Sleep eludes up to 40 million adults on a chronic basis. An additional 20 million have occasional problems falling asleep according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Many different things may cause sleeplessness. Being unable to shut off your mind and free it from worries can keep you up at night. Studies even show that watching too much TV or surfing the net on your smartphone can even keep you awake long after you’ve logged off.
Sleep is essential. Knowing that getting enough sleep – 7 to 9 hours a night for adults – is imperative to your good health and wellbeing. To keep it from eluding you, there are just a few things that you might want to try adding to your nighttime routine.
How will a nighttime routine help? Just like in the morning – you have a routine that you complete daily to get yourself energized and ready for the day ahead. Having the same thing at night can help signal to your body that it is time to sleep.
You can mix and match any of the following things, from a warm bath to using vaporizers, to create your own relaxing routine.
1. Relax – Meditation, Breathing, and Mindfulness
Meditation can help you to take your mind off of your worries and think about something positive, which can help promote relaxation. If you’re new to meditation or simply need a hand, you can find guided meditation tracks free on YouTube, Spotify, and meditation websites.
If worries are causing you to stay up at night, simply engaging in a breathing technique exercise can help you to focus on your breathing, which takes your focus away from your racing thoughts. There are several guides to deep breathing, yoga breathing, and mindful breathing out there. Choose the one that best fits you.
Mindfulness is a bit more tricky. It requires the ability for you to realize that you are focusing on things that might be beyond your control and shift your thought process. Mindfulness practitioners call this switching from ‘doing’ mode to ‘being’ mode. Acknowledge your worrying thoughts in a compassionate way but do not dwell. Instead, one method to switch from doing mode to being mode is to focus on breathing, as discussed above.
2. Listen to Relaxing Music or Sounds
Though you want to avoid screens, listening to soothing music can help usher your way to dreamland. You’ll want to avoid anything too upbeat, but some calming classical music or sounds of nature can help you shut off your brain and get the sleep you need.
3. Have a Relaxing Drink – But Avoid Alcohol Right Before Bed
You’ll want to avoid caffeine, sugary drinks, and alcohol right before bed. However, sipping some warm tea like chamomile or valerian can help to calm you. You can do this while listening to music or reading.
Cannabis has been proven to raise the levels of endocannabinoids, which some researchers believe an imbalance of these chemicals might explain insomnia. Research also indicates that cannabis can affect not only the ability to get to sleep but the quality of sleep. People who use cannabis report longer periods of stage-3 deep sleep and shorter periods of lighter REM sleep. If you’re looking to try cannabis to help you sleep, choose an indica rather than an energizing sativa.
For optimal results and none of that telltale odor, try using vaporizers or use a vapor mod with a relaxing CBD oil. Vaporizing might be the healthier and more economical way to consume cannabis. And if your local laws don’t allow the use of cannabis, you can try using a vapor mod with other relaxing aromatherapy oils to send you off to dreamland quickly.
Creating a bedtime routine involving one or a few of these practices can help you get your sleep schedule back on track. This can lead to a happier, healthier, and less stressed you.
Turn off your Kindle or your tablet/smartphone and pick up a book or magazine and read. However, you may want to begin your reading in another room and not in bed. It is important that your brain associate the bed with only sleep and intimacy.
6. Light Therapy
Believe it or not, there is something to say about circadian rhythms. Turns out that our body’s melatonin production is greatly affected by light. Dimming the lights prior to bedtime can signal to your body to begin producing the sleep-inducing hormone. Ensuring that there are no bright lights or screens interfering with the production of melatonin can help make sure that you get to sleep.
7. Lower Your Body Temperature
A cooler body temperature or a falling body temperature signals to your body that it is time to sleep. Having a cool shower right before bed can help with this, but you can also set your bedroom thermostat to between 68 and 72 degrees. Open a window to get rid of any hot stuffy air.
8. Warm Bath
Having a warm soak in the tub might seem counterintuitive to lowering your body temperature, but if you do so a couple of hours before bed, you’ll be alright. If you can, add some soothing essential oils like lavender or bath salts. Bath salts contain magnesium which is absorbed through the skin. One cause of insomnia can be a magnesium deficiency.
9. Next Day List
We’ve all lay awake at night thinking of something we forgot to do that day and reminding ourselves to get it done tomorrow. That can keep us awake. The key to getting around this is before bed – write down a to-do list for the following day.