I posted an article last week on my top things to do in the morning for a great start to the day and had a really positive response from it, so I decided to continue along that thread and share my tips for the best things to do to prepare for sleep time. Again, these are just my thoughts and what works for me.
Go to Bed Earlier
Most of us don’t get enough sleep and even if we get the right number of hours, if you go to bed too late and wake up too late you won’t feel as rested, so try to go to bed around the same time every night. I aim for 9:30 but usually it ends up being 10.
To start the wind down process, lie down in bed on your back and take 10 deep breaths in and out. Try counting to four with each inhale and exhale. This will help to calm your system, oxygenate your body and relax your mind. A great thing to do to prepare your body for sleep
Cut the Caffeine
I try not to have any coffee after midday, but most experts say after 2-3pm. Caffeine can have lingering effects and can keep you up at night. Instead, try a nice relaxing cup of chamomile tea before bed
Start the fast
Try to have dinner 2-3 hours before you want to go to bed. This gives your body time to digest everything you it can rest properly at night. It also means you’re less likely to need to get up to go to the toilet during the night. Don’t have dinner too far in advance though and certainly don’t skip dinner as you’ll run the risk of going to bed hungry.
Some people find a shower at night wakes them up, other people find it relaxing. Either way, at least make sure you wash your face. If you wear makeup, remove this first and then cleanse (yes, these are two seperate steps). Your skin actually has many functions to perform at night. Fully cleansed skin will be able to perform better, releasing toxins, dirt and oil trapped in pores. You’ll notice pretty quickly your complexion will look better, clearer, more even, and you’ll have less breakouts.
Switch it off
The nights I notice I am the worst at getting to sleep and wake up the next morning feeling awful are the night I use my phone too late. Put your phone away at least an hour before you want to go to sleep. The blue light keeps your brain awake and will stop you from switching off. You can activate ‘night shift’ now on iPhones which emits a yellow light instead of a blue light but I still think in the interest of winding down, it’s best to put the phone away and not get tied up in e-mail, Facebook notifications or other things.
I always have a book on the go because I find this is the absolute best thing to help me switch off at night. I don’t read much, usually just 1 chapter a night, but it’s enough to help me disengage from my day in a passive way so that I don’t just get overstimulated by something else. Keep the lighting just bright enough to be able to ready without straining your eyes but not so bright that it keeps you fully alert. Invest in a dimmer or a lamp for your night stand if necessary.
Finally, before you go to sleep, write down anything that’s come into your mind that you need to do the following day. That way you can rest easy in the knowledge that you won’t forget it but you don’t need to think about it for now.
It might seem like a mammoth list of unachievable things but if you take it one week at a time, adding a new challenge each week, it’ll be so easy and you’ll reap the rewards.