The following 7 tips will help you relax before you go to bed, so you naturally sleep restfully and start each and every day at your fullest potential.
Routine is your best friend
Develop a set pre-sleep schedule of activities. Let your brain know it is time to shut down. This means limiting stressful thoughts and outward influences before bedtime. “Wind down” by consistently reading for 1 hour before bedtime. Your brain will eventually recognize that 60 minutes of reading in the evening is a signal that sleep is approaching.
Same time every day
You go to work at the same time, eat lunch and dinner about the same time, and have several consistent daily routines. When you go to bed and awaken at the same time consistently, you program your internal clock to shut down your busy brain and wake up on a given schedule. Putting your sleep pattern on autopilot will help you relax and you don’t have to anxiously try to force yourself to sleep.
Exercise but not too late
Exercise and other forms of physical exertion immediately deliver a boost of energy. Soon after, your body tells you that you need rest and recuperation. Exercising in the evening, 2 to 3 hours before you go to bed, signals your brain for rest and recovery, rather than a stressful “how will I go to sleep” mentality.
Start counting sheep or … apples
There is a good reason the sheep counting strategy works to help you go to sleep. What you are actually doing is replacing stressful and worrisome thoughts with a simple and boring, repetitive mental exercise. You can accomplish the same by thinking of objects or foods whose names start with each letter of the alphabet. Your brain only focuses on one thing at a time, in this instance a simple mental exercise instead of stress and anxiety.
A moment of gratitude
Before falling asleep, think about all the reasons you have to be grateful. It is hard to be anxious and stressed out when you realize you have so many things to be thankful for. Praying can also be a very valuable tool in creating calm before sleep. Doing this right before falling asleep implants positive thoughts on your nighttime brain.
Mindful meditation focuses on the present moment. You concentrate on your breathing and your present state. Give no room for focusing on past problems or future issues which have yet to arrive. Lifelong practitioners of meditation can even slow down their heart rate and fall to sleep quickly, enjoying a healthy night’s rest.
Clear the chaos
Ideally, the place where you sleep should have minimal distraction so no consumer electronics, cell phones, MP3 players in the bedroom, please. The fewer pieces of furniture in your bedroom the better. As you are preparing for bed, your mind unconsciously takes in all of the distractions and objects in your environment. This can negatively affect your ability to fall asleep.