A simple five-step guide to create healthy night-time habits, and set you up for slumber
1. Forward thinking
Set aside 20 minutes to prep for the next day, meaning you can go to bed with a clear head, and rise in the morning ready for the day. It could be picking out your clothes, doing the washing up, gathering the essentials (keys, wallet, anything for work), or getting out your gym gear. When your home is clear of clutter, and you don’t have to rush around first thing, you can start with a better mindset and save your time and energy for the bigger decisions and activities.
2. Wind down
Consider your evening rituals – not just the time you’re getting ready for bed, but the build up in the hours before. Avoid caffeine six hours before you plan to sleep, and consider shaking up the evening Netflix marathons. Try to stay away from blue light with electronic devices by listening to a podcast, doing a jigsaw, or taking up a creative hobby such as writing, drawing, or crochet.
3. Set the scene
Keep in mind all the senses when creating the perfect atmosphere for your bedroom. Ensure you have good curtains or blinds to block out light, and use lamps, or even candles to create a soothing space that’s not too bright. You could use wax melts to release a relaxing aroma, or try an aromatherapy diffuser. For sound, ask: what calms you? Perhaps it’s a sleep story, a guided meditation, or the gentle sound of water. Having a glass of milk encourages sleep, as it contains tryptophan, or you could have a few nuts or a banana. Plus, one of the simplest things you can do is put on a clean set of sheets – there’s truly no better feeling.
Making specific time to process your day, especially to consider your achievements – every small win – and the things you are grateful for, can help to set you up for a peaceful night. Gratitude journaling in particular has been proven to reduce stress, boost your mood, and improve self-esteem.
5. Time to relax
Once you’re settled in bed and are ready to snooze, try to let go of all the extraneous thoughts running around your head. Instead, try a full body scan, where you focus on every part of your body, starting at the top of your head. Think about how each aspect feels – each arm, leg, your chest, your shoulders. Is there any tension, pressure, lightness, any other sensations? Take slow, deep breaths, and try to release any tension you feel.
If you’re struggling to switch off, try to avoid lying there stressing about it. Instead, distract your mind with a relaxing activity or change of scene – you could sit elsewhere to read for a bit, or listen to an audiobook.
Need to unwind? Connect with a professional therapist offering services to support your wellbeing, and aid relaxation using therapy-directory.org.uk