5 Ways To Relax Before Bed
Doctors recommend that adults get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. But according to the CDC as many as 70 million Americans report having some sort of sleep or wakefulness disorder. It certainly doesn’t help that many of us take our smartphones to bed, offering an easy distraction whenever sleep doesn’t come instantly. Besides, science has shown the blue light emitted by electronics suppresses melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep, which can cause you to stay awake. So, the best way to fall asleep is to put the phone away. With our ever-present companions off the table, let’s look at five ways to relax before bed that aren’t secretly keeping you awake.
5. Read a Book
Getting under the covers with a good, old-fashioned, paper book has been a great way to end the day for centuries. It’s especially beneficial for us now. Books offer hours of entertainment without notifications, distractions, or targeted advertisements to pull us out of the story. You don’t have to pick up a literary masterpiece either. A light, fun beach read is just as good as any classic novel for unwinding from your day. If you opt for an eBook before bed, many devices have a blue light filter, which will help avoid affecting your melatonin levels. And if do take the eBook route; turn off your Internet connection while you read. Facebook will still be there in the morning.
4. Do a crossword puzzle or Sudoku
Maybe you’re the kind of person who get’s engrossed in a story and will end up reading until dawn if left to your own devices. A word or number puzzle might be a better choice for you. Whether you opt for paper versions or digital ones (again, watch out for the blue light and the notifications), for a certain kind of person a little mental calisthenics is just the thing before bed.
3. Brew a cup of (caffeine free) tea
We all have our little rituals, even if we don’t think of them as such. Many people follow the same routine every morning and some professional athletes will do the same warm up or listen to same music before a competition. Whether it’s starting our day or competing in the Olympics, rituals are how we tell our bodies it’s time to do a particular thing. A great nocturnal ritual is to brew a cup of tea. Don’t simply drop a tea bag into mug of microwaved water, fill a kettle, get your favorite mug, use loose tea if you’re inclined, and remember this is about the process as much as about the product, so take your time and make it your own.
2. Take a hot shower or bath
Hot showers and baths are relaxing for many reasons. The heat can help relax tight muscles that have cramped after a long day at work. Having a place to be alone with your thoughts while falling water creates a pleasant white noise can serve as peaceful transition between your daily responsibilities and relaxation time. But there’s another reason a hot shower can be good before bed. When you step out of a hot shower your body temperature drops, this slows your metabolic rate and induces a feeling of tiredness, serving as a perfect way to get your body to go along with your planned bedtime.
1. Write in a journal
Journaling is no longer a common practice but it can be great way to end the day, especially for people who have trouble letting go of the day’s events. Journaling can help put your thoughts and concerns in order, which in turn can help you come up with solutions you would not have thought of had you tried to keep everything in your head. Even if you’re not looking for any particular solutions, writing down the events of the day can bring a sense of closure, making it easier to let go and help you get some sleep.