Seven tips to help you wind down before bed – and sleep better

Do you ever struggle to feel calm and relaxed before bed?

Sometimes, no matter how tired we are, when it comes to switching off the lights and settling down for the night, our brains just won’t play ball.

It’s a consequence of busy schedules, hectic work calendars, and the day-to-day stress we all carry around with us – and it can have a really detrimental impact on our sleep.

Experiencing feelings of stress and anxiety before bed is a worryingly common phenomenon, and it can trigger a multitude of sleep problems and can wreak havoc on your mental and physical health – but there are things you can do to help.

Dr Naomi Newman-Beinart, psychologist and nutritionist, has shared her top seven tips for winding down to ensure you have a good night’s sleep:

Remove all devices from your bedroom

‘This tip is the most obvious, but it is also the most important tip to adopt,’ says Dr Naomi. ‘Many studies have found that using digital devices right before you go to sleep increases your chances of having a broken sleep or leaves you struggling to get to sleep quickly. This is because these social media apps leave our brain  feeling wired due to the types of content we view.’

She adds that the blue light emitted from the devices can also leave us feeling more awake than we would want at bedtime.

‘If you feel stressed before bed, be it because of work or for any other reasons, the best thing you can do is give yourself 1-2 hours of zero screen time right before you plan to sleep.

‘Try to get into the habit of switching off everything by 8pm and indulge in a bath or a book as this will help to calm your mind and allow it to slowly switch off naturally to allow for a good night’s sleep.’

Meditation and breathwork

Meditation and breathwork are great ways to help calm and switch off the brain before bed. But what does that actually look like?

‘Breathwork is a holistic practice which is aimed at calming anxiety and reducing any feelings of stress or anguish,’ says Dr Naomi. ‘You can find many YouTube tutorials that will show you how to do breathwork, but essentially it is about slowing your breath and focusing on your breathing which allows you to clear your mind and pay closer attention to your body.

‘Meditation is similar but is more focused on clearing the mind completely. If you can do 15 minutes of meditation before bed you are more likely to fall asleep quickly due to emptying your mind of daily stresses.’

Indulge in self care

If you are stressed in the evening, Dr Naomi suggests adopting a nightly self-care routine which will help you to wind down and relax before you head off to bed.

‘Little rituals go a long way in making you feel calm and collected,’ she says.

‘Things like cooking a nutritious meal whilst listening to relaxing music, taking a long bubble bath with essential oils, lighting aromatherapy candles, indulging in a face mask or reading a book – these are all considered elements of self-care and promote relaxation.’

Try herbal medicine

‘Herbal ingredients found in herbal teas and nighttime supplements are an effective way to help calm and soothe your body and mind before you head to bed,’ says Dr Naomi.

‘Ingredients such as chamomile, lavender, lemon balm and mint are all known for their relaxing properties, and most can be found in household tea brands.

‘Supplements which support mental wellbeing through ingredients such as ashwagandha, chamomile and lavender are also beneficial and an easy way to to help reduce any evening stress. I like Pukkas Inner Peace capsules which include all three ingredients mentioned here.’

Create a sleep sanctuary

Creating a relaxing and calming environment in your bedroom is key for allowing your mind to clear, reducing feelings of stress and anxiety.

Dr Naomi adds that if you sleep in a messy room, this can promote a disorganised and messy mind.

‘You may find it difficult to switch off or relax knowing you are in a room that looks and feels chaotic, it may also leave you to feel agitated and unsettled which will make falling asleep even harder,’ she explains.

‘Try to keep the area you sleep in tidy and minimal. Use neutral colors for furnishings, keep the lights dim and try and not overwhelm the area with too much stuff, essentially.

‘I would also opt for crisp white bed linen as this can trick your mind into thinking you’re in a hotel which may lead to a better sleep. Light candles, try aromatherapy room diffusers and anything else you think will help you unwind.’

Introduce CBD into your night time routine

‘CBD is a fairly new concept but it has taken the wellness world by storm and is now a part of many people’s nightly routine,’ says Dr Naomi.

She suggests a few drops of CBD oil on the tongue each evening to help you to relax.

‘It may relieve feelings of stress, anxiety and low mood, allowing for a good night sleep,’ she says. ‘I always recommend the I-cann peppermint CBD oil, blended with lemon balm to support relaxation and mental wellbeing.’

Read

Step away from the TV remote and pick up a book instead.

‘Reading is the age-old nighttime activity that is guaranteed to relax your mind and send you off into a deep sleep,’ says Dr Naomi.

‘Swapping your phone for a book can have a huge impact on the quality of your sleep and allows your mind to switch off slowly as it only has to focus on one thing.

‘The act of reading naturally allows us to start feeling sleepy, and if you read in bed you may find that after just half an hour of reading you are starting to drift off.

‘The transition from using your phone to reading a book may be hard at first, but with practice you might soon find that books become your best friend when it comes to creating a relaxing night time routine.’

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