What’s the last thing you look at before you fall asleep each night? For many of us, the answer is our phones. Unfortunately, this isn’t doing us any favors: Blue light triggers our brains to awaken, which is the opposite of what we want moments before we attempt to drift off to dreamland. The good news is there are healthier ways to unwind at night for a good night of sleep. Check out a few of our favorites below.
Practicing yoga offers benefits beyond stretching and exercise. It can be as beneficial for your mind as it is for your muscles. In fact, the results of this national survey show that 55% of the people who did yoga before going to bed were able to get a better night’s sleep. Yoga can be done in the comfort of your own bedroom, which makes it an accessible option to all. Check out some yoga poses that are especially good for sleep here.
Another way to unwind the healthy way is through meditation. Mindfulness meditation, in particular, has been shown to help fight insomnia. The practice helps you deal with racing thought patterns and eventually learn to acknowledge your thoughts without succumbing to a cycle of negative rumination. For those who just can’t seem to “turn off their brain” when trying to fall asleep, meditation can be an ideal way to unwind from the day and can lead to a good night of sleep.
Read a Book Before Bed
Reading before bed is a favorite pastime for many of us. But, as we already mentioned, it’s important to limit your exposure to blue light before bed. That means if you typically read digital content as a way to unwind, you may be doing more harm than good. Instead, consider putting your phone away two hours before bedtime and picking up a book instead.
Soothing scents, particularly in the form of essential oils, can help relieve stress, calm neves, and prepare your body for rest. Studies show that lavender essential oil may help people to get a more refreshing night of sleep, with participants reporting “higher vigor” the next morning. Other essential oils that are believed to help with sleep include cedarwood and bergamot.
Listen to Soothing Music
To calm down your anxious mind before bed, try listening to soothing music. Other sounds work too, like rain or ocean waves. The Headspace app offers lots of sound scapes that will help you fall asleep—and stay asleep.
Journaling before bed is a way to get your racing thoughts out of your head and onto a page. It’s also a great way to review your day and plan ahead for tomorrow, so you feel prepared for whatever comes your way. You don’t have to get fancy with it—pick up a cheap journal or order one online and start writing before bed to ease into a state of restfulness.