7 Ways to Relax and De-stress Before Bed

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There is nothing more beautiful than a good night’s sleep. You know that when you haven’t had one in a while. Unfortunately, that include a large number of Americans.

According to the CDC, insufficient sleep is considered a public health problem. In fact, it’s estimated that 50-70 millions adults in the U.S. have sleep or wakefulness disorder. And 65% average six hours and 27 minutes of sleep per hour, which is less than the recommended 7-8 hours.

Sleep is essential for your body to be at its best and for your mind to be clear and focused. If you have difficulty sleeping, then you may notice other parts of your life suffering. In one survey, 38% of people admitted to unintentionally falling asleep during the day at least once during the previous month.

The best way to a good night’s sleep is to find ways to relax and de-stress before hitting the sheets.

Here are seven tips to help you unwind de-stress before bed, so that you can achieve a great night’s sleep.

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1. Exercise

It may sound counter-intuitive but exercising before winding down for the night has many benefits. Not only will it tire you out, but exercise also helps to produce feel good neurotransmitters that can promote calm and well-being, as well as de-stress your body. It’s a good way to get ready to wind down.

2. Turn Off the Electronic Devices

Buzzing, beeping, blinking and flashing light are all ways to promote alertness. Electronic devices are a part of our world these days and they are not going to go away. In fact, over 68% of adults in the U.S. have a smartphone today, compared to just 35% in 2011.

That does not mean you have to be attached to them 24/7. Especially when you’re trying to sleep. The blue lights and brightness of your phone, tablets and similar devices directly affect your ability to sleep. Here’s a video that goes a bit more in-depth into why blue lights inhibit your brain’s ability to “shut off” and de-stress.

At least an hour before bed, turn off and put away all electronic devices so that your overstimulated mind can have a break. This is a sure fire way to help you wind down before bed.

3. Make Your Bedroom a Sacred Space

To promote calm, you should not have any other activities going on in your room beyond whatever happens in bed. This means you should not have a desk, computer, television or exercise equipment in your room. Make sure the space is tidy—no dirty laundry scattered everywhere. No papers waiting for your quick perusal before sleep. All of these things are reminders of all of the things that are yet to be done. If your mind is focused on them it will not be surrendering to a restful state.

Instead, keep your room tidy. Have light blocking curtains on the windows and dimming lights. Make your room and home a stress-free environment that invites rest.

4. Have a Night Time Schedule

Set a schedule for yourself and stick to it. Your body has an internal clock and falls into natural rhythms. When you go to bed and get up at roughly the same time every day you help your body to develop a rhythm so that when it is time to wind down, you can feel it in your body and will be more inclined to rest.

5. Develop Soothing Bedtime Routines

Not just having a schedule, but having a ritual or routine is another way to signal to your mind and body when it is time to relax and get ready for bed. Here are a few popular choices for your night time routine to help you relax:

  • Take a Bath – A warm bath or shower can soothe tired muscles and according to the Mayo Clinic, just raising your body temperature can have a calming effect. When this becomes a part of your nightly routine, you may be surprised how it can promote rest.
  • Drink a Warm Beverage – The warmth that helps to calm you does not necessarily have to come from the outside of your body. Many people report a warm beverage like herbal tea, warm milk or hot cocoa—no coffee or caffeinated teas—brings on a sense of calm.
  • Listen to Music – Your favorite metal band would probably not be the best choice here. Go for some classical or easy listening music to help melt your stress away.

6. Herbs and Supplements

There are certain natural remedies that can help you wind down after a stressful day. If you’re looking for an herb or supplement to add to your routine, try one of these:

  • Valerian  – Valerian helps to relieve stress and anxiety as well as the pain of a tension headache.
  • Chamomile – Can be taken as a tea to during your nighttime routine.
  • Passion Flower – Passionflower is said to be good for soothing stress and especially for helping with insomnia.
  • Magnesium – Sometimes a magnesium deficiency can be to blame for a difficulty relaxing. When in doubt, try a little magnesium.

7. Start Journaling

Journaling has become extremely popular in the past few years. Whether you’re a planner that just likes to jot down ideas, or you need a private way to vent, writing in a journal is good way to de-stress before bed.

You don’t have to write down your deepest and darkest fears. You can sum up what happened in the day, how you feel or lingering thoughts that might otherwise keep your mind wandering all night. Grab yourself a nice moleskine notebook and write away.

If you aren’t getting a good night’s sleep, stress and difficulty relaxing may be at the root of your problem. Trying some of these suggestions to de-stress before bed may help you get the rest you need.

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Additional Resources

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About the author

I'm an avid reader and love anything to do with mindfulness and mental health!

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