SLEEP CARE

How to Relax Before Bed

By Temma Ehrenfeld @temmaehrenfeld
 | 
December 05, 2017

With some experimentation, you’ll discover how to relax before bed. Try deep breathing, baths, meditation, TV re-runs, lavender, and tea.

The key to learning how to relax before bed is developing a routine and avoiding temptation.

Build in at least 45 minutes to wind down, aiming for at least seven hours of sleep.  If you need to be asleep by midnight, your ritual begins at 11:15 p.m.

Even earlier in the evening, it’s best to stay away from your computer or phone. The light from electronic devices is stimulating, and you could get information that revs you up. Do you get excited browsing dating sites?  Anxious watching the news?  Set a curfew.

Experiment with a combination of any of these approaches for your wind-down time. Ideally, one will stick and become a welcome habit. Simply knowing you have a ritual for how to relax before bed should be calming.

 

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1. Pray or meditate. A meditation practice doesn’t have to be complicated or long. You can try just counting your breaths up to 30. If you catch yourself mentally wandering, go back to zero and start again. If that’s hard, set a timer for 10 minutes. When your mind goes elsewhere, come back to your breath. Stop when the timer goes off.

2. Heat can bring on sleepiness. Take a hot bath, perhaps with Epsom or deep sea salts. The bath both relaxes your muscles and raises your body temperature.  Scent the bath with lavender, a science-backed sleep aid.

3. Enjoy a hot drink.  Chamomile tea and hot milk are good choices. Don’t drink caffeinated beverages, including chocolate milk.  

4. Moisturize your feet, neck, and face. A lavender-scented cream is a good idea. Or put a drop of lavender oil on your pillow. 

 

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Updated:  

December 05, 2017

Reviewed By:  

Janet O’Dell, RN