These tips will help you get better sleep and clear your head so you can rest well.
1. Eat earlier
After you eat, your body is busy digesting and can keep you awake. If you eat early, all of that important work can wrap up by the time you’re ready for sleep. However, if you’re starving before bed, that can also lead to lost sleep so a small snack might be the key to getting better sleep.
This one is a bit of a double-edged sword, isn’t it? In order to get better sleep, you need to hydrate throughout the day, but try to start strong and taper off as the day goes on so you don’t disrupt your sleep with trips to the bathroom. If you find yourself making frequent night trips to the bathroom, try cutting off your liquids 90 minutes before bed.
3. Unplug early
Giving your brain a chance to stop processing information an hour or two before you turn the lights out means you’re ready to get better sleep when your head hits the pillow.
4. Take a bath
A warm bath can soothe sore muscles and allow for some much needed quiet time. Dim the lights, add some mellow music, and sprinkle essential oils or bath salts in the water for an ultra-relaxing soak.
5. Create nighttime rituals
Unwinding each night with calming activities will create some quiet space as you head to bed. Write in a gratitude journal, have a cup of (caffeine-free) tea, and get ready to rest.
6. Set your internal clock
Try to get in bed and turn the lights off at the same time each night as a practice for getting better sleep. After a while, your body will start to tell you when it’s time to get horizontal.
7. Create a to-do list for the next day
Do you lay in bed counting tasks instead of sheep? Make a list of what’s to come tomorrow, so you can go to bed with a clear head and get better sleep.
8. Breathing exercises
After a busy day, laying down and intentionally focusing on one thing only – taking deep breaths – gives our body a chance to slow down and unwind.
9. Essential oils
Cedarwood supports a healthy pineal gland, which releases melatonin. Mix it with lavender and rub it into your feet or wrists (right before you follow suggestion #8 above), then breathe deeply, and soon you’ll be snoozing your way to better sleep.
Check in with your body, starting with your feet. Inhale and create tension, exhale and relax. Bit by bit you’ll sink into your bed, heavy with release and relaxation. Finish with a clear mind, visualizing an open field or calm waters.
Article contributor: Danielle Heuseveldt, RD, NBC-HWC Health Coaching Program Manager