As a new mom, I had a lot of trouble sleeping. I would have no energy during the day, and then lay down in bed at night and I could just not fall asleep. Some nights I would just be wide awake. Other nights I would be exhausted, but I could not get my mind to stop racing. All of the sudden, everything that I should have done during the day would pop into my head. Everything that I needed to get done tomorrow would just seem overwhelming. On top of all of that, the fact that I was not asleep was frustrating in itself.
I took to Facebook, blog posts, parenting books, and asking other moms for tips. I haven’t found anything to stop the ongoing to-do lists in my head, but I did find some great ways to relax before bed. Taking the time to set up a bedtime routine for yourself is important. You will be more rested, more relaxed, and more ready to tackle each day when you wake up. Find what works and stick with it. Just like all babies do better with a bedtime routine, so do their parents.
Here are some things to try to help you relax before bed:
Turn off the electronics
Studies have shown that our electronic devices emit blue light that disrupts our ability to sleep. It seems nice to sit and relax on your social media before bed, but in actuality you are just keeping yourself awake longer and decreasing the quality of your sleep. Try turning off the screens 30 minutes to an hour before bed.
Legs up the wall
Yoga in general is a great tool for relaxing your mind and body. You can add yoga into your daily routine to wake you up in the morning and to help you to fall asleep at night. The legs up the wall yoga pose is great for calming your nervous system and helping you to relax. This pose gives you all of the mind/body benefits of an inverted yoga pose without the effort! Try laying in this position for several minutes before bed to relax mentally and physically.
Exercise in the morning
This one have a couple of sides to it. As we all learned in Legally Blonde, exercising releases endorphins, and endorphins make us happy. These endorphins also have the added benefit of keeping us awake and energized. By exercising in the morning, you are starting your day off right and getting a little extra boost. You will also likely be a little more tired at night from the extra energy that you spent. When you exercise at night, you are releasing all of those endorphins and extra energy at a time when you don’t want them. Think about re-organizing your daily routine to maximize energy during the day and restfulness at night. Having healthy habits in general will help your body to function better during the day and rest better at night.
Use essential oils
There are many essential oils and blends that are meant to calm and help you sleep. I use a lavender blend in the diffuser by my bed. Some good ones to try are Lavender Essential Oil , Ylang Ylang Oil, Lemon Oil, Sandalwood Oil , Bergamot Oil, and Jasmine Oil. If you don’t want to use a diffuser you can mix an oil with water to make a sheet spray or mix with lotion. Be sure to check if your oil is approved for topical use before doing either of these.
Drink a cup of tea
There are plenty of sleepy time teas on the market. They are usually mild in flavor and contain a blend of herbs designed to help calm you. In general, any non-caffeinated tea will help to soothe and relax you as you get ready for bed. I tend to drink a DeTox Tea while we watch tv at night.
Spend time in bed before going to sleep
Some people (my husband!) just lay down in bed at night and are out within mere moments. If you’re not one of those lucky people – which you’re probably not because you are reading this post – then it can be hard to just lay down and expect to go to sleep. Try spending 15 minutes or so in bed before you try to go to sleep. Make sure that you are doing something just to unwind like reading, journaling, or some light pillow talk.
Reading is a great way to take your mind off everything around you. A great book can help you escape reality and dive into a story for a while. A magazine, newspaper, or journal can have some great articles to help use the time to educate yourself. If nothing else, reading is something that you can do in bed to relax that doesn’t involve any electronics.
I use a Prayer Journall (or try to…sometimes my intentions are better than my habits), and I find that it really helps me to relax when I spend sometime with myself and God before bed. You could also try this Journal for Self-Exploration, this Creative Mindfulness Guide and Journal, or just a book of blank pages. Whatever works best for you, journaling is a nice way to wrap up your day, clear your mind, and relax before bed.
Limit coffee intake during the day
This is one that I am definitely guilty of. When you are tired during the day, you drink more coffee, the coffee keeps you awake at night, and then you wake up even more tired the next day…calling for more coffee. See how this can easily turn into a vicious circle? Limiting your coffee drinking during the day may help you sleep better at night, leading to less reliance on the caffeine to keep you going. If you are a coffee lover (raises hand, “me, me!”), keep your coffee earlier in the day so that you can use up the energy. Your best bet is to limit yourself to one or two cups and keep them more than 8 hours before bedtime.
How do you relax to get better sleep?
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