when you have the opportunity.
The most simple way to begin with meditation is to try out some mindfulness meditation, which is where you purely focus on what is happening in your body. HeadSpace has some great meditations you can try for free, where you are guided through exactly what to do. You can try them here (not an affiliate link, just a really helpful tool). If you want guided meditations that can actually help you fall asleep, I’ve got a whole article about those which you can read here.
Time required: at least 10 minutes
As we go about our day, tension builds up in our neck, shoulders and back. This usually happens without us even noticing it, and we just go about our lives carrying the tension around with us. An increasingly popular tool to help ease that tension is an acupressure mat.
An acupressure mat is a short mat with sets of small spikes built into it, designed to be like a mini acupuncture session. It works by stimulating your pressure points and increasing your blood circulation in those areas. This in turn helps relieve stress and tension and helps you relax.
I’ll be the first to admit that lying on a bed of spikes doesn’t sound like the most relaxing thing you could do! I was so curious about these mats that I had to buy one for myself and my husband to try. It definitely feels pretty strange and even a bit sore when you first lie down on it, but I did notice that my shoulders felt better after (I carry a lot of tension in my shoulders, I always seem to hold them up around my ears) and I felt very relaxed! Needless to say it didn’t take long before my husband and I were fighting over who got to use it closest to bed time. We got one very similar to this, and I’ll probably buy my husband another for Christmas so we don’t have to share any more!
Time required:10-20 minutes
5. Do Yoga
Yoga is a nice and gentle way to unwind your body before you go to bed. If you’re a bit freaked out by the idea of using an acupressure mat but want to do something physical to help relieve any tension you’ve built up across the day, yoga will work well for you. Yoga also helps to reduce stress, so it works double duty to relax you for bed.
Done right, bedtime yoga is a gentle exercise that will relax your body and help it prepare for sleep. I wouldn’t recommend anything too vigorous as doing hard exercise before bed can have the opposite effect and keep you awake!
Here is a seven minute yoga sequence from one of my favorite yoga instructors. It’s specifically designed to help you unwind before going to bed.
Time required: 7-20 minutes
6. Read A Book
Tune out from your TV, tablet or phone, and get some relaxing entertainment from a good old fashioned book before bed. Screens from our devices are known to emit a type of light which disrupts our sleep so it’s best to turn them off at least a couple of hours before we go to bed. The evening is a time when people like to unwind and be entertained, so having a good book on hand is an excellent way to relax before bed.
For as long as I can remember I’ve always read before going to bed. It’s nice to carve out a little piece of time just for me, to relax and enjoy being transported into the world of the book. You could multi task here, and take your book to the bath with you.
Time required: as much or as little as you like
Writing in a journal before you go to bed is another way to help reduce your stress levels, which will promote better sleep. If you’ve got lots of thoughts and emotions swirling around in your head from the day, or you’re feeling anxious about what tomorrow is going to bring, then writing those things down on paper can help immensely.
Being able to see the words on paper rather than having them swirling around in your head should immediately help you feel calmer and less stressed. When I worked in a stressful job in a busy hospital before I started this website, I kept a journal by my bedside and would write a few things in it every night. It was never a lot, but just taking five minutes to write down anything that was causing me stress really helped me sleep better. So I highly recommend giving journaling a try as it worked well for me personally.
Journaling could go hand in hand with meditation if you’re looking to reduce stress or you might want to try one or the other.
Time required: about five minutes, but as long as you need to write down all your thoughts and feelings
Let me know in the comments if any of these seven relaxing things work for you. Do you have another night time relaxation technique you use to wind down at night? Let me know about those too!