7 Bedtime Habits To Put You To Sleep Quicker
When thoughts, worries and ideas whirl around your head at night, it is almost impossible to go to sleep. Sometimes, we force ourselves by tossing and turning until our body gives up. Other times, we numb our restless mind by watching TV, surfing the net or calling a friend.
Unfortunately, these actions become habits over time. Next thing you know, your regular sleep time is no longer 10pm. It is now 4am. Unless you can sleep at 4am and still have a good 8-9 hour sleep, this pattern of sleep is not healthy for your body and mind for the long-term.
The good thing is there are ways to get a better night’s sleep. Practice these behaviors consistently and you may find yourself struggling less with getting into bed and hitting the Zzz quicker.
1. Take a hot bath
Did you know that your body temperature naturally begins to fall at night, starting two hours before you go to bed and bottoming out around 5am? The key is to raise your normal body temperature by 1 or 2 degrees with a hot bath about 20-30 minutes before bedtime. Then, the steeper drop of body temperature that occurs at bedtime will very likely to put you right to sleep. If you don’t have a bathtub, try a hot shower. It may not be as effective as a hot bath but you should feel its latent effect.
2. Invest in blackout curtains
A good investment in blackout curtains is an investment in your health. Blackout curtains are foam-backed opaque fabric used to block out light. Choose high quality blackout curtains if you want quality shut-eye. Avoid cheap PVC for your blackout curtains because they deteriorate very quickly especially after wash. Blackout curtains not only block light, they blocking out a certain amount of noise and are energy saving. If you sleep in an air-conditioned room, blackout curtains trap cool air at night while keeping heat out during the day. This helps to reduce your utility bills and not overwork your air-conditioning unit.
3. Plug in an electric oil burner
At least one hour before bedtime, plug in your electric oil burner or aroma diffuser. Infusing your sleep space with soothing essential oil promotes a calm night’s sleep. Aromatherapy scents of lavender, ylang ylang, chammoile, bergamot and sandalwood help to gently slow down the mind’s mental activity. I started using one not too long ago and it really works! (read Electric Oil Burner: An Investment For A Good Night’s Sleep?)
4. Setup visual cues
Visual cues like laying out a fresh set of pajamas on the bed, turning off the main bedroom lights and switching on a side table lamp or dimmer lights can do wonders in signaling your mind “its time for bed“. It shifts the brain to sleep mode. If such habits are repeated every night, your body and mind will slowly take on these cues and automatically set you up for a good night’s sleep.
5. No electronics in bed
Like turning the TV off when having dinner, this is a great rule to set for catching zzz. While catching up on emails and surfing the net for interest topics relaxes you, it is, in fact, also engaging your mind. Lit screens from laptops and phones also provide visual stimulation creating unnecessary alertness. Try turning off all electronics (phones, iPads and laptops) before going to bed. Better yet, take it out of your bedroom. When in bed, wind down by doing something relaxing like read a book or pen in your journal.
6. Wear socks
This is one of my favorite. I love wearing socks in bed because it makes me feel snug and cozy. It also keeps me warm. When your feet is cold, your body gets cold. When your body gets cold, you wake up. Simple as that. You are not going to fall asleep shivering. Swiss researchers have found that when we are on a cusp of falling asleep, our bodies redirect blood flow to our hands and feet. Keeping your extremities warm aids in proper distribution of blood circulating throughout our body allowing for peaceful deep sleep. Better yet? Get your partner to give you a foot massage before putting on the socks. It literally knocks me out within 15 mins – everytime.
7. Avoid supper or a heavy meal before bed
A large meal or snack before bedtime will gear up your digestive system while the rest of your body is trying gear down. This imbalance can cause numerous health-related problems from heartburn, insomnia and asthma complications. If you get the munchies before bed, have a small bowl of cereal or drink a glass of warm milk. These foods promote calmness and a sense of fullness in your belly.