In my old age — I turn 28 in two days — I have come to appreciate sleep more and more. and, I get to bed earlier and earlier. No kidding, Friday night, I want to bed at 9. 9! On a Friday! And, yesterday morning, I woke up at 6:30. On my own. Naturally. No alarm.
I often joke about being an old lady because I get to bed and wake up so early, especially when all my friends are out until 2 or 3 every weekend. But, honestly, I value my bedtime and consider good, restful sleep as vital to my health and wellness as diet and exercise.
Sleep is one of the most important, and, often, most neglected, functions of the human body. While you sleep, your body restores itself. Adequate sleep means better skin, better metabolism, and better overall health for your entire body. If you have trouble settling down at night after your skincare ritual, try these five relaxation techniques to ensure your body and mind get the sleep they deserve.
- Turn off your screens. You’ve heard it before, but, chances are, you’re still playing a game on your phone in bed. Put. It. Down. Watching tv, working on your computer or playing on your phone all act as stimulants, making you more awake and keeping you from sleep. Try getting to bed 30 minutes early and picking up a book or magazine. Reading will help you and your brain calm down, and sometimes weigh down those eyelids for you.
- Take a bath. Fill your tub with warm water and calming essential oils like lavender, mandarin, jasmine or bergamot. Let the warm water relax your body as the oils work with your senses to decrease your anxiety (lavender), calm you down (mandarin), help you relax (bergamot), and make you sleepy (jasmine).
- Meditate. Meditation gets a bad rap as a New Age practice, but it’s gained a lot of traction in recent years as a true mental health technique. Try sitting on the edge of your bed for three minutes and only focusing on your breath. Breathe in for three seconds. Hold for three seconds. Breathe out for three seconds. Hold for three seconds. Repeat for three minutes. You just meditated. Meditation helps us center ourselves and focus our thoughts, perfectly preparing the mind for bed, the day ahead, or the meeting you’re about to go to.
- Have some tea. Drinking non-caffeinated hot tea (and warm milk) helps the body relax and induce sleep. Chamomile, in particular, acts as a mild sedative to reduce anxiety, relax the muscles, and help your body slip into a sleepy state.
- Write it down. Often, stress about everything we have to do tomorrow keeps us from sleeping well tonight. Keep a pad and paper by your bed—or better yet, your agenda—to make a note of everything on your to-do list for the next day. Writing down what you have to do will take it off of your mind and help you settle down for a good night’s rest.
What’s your bedtime ritual?