Most adults experience insomnia at some point in their life and, in this day and age of technology and increasing pressures, it can feel impossible to shake. Sleep thrives on a regular routine, so how do we get our routine down so that we can hit the pillow and our brain stops? The secret is in those few hours before bed. I'm going to share my top tips for creating an easy and relaxing wind-down routine that will have you asleep in no time.
Dim the lights
Before the invention of lights and set routines, people used to stay wake when the sun came up and sleep when it was dark. Simple, right? Unfortunately we still have to get up at 6am and get ready for work whether it's sunny or pitch black. But, we can still use light to our advantage. Our brains still react in the same way, so try dimming the lights about 2 hours before bed to start the wind down process.
Turn off the screens
This goes for your technology too. All of our technology uses LED screens and can trick our brain into thinking it's daylight, especially if they emit a blue light. Although many modern devices boast of their 'warm screen filter', we still recommend you switch the devices off at least 2 hours before bed. Whether the warm filter works or not, our phones and TVs are filled with distractions and are designed to engage you.
Cut the caffeine
Coffee is great right? But you really shouldn't have it before bed. Even if your bedtime choice is milder such as a cup of tea, any stimulant isn't good to have before bed. Why not opt for a milky hot choc or a cup of peppermint tea? Both are naturally free of caffeine and relaxing. Some people may be very sensitive to caffeine so you may need to cut the caffeine in the early afternoon to get it out of your system.
Try a relaxing exercise
There's such thing as a relaxing exercise you ask? Of course! Activities such as evening specific yoga or a wind down meditation are a great way to start slowing your central nervous system down. Spending some time on exercises that focus on stretching and working with your breathe will quieten your mind and body quite rapidly. They will also bring your awareness to the present moment and stop your mind wandering off. There are lots of free resources on YouTube and in apps to get you started.
My final tip is to approach your routine in a "non-striving" attitude. It's all good and well planning these relaxing activities into your evening but, if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed to complete them or disappointed if you don't, this will impact on their effectiveness. Why not try just one of them for a few weeks and see how it impacts your sleep?