After a long, busy day, unwinding before bed can feel like another task on your to-do list. Some of us may even spend the first hour in bed tossing and turning as we struggle to quiet our minds and fall asleep. Luckily, some simple practices, ranging from exercising daily to creating a nightly routine, can help you fall asleep more easily. Follow along as we explain several of the best ways to relax your mind and body before bed.
Incorporate Exercise Into Your Day
Adding a source of physical activity into your day can do wonders for your overall well-being. More specifically, running, walking, bike riding, and resistance training help reduce stress and anxiety levels, leading to better sleep.
It’s best to work out during the day, as doing so too late in the evening may stimulate your body and mind, making it difficult to unwind. If you want to move your body at night, aim for gentle stretches or yoga poses to promote relaxation.
Practice Deep Breathing
Deep breathing exercises are a powerful way to activate the body’s natural relaxation response. To begin, find a comfortable seated position and close your eyes. Take slow, deep breaths through your nose and out through your mouth. Focus on filling your lungs with air and exhaling all tension from your body.
Take Nightly Baths
There’s something incredibly soothing about immersing yourself in a hot bath. The warm water eases muscle tension and promotes feelings of relaxation, especially when you bathe with bath salts or essential oils. Specific scents such as lavender engage the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps you relax and fall asleep faster.
To feel the most relaxed, wrap yourself in a luxury terry cloth robe after you dry off. You can then sit in bed, cuddled up in your robe as you read a book or practice deep breathing.
Preserve Your Sleeping Space
With the rise of remote work in recent years, many of us have had to convert parts of our homes into multi-purpose areas. Using your bedroom as your home office can disrupt your sleep and make it harder to feel relaxed before bed.
To counteract this, try to create a clear distinction between your sleeping and working spaces. For example, avoid using your room as a home office whenever possible. If that’s not an option, pack up your work materials at the end of the day and create a relaxing environment with soft lighting, calming scents, and comfortable bedding.
Establish an Evening Routine
The best ways to relax before bed can differ for everyone. What’s most important is finding a routine that works for you so you can base your nightly routine around them. Your routine could include cutting off screen time an hour before bed, reading, journaling, or light stretching.
Having a set schedule can signal the body that it’s time to relax and prepare for sleep. What matters most is your focus on activity is that your body will associate with bedtime so that you don’t spend your nights counting sheep.