Getting a good night's sleep can be challenging, especially when we're constantly "on". Bedtime is that rare time of day where we can reflect and prepare ourselves properly for what comes in the morning. Here are 10 ways to help you find your zen before settling down for the evening.
1. Find your own lullaby
We may not have anyone to sing us to sleep, but there is always music. Find a sound that resonates with you. Soothing sounds from nature, like ocean waves or a woodland soundscape, transport us to a tranquil place. Some quiet instrumental piano or guitar might do the trick too.
2. Look through old photos
Reminiscing can bring back great feelings. Take a bit of time to look at old pictures from a recent vacation or some of your favourite memories. The happy nostalgic feelings will help ease your stress and put you in a good mood before you head to bed.
3. Cozy up with a cup of tea
There’s nothing more relaxing than sipping a warm beverage when it’s cold outside. Pick something without caffeine - there are so many delicious herbal mixes it’s impossible not to find one you like. If you’re stuck, try chamomile; it’s a classic.
4. Take a bubble bath
Once winter arrives, it feels like that cold feeling buries itself deep in your bones. Settle into a warm bath and enjoy a relaxing scent to soothe your senses. We often carry so much tension in our bodies that we’re not even aware of. A bath is a lovely way to ease that tension and relax your muscles before you turn out the lights.
5. Read a book
Working in an office staring at a screen all day can be very exhausting and straining on the eyes. Instead of watching TV before bed, try reading a novel. This will give your eyes some time to rest and will also prepare your mind for a peaceful sleep.
We often climb into bed with our minds racing over remnants of the day and worries about what’s on the agenda tomorrow. Take 5 minutes to sit or lie in a comfortable position and simply concentrate on your breathing. Close your eyes, focus on the tip of your nose, and feel every inhale and exhale fully. If you have thoughts that float by, that’s fine; acknowledge them, but don’t let your mind give them too much attention.
7. Give your thanks
It’s said that thankful people are happy people. When we concentrate on what we have, rather than what we don’t, we feel more at ease. Think about three things you are thankful for that day and you’ll surely go to bed with a smile on your face.
8. Light a candle
Candles are a perfect way to make the transition from work mode to sleepy time. The soft, flickering light will create a peaceful atmosphere and even warm up a chilly room. Just make sure to blow them out before going to sleep.
9. Dabble in aromatherapy
Aromatherapy has been used for thousands of years and can be a very useful tool in helping relax the mind. Try lighting a lavender-scented candle or drawing a bubble bath. There are also lightly scented eye pillows out there that will keep your eyes covered in case you are sensitive to light. Massaging some body lotion onto your skin will release tension and delight your nose.
10. Enjoy a glass of wine
Grape skins which are found in red wine contain melatonin, which is a hormone that helps our bodies know when it’s time for bed. There’s a reason they say wine is good for you (in moderation). It’s rich in antioxidants, can help lower cholesterol and help you live longer!