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5 winding down tips for better sleep

Winding down from a stressful day can be a key factor in whether you get a good night's sleep. The importance of practicing a relaxing and regular bedtime routine is often overlooked. This routine does not have to be complicated or long. The idea of "winding down" at night should be a slow and enjoyable process. Here are 5 tips to help you develop a consistent bedtime routine that will lead to a better night’s sleep.

  1. Make a consistent bedtime.

    According to Everyday Health online, a regular sleep time and schedule reinforces your body’s sleep and wake rhythms making it easier to fall asleep at that time every night and stay asleep.

  2. Avoid alcohol.

    That "night cap" of a glass of red wine is not the determining factor in how well you will sleep. Although red wine can be healthy in some cases, is not always beneficial for your sleep. Drinking more than one glass of alcohol before bed may help the body to relax for a few hours, but will eventually wear off causing the body to go through withdrawal in the middle of the night. In fact, the calming effect you were hoping for may make the opposite impact, causing anxiety, high blood pressure and a faster heart rate.

  3. Read, or practice some form of mediation.

    Turn off the TV and relax in bed with a book, but keep the lights dim to help prepare your body for sleep. You may find that you start falling asleep with the book on your lap without even knowing it. Or, try mediating. This article from health.com provides methods of meditation you can try, including breathing exercises and guided imagery practices.

  4. Keep a journal.

    If you are stressed, it can be difficult to shut the mind off and try to sleep. Often at the end of the day, when we are alone with our thoughts, we let our minds wander to our to-do lists, adding to the stress of our day and leading into the next. Journaling can be a productive and relaxing method to wind down before bed. It allows the mind to get thoughts on paper so they are not constantly weighing on the brain. Sleepbetter.org suggests writing out a "worry" or "to-do list" before bed each night to help your mind disengage. Then, you can sleep peacefully and wake up refreshed to tackle these tasks the next day.

  5. Drink warm milk.

    This claimed method for the ultimate pre-sleep relaxation has been used for generations. However, the jury is still out on whether the so-called sleep enhancing enzyme tryptophan actually may lead to a better night’s sleep. According to WebMD, the routine of drinking a glass of warm milk before bedtime may be what causes you to relax instead of the milk itself. If you do incorporate drinking a hot beverage into your nighttime routine be sure to adjust your room temperature accordingly, since most people sleep better at a lower body temperature.

  6. However you choose to wind down at the end of the day, be consistent and practice some of these easy and relaxing procedures before bed.

    These simple routines can do wonders for achieving a good night's sleep.

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