There are some nights when you fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow and others when it feels like you didn’t sleep a wink. Life changes, it ebbs and it flows, and unfortunately our sleep often suffers as a result. Don’t let any left-over tasks from the day infringe on the sanctity of your sleep routine. Instead, try these five easy ways to destress before bedtime so you can wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face the day!
Prep for the Morning
As American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Finish each day and be done with it. Tomorrow is a new day.” If a long-list of to-dos is looming over your head, remind yourself that you have time to get to it tomorrow. Rather than focusing on what you didn’t get to today, set yourself up for tomorrow’s success. Put your keys, wallet and work bag in one place so you can easily locate them on your way out the door. If you take your lunch to work, make it the night before so you have one less thing to do in the morning. You can even go as far as picking out your outfit for the next day. Taking these simple steps toward a more productive morning will leave you feeling organized and relaxed when you go to sleep.
Take a Soothing Bath
Soaking in a warm bath or shower after a long day can help wash away stress and leave you feeling relaxed. For the ultimate at-home pampering experience, you can incorporate soothing scents like lavender, clary sage* or jasmine into your bath routine. While soaking in the tub is a great way for your muscles and mind to wind down, the abrupt rise in body temperature can also make you feel more alert. The trick is to make sure your body has enough time to cool down before you head to bed. This is because a lower body temperature sends a signal to your internal clock, or circadian rhythm, that it’s time to go to sleep. Shelby Harris, Director of Behavioral Sleep Medicine at New York’s Montefiore Medical Center, suggests waiting to lay down for about an hour and a half after bathing to ensure your body is cool, dry and ready for sleep.
Write in a Journal
Sometimes we’re physically ready for bed, but our brains refuse to “shut off.” If your mind and body aren’t on the same page when it comes to bedtime, try journaling. Offloading anxieties, worries and recurring thoughts onto paper can decrease cognitive arousal, rumination and worry so that you can fall asleep with ease, Psychology Today notes. So what should you write about? A study conducted by researchers from Baylor University and Emory University found writing very specific to-do lists for five minutes at bedtime proved very helpful in encouraging participants to fall asleep faster than usual. You can also write a list of any positive events that happened to you that day and why they made you happy. Keeping a list, or ‘gratitude journal’, like this can help you put negative emotions and stress to rest before you settle into bed.
Read a Book
Partaking in some fun, non-work related reading before bed can also help put you in a more positive state of mind. In fact, researchers at the University of Sussex found that reading before bed reduces stress levels by 68%, while listening to music, drinking tea and taking walks reduced stress levels by 61%, 54% and 42%, respectively. Participants in this study experienced slowed heart rates and eased muscle tensions after just six minutes of silent reading. Now comes the ultimate question. Should you read in bed? There are differing opinions on whether this is a good sleep habit. The American Sleep Association says that reading in bed may ‘associate the bed with wakefulness’ rather than rest. However, with the Ananda Adjustable Base Sleep System, you can easily adjust multiple positions on the bed to separate different stages in your bedtime routine. With the touch of a button on the Ananda remote (or the app on your smartphone), you can transition from an upright position while reading to a flat position once you’re ready for bed.
Do Some Light Stretching
You don’t need to be a master yogi to enjoy the benefits of yoga and mindful meditation, such as reduced stress and improved blood flow. You don’t even need a yoga matt—there are many stretches you can do in bed to attain a more restful sleep. Here are a few helpful poses.
- The Child’s Pose, in which you rest on top of your knees and stretch forward, can relax the muscles on the front of your body, stretch your thighs and reduce stress.
- The Winding Twist, in which you sit cross-legged and twist gently to each side, helps to stretch your spine and upper body.
- The Pigeon Pose works to loosen hips and glutes, and soothe tired legs.
Crafted to bring harmony to the soul through balance, energy and sleep, Ananda’s Pearl and Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattresses offers medium support that allows for light stretching in bed. The Adjustable Bases also help alleviate discomfort, such as restless legs, achy backs or sore necks, with its zero gravity, leg up and head up customizable sleep positions.
The next time the tides of life try to pull you into a sea of stress, remember that sleep is your lifeboat to stay afloat. Don’t put a hole in that boat by not getting enough rest. Instead, relax and set your sights on the horizon. A better tomorrow begins with a better night’s sleep, and a better night’s sleep begins with Ananda. To learn more about our cool-gel infused memory foam mattresses and adjustable bases with built-in massage features, click here.
Disclaimer: This blog is for suggested purposes only. Consult with your doctor before beginning any new stretching/exercise routines or utilizing essential oils.