Many of you have probably resolved to sleep better this year. “Sleep better” can mean a number of things: fall asleep faster, stay asleep through the night, sleep more deeply. It could even include goals like practicing lucid dreaming, engaging in polyphasic sleep training, or waking up feeling charged and ready to go.
Researchers generally seem to agree that the activities leading up to bedtime set the stage for what happens when our head hits the pillow. Common advice is to turn off blue-screen devices (like phones and tablets, but not e-readers with e-ink… although whether e-ink strains your eyes just as much is up for debate), do some relaxing yoga, meditate or write in a journal, pray or practice gratitude, don’t eat an hour before bed, pet an animal, and have sex.
All of those are great, but I’m exhausted even typing out that list. Sometimes it’s just too much to remember! Especially when you add in Super Planner pre-bed rituals like setting out your morning workout clothes, choosing your next day’s outfit, doing the dishes, setting the coffeemaker, and — don’t forget — taking off your makeup and adhering to a multi-step skincare ritual.
If you have 45 minutes every night to get ready before you hit the hay, more power to you. The following tips can be incorporated into your luxuriously long routine, too. 🙂
If you’re looking for better sleep but just want, y’know, a few things to try, keep reading.
1. Take a Healing Bath
This can be particularly helpful if you’re already used to showering / bathing at night. A warm bath can help prepare your body and mind for sleep, but adding certain ingredients to the tub can help even further.
A ginger bath is an excellent choice for cold, winter nights, or nights when you’re feeling maybe just a tiny bit under the weather — that head cold precursor that you know you could fight if you just took a bath.
An Epsom salt bath is deeply relaxing, can reduce muscle pains from working out (another resolution?), and can help prepare your body for vital restoration overnight.
No need to soak for an hour; just 20 minutes will do the trick.
2. Read Fiction
Research shows that reading fiction for only six minutes a day reduces stress levels by as much as 68%. Note this doesn’t apply to non-fiction, which can sometimes put our minds in planning mode. If you’ve been away from fiction for a while, browse a bestseller list and choose the most appealing one, or go with a classic that you’ve always wished you had read.
3. Have a Relaxing Drink
As tempting as it might be to make that a boozy nightcap, you’re setting yourself up for restlessness if you do. Keep the alcohol with dinner, and make a cup of tea with magnesium, instead. This relaxing mineral will help you drift off to sleep without a care in the world. Let some magnesium powder dissolve in warm water, then add some chamomile tea for extra-sleepy benefits. You’ll be out like a light in no time! (Note: if you’re new to magnesium, be sure to only take a small amount.)
I hope you find these tips useful and beneficial throughout the year. If you have other tips on sleeping well, please add them to the comments! I’d love to hear your ideas 🙂
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