Sleep is important! The quality and quantity of sleep that someone gets can affect not only the energy they have the next day, but also their levels of productivity, immunity, and sociability. If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t stop thinking or your energy always seems to spike right before bedtime, try utilizing the following tips to help you fall asleep faster and experience deeper sleep throughout the night.
DRINK TEA OR MILK
Herbal teas like chamomile and mint are very soothing and can be a great way to begin winding down about an hour or two before bedtime. Drinking a mug of tea too close to bedtime can lead to waking up later in the night to use the bathroom, so try to limit your fluid intake in the hour before going to sleep. A teaspoon of honey can sweeten the tea and make it more palatable for those with an aversion to unsweetened beverages. For those who don’t enjoy tea or would prefer a different beverage, hot milk with honey and cinnamon is another calming nighttime drink. Both honey and cinnamon are antibacterial which is great during cold winter months when some people are constantly balancing between being healthy and feeling sick. Milk contains a chemical component called tryptophan which is the precursor to serotonin, a hormone crucial to sleep regulation. While the amount of tryptophan in milk is not necessarily guaranteed to induce sleepiness,warm milk itself can function as a physiological trigger.
Certain blends of essential oils are calming to the body. While undiluted essential oils can be harmful when ingested or used topically, pure essential oils can be diluted in water or blended with other oils. Several companies produce blends of calming essential oils in sprays, lotions, or body oils. This Pillow Mist from the Body Shop is a blend of jujube and camomille. It can be spritzed on pillows or on the body. Lush’s Sleep body lotion is a blend of cocoa butter, almond oil, and lavender perfect for moisturizing the hands right before bed. For avid essential oil users, a diffuser is a great way to distribute the scent of the oils throughout an entire room. A popular option is this one from Asakuki which is equipped with colored LED lights. The Asakuki diffuser also acts as a humidifier which is a bonus during dry seasons.
YOGA OR MEDITATION
Relaxing yoga routines are super helpful for releasing built-up tension and allowing the body to unwind after a long day. Yin yoga is a form of yoga that focuses on holding poses for a longer period of time to increase flexibility. This routine from Yoga with Adriene is a great introduction to the Yin practice and it’s under half an hour long which makes it ideal to do right before bedtime. Mindfulness meditation is also a great way to reflect and relax at the end of the day. One of the goals of mindfulness is to be present in the current moment and focus on what’s currently going on in the surrounding environment as well as within yourself. Calm offers various mindful meditations along with soothing sleep stories and relaxing music. Calm is available as a smartphone app, which makes it ideal to utilize when travelling as well as at home.
For those of us particularly sensitive to external noises, white noise is a great way to block out static from appliances, or whatever commotion is happening outside. There are various apps available to produce white noise, like White Noise by TM Soft. White noise machines are also available, if you’re looking for something louder than your smartphone speaker. White noise machines can be a bit pricey, but there are also less expensive options like this one from Homedics, available at Target. In the summer, another option would be to use a window fan. The benefits of this are twofold: the white noise effect and the increased air circulation. Window fans are a must have if you don’t have air conditioning and your area is prone to high temperatures during certain seasons. Purchase a window fan for around $20 at Target.