If you know you need to be tucked up in bed by 10pm, rushing around getting things done until 9.55pm won’t do your sleep habits any favours.
Try to aim for at least 30 minutes (ideally, one hour) with no television, computer, smartphones or exercise. Giving yourself a break one hour before sleep allows your mind to shift from the day and start to relax.
Develop a relaxing ritual
If you find it difficult to push the daily stress aside, try slowing down with a routine that promotes relaxation. Run a hot bubble bath or sip on a warm cup of chamomile tea while listening to some of your favourite music.
Alternatively, you could practise some deep breathing, meditation or slow stretches to prepare your body for rest. Before going to bed, make some simple plans for the next day. Jot down your worries or things you need to do so you aren’t thinking about them during the night.
Remember to lower the lights or switch the lights off completely and use only candlelight or a lamp – doing this will induce the production of melatonin. This is the hormone that helps you fall asleep and do so undisturbed. Every effort you make to promote relaxation will improve your sleep quality.
Clear your head
Set aside 10 minutes at the end of the day to journal your thoughts. It is a great way to clear your head. Before you switch the light off, allow yourself a moment to write down all stressors – this may be a work problem, a conflict with someone, a financial worry or even a concern about the future. Before you put the journal away, be sure to turn the negatives into a positive and write down at least three things you are grateful for.
Use calming scents
Aromatherapy oils such as chamomile, juniper, lavender, marjoram, rose and sandalwood are known to have a sedative effect when inhaled. For an extra relaxing experience, rub a small drop on the insides of your wrists of on your temples and breathe in slowly as you drift off the sleep.
You can even get a head start on the calming scents by lighting candles in your bedroom and living room to promote a calm mind. Light a scented candle and leave your home smelling lovely. The scents can connect you with a positive memory, leaving you happy and thoughtful.