A solid night of sleep is a rare thing these days as worries, news and stress keep our minds active well into the wee hours. That said, we need our sleep to function properly, to help keep our stress levels under control and to strengthen our immune systems.
Tips to Prepare Your Body and Mind for Sleep
- Avoid caffeine – Avoid caffeine within at least 5 hours of your bedtime, if not more.
- Practice mindfulness – Try pre-bedtime yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises.
- Shut off the screens – Give your mind and body a break from the light and stimulation.
- Sip herbal tea – Chamomile is always a bedtime classic, but peppermint or fennel are also soothing.
- Avoid alcohol – It may make you feel sleepy, but it reduces the length and quality of your rest.
- Don’t be hungry or full – Avoid eating too much before bed, but if you’re hungry, have something light so a growling belly won’t keep you up.
- Have a hot bath or shower – Warm water eases the muscles and after you leave the water, you’ll cool down, which naturally promotes sleepiness.
- Give yourself a massage – Apply a moisturizer to your freshly washed skin, taking time to give some of your major muscles a gentle massage to help relax them.
- Sleep in a cool, dark room – Being slightly cool helps you to sleep better, as does limiting any light exposure.
- Turn the clock away from you – Stop checking the time. It only makes sleeplessness worse.
- Do a body scan – Get settled in bed, get comfortable, shut your eyes and start at the crown of your head. Focus on every part of your body individually, slowly checking in and relaxing it more with each exhale you take. Access and release each muscle to help promote further total-body relaxation.
- Count B-I-R-Ds – Forget the sheep. Here’s a different counting trick. Start with the letter “B” and count all the words you can think of that start with that letter. Move on to “I” and do the same. Most people are asleep before they reach the letter “D”.
- Visualize yourself as asleep – Shut your eyes and picture yourself drifting into a deep and restful sleep. Pay attention to the details of how peaceful you feel.
Bonus bedtime tip: If you’re still awake after about 20 minutes, get up, walk slowly around, read a book in another room until you feel sleepy again, then try again.