It's essential to get a good night's sleep. But with our busy schedules and endless distractions, at what hour do we draw the line and tell our bodies it's time for rest? From slipping into a cute bra and panty set to sinking into a warm, steamy bath, it's important to unwind after a long day-especially as you head to bed. So when getting ready for bed, here's how to create an evening routine to convince your brain sleep is near.
Turn Down the Lights
As you get ready for bed, be sure to turn the lights down. Turn off your bedroom's main overhead light, which mimics the sun and tells your body it's still daytime. Instead, turn on nightstand lamps and smaller lamps like a reading light. This goes for the bathroom as well. Should you have to relieve yourself in the middle of the night, avoid turning the light on fully and use a dim night light to find your way around.
Put Down and Silence Electronics
This one is hard to do but critical. Our brains are wired to check every ping and chime our phones make, so make sure your phone is set to silent before the next morning. Most cell phones and handheld devices have night modes that allow you to choose a time to block notifications and pings. Also, any screen's blue light is terrible for your body's circadian rhythm as it suppresses melatonin, which you need for deep sleep. Instead, put down the phone (or any tech devices, for that matter) at least 30 minutes before going to bed. If you find yourself bored, replace it with a good book. Better yet, spend time with your partner and talk about each other's day. The same goes for television. Even if you love to watch late-night talk shows, never sleep with the television on. Our TVs keep our brains activated and listening, which makes us sleep lighter.
Take a Warm Bath
A warm bath can do wonders to relax you as you get ready for bed. And since you turned down the lights in the bathroom, use only a small diffuser or even a scented candle. And after hopping out of a relaxing bath, apply some moisturizer with a relaxing scent, such as lavender.
Slip into Some PJs
Find yourself the perfect pajamas to wear for bed. Great PJs not only feel luxurious, but they alert your body that it's almost time to hit the sheets.
Drink Some Soothing Tea
Sip on a warm cup of tea to soothe the mind and melt your troubles. Some of the best bedtime teas to help you sleep include chamomile, valerian root, lavender and lemon balm. Certain teas also help relieve anxiety after a long day, To get the most health benefits from these teas, place a saucer or flat object over the rim of your mug as the tea steeps to prevent volatile organic herbs from evaporating.
Calm the Mind
Do something that calms and relaxes the mind. It could be anything-from writing in a journal to jotting down tomorrow's to-do list. Meditation or prayer can also bring you back into a state of mindfulness and gratitude. If you need a tad bit more stimulation, pick up a book by your favorite author. In reference back to the screen dilemma, it's best to read from physical, paper books. Even though that Kindle is side lit and not backlit (like our phones), it's still blue. Yoga, Pilates and stretching are all fantastic ways to calm the mind, while also offering a low-key, gentle exercise before bedtime.