10 Ways to Unwind Before Bedtime
Ahhh, sleep. For some, a tranquil and peaceful dreamland that arrives with ease, and for others, a mysterious place that alludes and only seems to add to our stress. Whether you struggle to fall asleep, to stay asleep, or to wake up feeling energised here are our 10 ways to unwind before bedtime and ease you into a peaceful slumber.
Getting Your Beauty Sleep
Did you know that around 36% of people in the UK struggle to sleep on a weekly basis and around half have at least one bad night each month?
Sleep is a hot topic and struggling to sleep and unwind can cause all kinds of problems, as well as make you feel pretty damn grouchy!. Not getting enough, good quality sleep can really wreak havoc on your body (and your mind) from lack of concentration and focus, irritability and depression to gut problems and even a weakened immune system.
If sleep is hard to come by here are some simple yet effective relaxation techniques to try.
1. Gentle Body Scan
If you find yourself wide awake at three am with your mind drifting in all directions then a gentle body scan is a great way to bring the mind and body back to the present moment. By directing your attention to parts of your body you’ll soon start to relax and hopefully even drift off! Hop into bed, get comfy and try this one.
Did you know that visualisation is actually scientifically proven to help people fall asleep faster? Try picturing yourself in a place you know makes you feel relaxed and calm. Imagine yourself there, noticing what’s around you, what it sounds like, what it smells like. You’ve just completed a simple visualisation technique!
To help you go a little deeper why not try some accompanied sounds to your visualisation? Like this calming sea soundtrack?
If you’ve ever struggled with your sleep the chances are you’ve tried the age-old technique of counting sheep! Well, repeating a mantra is a similar way to help you on your quest for better sleep. A study has shown that repetition can actually help to calm the brain down. Try repeating a simple mantra such as
- I welcome a peaceful sleep
- I am relaxed and ready for sleep
- With each breath, I am closer to falling asleep
- I am calm and relaxed
4. Breathing Exercises
Mastering your breathing can have powerful effects on your overall health, including your sleep.
When you’re struggling to switch off and get a good night’s sleep, tuning into your breathing (which, when done right, taps into your parasympathetic nervous system, the one responsible for calming you down!) can do wonders!
Try a simple box breathing exercise (breathe in for four, hold for four, and exhale for four) or the Ujjayi breath (also known as the ocean breath). To practice the Ujjayi breath simply take a breath in through your nose, keeping your mouth closed. Now, restrict the back of your throat, whilst keeping your mouth closed and exhale - as if you’re fogging up a mirror - and repeat!
It might sound counterintuitive to move your body before you go to bed but a simple yoga sequence before bed can actually help calm your body and nervous system down, promoting better and even deeper sleep. Why not try some simple stretches to soothe you into slumber?
6. Mindful Journaling
If your mind feels like it has a hundred browser tabs open at all times, especially when you’re ready for bed, then why not write down those worries?
Mindful journaling is a great way to release those thoughts. From writing down any anxieties or to-dos for tomorrow to exercising a little gratitude, put pen to paper for a better night.
7. Tea Meditation
Try a soothing cup of chamomile or our Superblends Sleep infusion for a short tea meditation.
- Bring your cup to your lips and take a moment to feel the warmth of the mug against your hands. Notice the scent of your tea blend, breathe in the steam
- Take a sip and savour it for a moment. How does the tea feel as it passes your lips? How do you feel at this moment?
- Take your time over your tea and sip it slowly and steadily. Enjoy the way it invites all your senses and become aware of how you feel. Notice when your mind drifts and how your awareness comes back to your tea meditation
8. Guided Meditation
Meditation is a natural and effective way to help relax your mind and body and to bring you to a restful night’s sleep. Guided meditation is the perfect way to allow someone else's voice to guide you there. Tune into this soothing meditation for a deep sleep!
9. Gua Sha
One unique and natural way to help alleviate stress and encourage sleep is the old traditional Chinese method of Gua Sha (pronounced as “gwa shah). Gua Sha uses a special flat stone to promote blood flow to the face and neck. By applying gentle pressure, with a little oil, it can help alleviate tension and promote healing, leaving you feeling calm and soothed. Plus, it’s also known for giving you a natural facelift.
Setting the scene for a good night’s sleep is key and that includes the right kind of soothing scents. Lavender is probably the most commonly known but there are others too. From chamomile and clary sage to cedarwood and bergamot, use high-quality essential oils to help you send you on your way.
Why not combine a few of these methods to create a healthy bedtime routine that leaves you feeling rested and restored?