13 Proven Relaxing Bedtime Rituals You Need Right Now
Do you suffer from sleep disorders? Do you go to bed tired but find yourself just laying there, wide awake for hours? Well, maybe you need a good bedtime routine. That’s right. Just like a baby, we crave routines to get us through the day but we often don’t use them.
Getting into the habit of doing something before bed each and every night can seriously help you get a better night’s sleep. So why not do it? Relaxing bedtime rituals are proven to calm your mind and body and prepare you for the much needed rest ahead. So check out some of these and see which one sounds like a good fit for you.
I’ve compiled this well researched list of different things you can do to create your very own relaxing bedtime rituals for women as well as men. They work for everyone!
Studies show that technology and screen time seriously affects our sleeping patterns and makes for some not so healthy issues. To give you a better idea of how this happens let’s talk about how our brains prepare to go to sleep in the first place.
As it gets dark, our bodies create something called melatonin. The creation of this chemical signals our brains that it’s nighttime and then we start to become sleepy.
But when we stare at a bright screen the melatonin production is delayed and forces us to fall off our sleep schedules. Especially so if you have screen time right before bed. And let’s face it, nowadays, we all have a smartphone, tablet, or computer that we take to bed with us.
To remedy this, try shutting down all devices about two hours before bedtime. I know, it sounds hard. We have this desire to be constantly connected. But I assure you, the sound sleep you get in return is well worth the sacrifice.
On a separate note, but still under the umbrella of technology, if you have a wireless router or wireless devices in your bedroom, consider moving hem to a different location. WiFi signals produce no sound, but they do give off an invisible tone that affects our brains and bodies. It can disturb sleep and even cause insomnia.
Bet you thought this was a myth. Well, think again! It’s scientifically proven that warm milk does help you sleep. But it’s not simply the milk that does the job, it’s something called tryptophan. It’s a hormone found in milk products and can also be purchased in prescription form.
But to make it easier, and to avoid a trip to the doctor for a prescription, just warm up a nice cup of milk about 30 minutes before bed and the tryptophan will spread through your body and stimulate the production of melatonin. And if you’ve been listening, melatonin is the is the natural chemical required to induce sleep.
For the best results, go for the fattiest milk you can manage. The fattier the better because it contains a heavier dose of tryptophan. But if you’re not a big milk drinker, and don’t want to fuss around with prescriptions pills, there is one other things with tryptophan.
Turkey. Yep, that’s right. There’s a reason why Thanksgiving results in a major couch coma. Turkey is lousy with tryptophan. Now, this isn’t exactly the ideal bedtime snack, but as a last resort, chow down some turkey meat a couple of hours before bed.
This is probably one of the most common relaxing bedtime rituals that have ever existed. And for good reason. A nice, warm bath does the body good. You can literally soak your worries away while loosening up any tight muscles.
This is great for those who work a tough and physically demanding job. If you go to bed with tight and achy muscles, it can be difficult to fall asleep and stay that way throughout the night. And often, you can wake feeling worse than when you went to bed.
But it’s not just the warm water that helps lull you into bedtime mode. Adding scents to the water can help speed up the process. Try and steer clear of perfume filled scents and bubble baths, though as they can irritate your skin with frequent use.
Instead, aim for some natural, essential oils. Ones like camomile and lavender work the best. That’s why a lot of baby products are infused with these smells. They both come from a plants and are used to make oils, tea, lotions, and dried flower products. All of these can help you when trying to create some sort of sleeping routine.
No, this doesn’t mean you should book a massage with your local massage therapist before bed each night. But it does mean that taking the time to nurture your skin and rub your muscles can definitely help create a bedtime ritual to help you rest.
If you’ve got a partner who’s nice enough to help you out and even rub your feet, it’s better than nothing. But try and target the key areas such as the lower back, shoulders, neck, and feet. Especially if you have a demanding day job.
Using the aid of the scents I mentioned earlier, like chamomile and lavender, in your oils and/or lotions, you can give yourself a little bedtime boost and kick start the night time routine. Pair it with a warm bath first and a glass of warm milk afterward, and you could have yourself one heck of a bedtime ritual.
A good massage stimulates blood flow and loosens all of your muscles so that you can fall into a comfortable sleep. Nothing wrong with that, if you ask me!
I’m serious when I say this. Meditation works. You just have to do it right for it to be effective. You can’t properly meditate in a loud, bright, and busy environment. So when you’re using meditation to create a sleep ritual, there’s three main techniques that will work the best.
This sounds simple, but it takes a lot of focus and patience. About an hour before bed, find a quiet and dark space and situate yourself in either a lying or comfortable seating position. Then begin to slow your breathing and concentrate on it. In and out. In and out. Over and over like that until you begin to feel your body calming and lulling into sleep mode.
You could also try guided imagery. This technique involves you doing the same as above, but rather than focus on your breathing, flip through a slideshow in your mind of calming, soothing, and positive images. It could be memories, goals, or even sheep. Whatever works.
And lastly, you can try the counting method. Yes, literally like counting sheep. Crawl into bed and get yourself in a sleep position. Close your eyes and starting with your toes, tighten the muscle and count to ten. Then move up your body, muscle by muscle and repeat the process.
This may seem counterproductive, but it really does work. Just make sure it’s reading an actual printed book and not something on a screen like your smartphone or an ereader. Curl up in bed with all your comfy pillows and warm blankets and settle in for a few chapters.
Shouldn’t it do the opposite because it stimulates your brain? Nah, you’d think so but it really doesn’t. It makes you sleepy because as your eyes are focusing on the tiny words and moving across the page line after line, the muscles around your eyes grow tired and begin to force closed.
And if a hefty work of fiction isn’t your thing, anything will do. A magazine, biography, newspaper, product labels, etc. Well, maybe not product labels. But then again…
I know, I know. You probably make fun of those who use sound machines. If not, then you probably don’t know what they are. Have you ever seen or heard of those little devices that sit next to the bed and produce the sounds of crashing waves, chirping crickets, or even whale calls? Yeah, those things.
But laugh not! They work for a lot of people and could work for you. Sometimes, trying to fall asleep in a dead quiet room is worse than trying to do so in a loud one. The quiet is unsettling and there’s nothing to sooth the brain.
So try your hand at a sound machine. Get one that offers different sounds so you can test them out and see which one, if any, work for you. They produce what some call “white noise” and help to create a steady rhythm of sorts. It’s a way to lull yourself to sleep and to help prevent waking in the middle of the night from a random noise in the otherwise quiet house.
I love yoga, I’m a huge fan. It’s commonly used as a form of exercising but it can actually be used in a bedtime ritual, as well. Just make sure not to do any moves that stimulate your body rather than relax it.
To start off, try the corpse pose. Sounds morbid, I know. But it’s basically you just laying in a completely flat position, on your back, arms at your sides and feet together. Hold the position and close your eyes as you concentrate on your breathing.
Next, try the child’s pose. This require you to rest on your knees and then lowers your body down and forward so your head touches the floor in front of you as you stretch your arms out across the floor.
And lastly, give the forward pose a try. Sit on the floor or your bed in an cross legged position. Then lower your body and head down to the floor/bed while stretching your arms out.
Yoga for sleep is a great way to relax your body and mind at the same time and prepare yourself for a good night’s rest while helping to relieve any anxiety/stress left over from the day. I highly recommend it.
So, you may not know this, but temperature plays a big role in how well you sleep and also how easily you fall asleep. This is because, as humans, we’re programmed to lower our body temperature at night. So if you’re trying to go to bed in a super warm room, you may not have the best of luck.
About an hour before bed, turn down your bedroom’s thermostat to about 60 degrees. Yes, this may seem chilly, but remember that you’re going to be crawling under warms blankets for the night. Your body’s temperature will rise after a few minutes of being bundled up.
So by making sure to keep your room nice and cool each night before bed, you’re inadvertently creating a sleep routine for yourself but setting the perfect atmosphere for sleeping.
This is one of my favorites. I can’t go to bed without a good cup of tea. Now, with that being said, you should be picky over the types of tea you choose. Steer clear of anything with caffeine in it, for obvious reasons. The effects of caffeine can last up to 15 hours for some people.
But tea brewed from things like camomile, hops, and rooibos are great kinds for helping you sleep. They’re warm, soothing, and contain agents to stimulate sleep hormones. So try settling in for the night with a good cup of tea after your bath, massage, and yoga.
Just like the effects of a sound machine, music can help you in trying to create a relaxing bedtime ritual. Again, it produces a white noise in the room and a constant rhythm to hypnotize your brain.
Just avoid loud, fast tempo music and try your hand with some classical and instrumental music. Think of it like a baby’s musical mobile above their bed. It really does work.
Sometimes, we crawl into bed after performing a few routines and then suddenly everything we need to do rushes to the front of your mind and you can’t sleep, no matter how hard you try.
To avoid this, about an hour before bed, sit down and create a to-do list for the next day. Everything that you can possibly think of. This way, it’s all out of your head, on paper, and ready for you in the morning. Then you can go to bed and not have to think about it.
We sleep the best in super dark rooms and cool temperatures. So, if the city lights are blaring in through the curtains, or your room is brightly lit by some sort of light then you’re going to have a problem. Try creating a routine where you double check that the bedroom is secure and dark.
Turn off any lamps, hallway lights, or small annoying lights from devices. Close the curtains and/or blinds or invest in a set of great blackout drapes. Lock it down before bed and you won’t be laying there, unable to fall asleep because of the light that’s stimulating your brain and blocking the release of melatonin.
Did you enjoy this list of great relaxing bedtime routines? I’ve tried just about all of them, and swear by most. So, remember, the most important things to consider are light, temperature, soothing sounds, and relaxing your body.
Making sure you get adequate and restful sleep is crucial to your health. So try some of these ideas and start sleeping better. If you’ve tried any of these or have some to add to the list, feel free to comment and share below!