At the end of a long day, we all need to rest, reboot, and refuel before dawn, but the anxiety and stress of daytime activities can make it difficult to transition from “on” to “off.” So, it’s important to make time for a healthy bedtime routine that allows you to find peace for a restful sleep. Fortunately, many of these stress-reducing actions require little effort. Read on for a few bedtime relaxation exercises to practice before you sleep.
Bedtime Relaxation Exercises
Practice Simple Meditation
You don’t need to know anything about the practice of meditation to actually meditate, rather, dedicating just five to 10 minutes to being mindfulness for a certain activity can accomplish the same goal. “Thought-dumping” (whether it’s in the form of a formal to-do list or stream of consciousness), running through a series of stretches, or even coloring or doodling on a notepad are all simple forms of meditation anyone can do—try them with interruption to put your mind at ease. Letting your mind relax before you settle down will relieve some stress before you fall asleep.
Listen to a Podcast
While it’s ideal to make your bedroom a screen-free zone (meaning no TVs, laptops, phones, etc.), there are several podcasts that designed to help aid sleep. One of the most popular, the Sleep With Me Podcast, is fittingly self-described as a “lulling, boring, droning bedtime story to distract your racing mind.” There are several other sleep-inducing podcasts that use different methods and content proven relax the mind and put you to sleep. The best part is that the podcasts typically last for just an hour and will automatically end, so you won’t wake up to a glaring TV screen mid-sleep.
Breath work can be used to ease stress and anxiety any time of day, but trying a breathing technique really comes in handy if you’re having trouble falling asleep. It’s similar to the age-old concept of counting sheep, but rather you focus on counting your breaths. Before you know it, you’ll be relaxed and dozing off. A simple start is by breathing in through your nose for a count of four, holding your breath for a count of seven, and then quietly releasing the breathe out of your mouth for a count of eight. By repeating this three-step breathing technique, and focusing on counting the seconds, you’ll counteract your overactive mind while naturally reducing stress.
Will you try one of these stress-relieving bedtime rituals? Tell us in the comments below.