You hear it everywhere — you need to get more sleep! I can't disagree. Sleep makes me happier and more energized. It helps me run faster and eat cleaner.
Sleep clears up my skin, it helps with my anxiety and leads to greater overall focus and productivity in the office the next day.
Over the last few years, I've prioritized sleep. I have often found myself choosing it over a social life.
I've noticed a world of difference, and I envy people who can run on little to no sleep, because I'm now lost without it.
Forcing myself to lay down in my bed early is my key to getting more sleep, but I still often fight against a racing mind that is tracking everything I didn't do throughout the day.
Over the last few years, I've developed a few habits that have quieted my mind and made me fall straight to sleep the moment my head hits the pillow. No more counting sheep for me.
Here's some foolproof routines that can make you catch quality ZZZs faster:
1. Put down the phone.
This is a struggle for our generation, as we often justify our bedtime ritual of Candy Crush and Instagram stalking by saying it will make us drowsy.
However, the blue and white lights given off by phones (or any screen for that matter) prevent your brain from releasing melatonin, the hormone that tells your body it's time for sleep.
Set your alarm, then put it down for the night. The lack of bright light will make you fall asleep faster.
If you worry someone might need to contact you in an emergency, set your phone to Do Not Disturb, so that if someone calls multiple times it'll ring.
2. Drink a cup of tea.
Herbal tea is soothing and mentally relaxes you before you settle in under your blankets for the evening. Chamomile tea is a natural sleep aid and ginger tea can settle your stomach.
This can also deter you from late night eating, which is a habit that can leave you restless at bedtime.
3. Write down your thoughts every night.
This is a great replacement for that phone time you are cutting out.
Most people are vulnerable and undistracted before bed. Thus, a perfect time for worries and anxiety to hit.
In order to silence your conscious and stop your racing mind from keeping you awake throughout the night, sit in your bed and write down three things that you are grateful for.
You'll go to sleep reflecting on these, rather than letting the negatives take over. A relaxed mind leads to a relaxed body. A relaxed body means immediate and restful sleep.
4. Invest in some lavender products for your bedroom.
Lavender soothes sore muscles and relaxes nervous tension. Perfect way to zen out before bed.
Throw a few drops of lavender essential oil in a diffuser next to your bed, give yourself a mini massage with lavender lotion, take a hot bath with Epsom salt and lavender bubble bath, or spray your pillow with a lavender essential oil/water blend to calm your mind and body.
Not to mention, it smells amazing in and of itself.
5. Learn some basic yoga moves.
Practice a short restorative yoga sequence before bed. Be sure to focus on the hips and back, where most people subconsciously hold tension from the day.
This restorative practice quiets your mind and relaxes your muscles – which makes you extremely sleepy.
6. Hit the lights.
Simply put, the darker it is, the faster you will fall asleep. Turn off all your lights (including your phone, computer and TV) and close your blinds to get ready to drift to sleep.