Natural Ways to Relax Before Bed
Falling asleep is the unquestionable epitome of relaxation. But when you're mentally tense and stressed out, it can bleed over into your ability to get a good night's rest. So that begs a very important question: how can you effectively relax before bed in order to get good beauty sleep? Well, if you're as eager to find the answer as we were, go ahead and keep reading. These tips on how to relax naturally before bed will drastically reduce the amount of sheep you count each night.
Setting up the Right Environment
If you really want to relax before bed, you have to create a relaxing environment. Humans have evolved to be in tune with their environment over thousands of years. So when your environment is relaxing, the effect is contagious.
For starters, turn down the temperature. Studies show that when your core temperature drops, just as it would if you were a paleolithic human wandering around at night when the outside temperature drops, your body will respond with relaxation.
You should also turn down the lights and/or spend some time in a dark room. Again, just like our ancestors, mankind's natural sleep rhythm is adapted to the rise and fall of the sun. It'll help prompt relaxation by letting your body know it's time to sleep now.
Warm baths also work well, especially when combined with some aromatherapy. We naturally associate a soak in a warm tub with relaxation, possibly because it subconsciously reminds us of our time in the womb. And many different botanical aromas, like lavender and jasmine, have a relaxing effect as well. There are direct connections in your brain between your sense of smell and your emotional centers, which makes aromatherapy so powerful.
Last but not least, create some sort of "white noise" to keep your brain preoccupied on something relaxing and peaceful. Otherwise, it may be tempted to create its own stimulus - and if that stimulus is a stressful thought, your body will instantly become the opposite of relaxed.
Calming the Mind Before Bed
The mind-body connection has so much scientific evidence behind it these days that it simply cannot be denied. So when your mind is stressed, your body will not be able to relax enough to fall asleep. But there are little things you can do in order to relax your mind before bed.
Although it may not be immediately intuitive, exercise during the day can help you relax at night. After all, are you more likely to feel tired after loafing around on the couch all day, or after a strenuous day of physical activity? But the exercise itself doesn't have to be too intense. Just as long as you don't do it too close to bedtime, it should help you relax.
Herbal tea is also a great way to relax before bed. It contains many natural ingredients that are known to help induce relaxation and sleep like valerian root, chamomile, and sometimes even lemongrass. It's basically like drinking a warm glass of relaxation in a cup.
Lastly, do what you can to purge troublesome thoughts from your mind before your head hits the pillow. For some, it can be as simple as keeping a journal in which they write down all of the things that are stressing them out. Leaving it all on the paper can keep it from following you into the bedroom. And if you're anxious or overwhelmed by what you'll have to do tomorrow, getting organized and making a to-do list is also a great idea. It'll help you stay on track the next day, and prevent you from laying awake at night wondering how you'll ever be able to get it all done.
If your mind still refuses to be quiet, practice some form of mindfulness. Whether it's meditation, yoga, deep breathing, or even prayer, focusing your mind on something besides your stressful thoughts can really help with relaxation.
Avoid Unnatural Sources of Relaxation
Many people simply throw up their hands and exclaim "I don't know how to relax, and I don't think any of these techniques will work; there's got to be a medicine that will!". But that's not the healthiest approach to the problem. At best, any pharmaceutical solution you try will degrade the quality of sleep you get. At worst, it can cause short- and even long-term damage to your health. For the best sleep, you should follow the advice above and do your best to find a natural sleep solution. The good night's sleep you get will be well worth the effort!