Can’t Sleep? Follow These Steps to Perfectly Unwind Before Bedtime
The pace of life and endless to-do lists make it sometimes impossible to get enough sleep every night, but quality sleep is essential to keep your body functioning at its best.
Sleep deprivation can cause weight gain, loss of productivity, emotional irritability, high blood pressure, motor skill impairment, cognitive impairment and a weakened immune system. Luckily, getting better sleep is relatively easy. It begins with a healthy bedtime ritual that preps your mind and body for getting optimal Zzz’s. Follow these steps to unwind your sleep-deprived body so you can finally sleep better.
Set a Bedtime
Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day is key to good sleep. It will help you get in sync with your internal clock and create a natural routine. Start getting ready for bed at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
Tweak the Temp
The best sleep temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees for most people. Make sure to adjust the bedroom thermostat accordingly so that it’s perfectly cool the moment your head hits the pillow. It also helps to think of your bedroom as a haven of safety and regeneration.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, a leading cause of sleepless nights is gadgets in the bedroom. Laptops, tablets, phones, and TVs all emit high concentrations of blue-wavelength light that reduces melatonin production, keeping you awake. Turn off screens and any other blue-light sources at least one or two hours before bedtime.
Let it Go
Writing to-do lists can help you fall asleep. Take 10 to 15 minutes to jot down nagging thoughts and what you’re doing to resolve them. Then, let them go for the night. If a worrying thought comes up while you’re trying to fall asleep, you can mentally check it off, knowing you’re dealing with it tomorrow.
Mindfulness meditation has been shown to trigger the relaxation response in the body. Before you hit the sack, complete a guided meditation from Inscape’s Healthy Sleep Series. Try it for free by tapping this link on your mobile device.
Avoid caffeine after noon. You can sip on chamomile tea to relax but don’t drink anything two hours before bed. It can be hard to get back to sleep quickly if you need to get up to go to the bathroom.
Lower the Lights
Artificial light exposure suppresses the release of melatonin and disrupts the body’s circadian rhythm, making it more difficult to fall asleep. Dim the lights two to three hours before bedtime to signal your brain to make melatonin.
Take a Bath
Relaxing your body with a warm bath or shower can help induce sleep. Just don’t wait until the last minute, so that you have enough time to cool off afterward.
Stretching before bed allows you to release some of the tension you've built up throughout the day, preparing your body for a good night’s sleep. Try “child’s pose” or “happy baby” yoga stretches to align the spine and open up the hip flexors.
Block the Clock
Remove the temptation to glance at it, which will only increase anxiety about not being able to fall asleep. If you rely on an alarm clock to wake up, turn the display away from you or flip your phone screen-side-down out of arm’s reach.
Nix the Noise
According to the National Sleep Foundation, noises at levels as low as 40 decibels or as high as 70 decibels can disrupt sleep. That means a dripping faucet can keep you up as much as a blaring car horn. Sound conditioners help promote sleep by muffling random sounds with constant white noise. Alternatively, use a fan or air conditioner.
Remember, meditation is proven to help you get deeper, better, sleep. Download the INSCAPE app and explore hours of meditation and relaxation content designed to help you get the best seep ever.