Top 10 Pre-sleep Rituals
Developing certain habits before going to bed is soothing, helps you relax, sleep better, and improves your quality of sleep. Here are some pre-sleep rituals that communicate to your body that it’s time to slow down and prepare you for restful sleep.
1. Try to go to bed at the same time every day of the week. Keeping a regular sleep schedule helps your body to expect sleep at the same time each day.
2. Have a light snack before bed. Foods containing the amino acid “tryptophan”, such as milk, bananas, turkey and peanuts help you relax.
3. Take a hot bath or shower before bed. This will raise your body temperature. As it begins to fall, the drop in body temperature will make you sleepy.
4. Attend to your personal hygiene. Traditional nightly rituals such as brushing and flossing your teeth; cleaning, cleansing and moisturizing your skin; and brushing your hair before bed is indispensable.
5. Use comfortable bedding and therapeutic pillows. And try sleeping with a blanket or quilt that is special to you. Designating a blanket as “special” or “healing” provides feelings of comfort and security and encourages sleep.
6. Prepare your body for sleep by having a cup of caffeine-free tea, reading a book, writing in a journal, or practicing relaxation techniques. Deep breathing or visualization exercises will help your brain to adjust to sleep.
7. Create a relaxing atmosphere with proper lighting. Turn down the lights or use soft lighting such as lava lamps, night-lights or candles (in a safe place) – they can have a soporific effect. Or black out lighting completely by wearing an eye mask.
8. Play soft background music or try listening to recorded relaxation sounds such as falling rain or a babbling brook. Guided imagery programs are also helpful.
9. Use aromatic oils. Burning essential oils in a diffuser or adding a few drops to a hot bath can help you sleep. Better yet, try marrying the use of oils with another great sleep ritual - the massage – what better way to drift off?
10. Leave your worries behind when you go to bed. Help your body recognize that your bed is a place for rest by not engaging in worrisome thoughts.