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How To Relax Before Bed Time?

image of our writer Filip Maric

Written By Filip

Sleep Advisor

Featured image of How To Relax Before Bed Time.

29 April 2024 4 min read

Are you constantly trying, but failing to relax body and mind before bed? Let's find out together how to relax before bed time and have a better sleep.

The amount of stress to which each individual is exposed is so high, regardless of factors such as social status, age and place of residence, that it is one of the main global problems. People do not manage to de-stress even before going to bed or during vacation. It leaves consequences both on the body, on the mind and on sleep quality.

Some of the most common physical problems associated with stress are heart and digestive tract, diseases and when we talk about mental health, anxiety and depression are the most common. It would be ideal if we could just disconnect and travel to the Maldives every few months, but 99% of people don't have that opportunity.

That's why we need to master ways to quickly and easily relax in the evening so that you can have a good night's sleep, which is of utmost importance for overall well-being. In this article by The Sleep Advisors, you can learn how to relax before bed time and avoid poor sleep.

The biggest enemies we encounter before bed time

We are waiting all day for bedtime to come. But then it is not that easy to shut down our system, since we are not computers. We often suppress stress during the day in order to be able to complete tasks, and then we feel the consequences after the stressful situation has already passed.

Stress

an image of a woman having stress caused by nightmares

Stress is an umbrella term for the feeling of emotional and physical tension. It manifests itself in different ways. Some people cope much better with stress, while others easily crack under pressure. As our brain is connected to the gut, it may happen that before going to sleep you feel the well-known feeling of discomfort in the abdomen as a result of stress.

And since stress can affect or cause insomnia, it's not something to be taken lightly. However, not having stress in your life is also a tip that very few (if any) people can follow.

Anxiety

Many make the mistake and consider that anxiety does not deserve attention unless it is crippling anxiety that prevents a person from functioning normally. It is quite normal to feel anxious from time to time. But if it is a daily feeling, then we are talking about high-functioning anxiety which also requires to be treated, before it grows into an even bigger problem.

And calming anxiety at night is crucial. After all, if your mind is going 100 miles per hour, you're likely not going to fall asleep any time soon.

Insomnia

an image of a woman suffering from insomnia problems

The most common symptoms of sleep problems are inability to fall asleep, segmented sleep, waking up too early and difficulty falling asleep when you wake up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet, for example. If you are very tired and can't fall asleep, you are probably one of the nearly 20 million UK adults who suffer from insomnia or some other sleep disorder.

And treating insomnia can often be a very long and tedious process. This is because it's sometimes a symptom of a more serious underlying problem. And no amount of sleep hygiene can help if there's a serious medical condition at play.

So – how to relax before bed time and get quality sleep?

So far we've only talked about problems, now it's time to focus on how to relax before bed time. Fortunately, there are many simple ways that are within our reach. It is possible that you already practice some of the following, but you definitely need to add at least a few more things to your bedtime routine in order to achieve the desired effect.

Dim your lights

a woman sleeps in the bed with the light on

You should start slowly preparing for sleep by reducing the brightness of the lights. If you have a dimmer then it is very simple. However, it is not necessary to have a dimmer. You can put lower-watt bulbs in the bedroom. That way you will rest your eyes and will not affect melatonin.

This is because our eyes are very sensitive to light. And if there's light in the room, your body might think it's still daytime and thus won't feel tired. Taking advantage of this reaction, sometimes called circadian hacking, can ensure you feel nice and tired once your bed time rolls around.

Take a warm bath

An image of a woman having a warm bath in a bath tub.

A cold bath is for the morning, and a warm bath is for the evening. While a short, cold bath will be an ideal start to the day, a warm bath that lasts half an hour is ideal for calming down. The body and mind will relax, and you can add essential oils and then the aromatherapy will be complete.

Remember, water should be warm, not too hot. You don't want to raise your body temperature too much. That's because your body needs to drop its temperature to go into deep sleep. So, if you cook yourself like a lobster, it will take a longer time for your temperature to drop.

Turn off electronic devices

We mentioned melatonin. It is the sleep hormone that the body starts releasing when it gets dark. Electronic devices can disrupt the sleep-wake cycle because blue light suggests to the body that it is not time for melatonin. Therefore, as soon as it gets dark, turn on the eye comfort shield, and then, approximately an hour before going to bed, do not use electronic devices, but read a book or talk to household members. 

Keep your feet warm

An image of a woman putting her socks on in bed.

This advice may sound trivial to you, but it is very important that your feet are not cold. Warm feet influence the whole body to relax and vice versa. If you have a problem with cold feet, consider buying an electric blanket because it is a very effective solution or just wear socks during the winter nights.

If you've been paying attention, this might sound contradictory to what we said in the bath section. After all, what if your feet get too hot? Well, the fact of the matter is that your feet get special treatment. So, if they're even slightly cold, your body can prioritise warming them up instead of dropping your core body temperature. In other words, it's quicker overall to just have them be warm from the beginning.

Drink warm drinks

An image of a woman in socks on bed drinking tea.

Warm drinks are just as good an option as a warm bath, and many people even prefer warm drinks to a warm bath. Definitely, for most people the favourite beverage before bed is hot chocolate. However, you should be careful about caffeine, although chances are slim that hot chocolate will contain enough caffeine to keep you awake.

Also, keep in mind that even some teas have caffeine! So, make sure that your hot drink of choice is completely free of caffeine.

Practice yoga/meditation

Yoga and meditation are relaxation techniques so there is no better way to de-stress. Keep in mind that yoga and meditation require practice. You cannot expect them to be highly effective the first time you try them. Be careful and over time yoga and meditation will become your magic methods for coping with stress. Those two techniques can even lower blood pressure.

Read a book

An image of a woman reading a book in bed

Instead of spending an hour on Instagram, read a book. Our advice is to read the paper version, not the PDF, using a tablet, because then you are again exposed to blue lights. Another tip – choose a relaxing novel. Evening is not the ideal time to read highly engaging books that will make you think about what you just read.

And if you're looking for good books to read before bed, we have a list that should give you a few ideas! Also, if reading strains your eyes, you should consider audiobooks as well.

Deep breathing

Deep breathing can be part of meditation and yoga or a separate relaxation technique. You also have to practice deep breathing so that you can have even, deep breaths. You have to learn to engage your stomach while breathing. One of the most famous methods is the 4-7-8 method. Do not breathe too deeply, hyperventilation is not needed in such situation.

Self-hypnotise yourself

Opinions about self-hypnosis or auto-hypnosis are divided. While they are the ones who believe that it is very effective in different situations, others doubt that it is so useful. You should try it and see for yourself. This auto-suggestive practice will help you learn to focus completely. Take one step at a time until you gain an understanding of all the necessary steps to self-hypnotise successfully.

Have a worry time schedule

Once you make worry time schedule, you will quickly notice that your whole day is more pleasant. Why is that so? If you let every situation worry you the moment it happens, you will spend most of your time worried and anxious because body are going to produce stress hormones all the time. But if you have worry time scheduled, then you will be able to ignore stress during the day and later, during worry time, devote yourself to analysing and solving problems.

Avoid alcohol, nicotine and caffeine

a young man refuses a cigarette

The National Sleep Foundation and all other relevant medical institutions advise to avoid alcohol and nicotine not only before bed but always. One glass of wine is not harmful, but anything more than that is not recommended.

Nicotine and all other substances that cigarettes contain are very harmful. It is fine to consume caffeine, but don't drink coffee after 4 PM, otherwise, you probably won't be able to fall asleep in time. But we're sure this is something you already know.

Make your bedroom a sanctuary

An image of a modern bedroom with lights.

In order for the bedroom to be your sanctuary, you must first stop doing anything in that room except sleep and sex. Thus, your brain will make a connection between the bedroom and relaxation. Of course, it is also necessary for the bedroom to be perfectly adapted to your needs. Start by purchasing a suitable mattress, pillow and duvet.

Consider your sleep position and preferences before buying pillow and mattress. In addition, you might want to consider weighted blankets as they can help with the reduction of stress, anxiety and insomnia. Don’t just go and buy products made by famous sleep company. Then implement blackout curtains, to make it dark and quiet. Bedroom lights with dimmers are also a great addition.

Conclusion

In conclusion, if you want to know how to relax before bed time, there are a lot of factors at play. Anything and everything can stress you out! However, if you take our tips to heart and/or seek out professional help to tackle larger issues, you should be fine. But feel free to tell us how you like to relax before bed down in the comments.

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