A good night’s sleep is one of the most critical, yet difficult to achieve parts of a daily wellness routine. Between the demands of work, family and our busy schedules, most of us aren’t getting the recommended eight hours of sleep per night. That’s why it’s so important to be able to fall asleep as quickly as possible after getting into bed. If you spend more than four nights per week tossing and turning, you may want to visit your doctor to make sure you’re not suffering from a serious condition like insomnia or ADHD. If you occasionally struggle with stressful thoughts or anxious feelings that keep you up at night, it’s time to get serious about the sleep your body needs.
Turn your bedroom into a sanctuary
Your journey to a restful night begins the moment you walk into your bedroom. If the color on the walls, window treatments or bed covers makes you feel anything but calm and relaxed, consider replacing them with soothing earth tones. A quality mattress and sheets with a high thread count are expensive but they deliver a nightly return on your investment. If you live on a busy street or have a partner who snores, a sound machine can blur out jarring noises and help you calm your active mind. In extreme noise situations, ear plugs work wonders. Diffusing essential oils such as lavender, vanilla or sandalwood can bring on a sense of calm and removing your TV will eliminate a major distraction so you can focus on sleep.
Make some changes to your diet
When you don’t sleep well at night, it’s easy to overcompensate with caffeine in the morning to get you going and sugar during the day to carry you through, but caffeine and sugar can leave you feeling wired at the end of the day. When you feel wired in the evening, it’s easier to give in to the temptation of a relaxing glass of wine to help you calm down. That means more empty calories in your diet and more lethargy in the morning. Alcohol is a depressant, and while it may seem contradictory to cut back on something that makes you sleepy, studies show it’s a great way to help you fall asleep faster. You’ll also want to add more foods to your diet that are rich in magnesium such as legumes and seeds, dark leafy green vegetables, wheat bran, almonds, cashews and whole grains. Snacking on these healthy options throughout the day will help you cut back on sugar which can reduce inflammation and soothe chronic pain that can keep you up at night or disrupt your sleep.
Add CBD to your after-dinner relaxation ritual
Falling asleep is like studying for a test. It’s best to spread out the process instead of cramming at the last minute. Start with a relaxing cup of herbal tea after dinner. If you don’t like tea, try hot water with a squeeze of lemon – the idea is to drink something warm and without caffeine that forces you to slow down and give your digestive system time to do its work. A hot bath or shower will relax your tired muscles and enable you to literally and figuratively wash away the stress and anxiety of the day. Once you’ve put on your most comfortable pajamas, now is the perfect time for some Relax CBD before you kick back on the couch. Instead of watching television, try doing some pleasure reading – just be sure to save the suspenseful thrillers for the weekend.
Consider a natural sleep aid
After an hour or so of pleasure reading, you should start to feel yourself getting drowsy. If that’s not happening, and your usual bedtime is still an hour or so away, consider taking a natural sleep aid like melatonin, magnesium, valerian or magnolia bark. All of these supplements are available at specialty vitamin or wellness stores and are a natural alternative to over-the-counter or prescription sleep aids that can become habit-forming.
Once you’re in bed, try guided imagery to calm your active mind
Guided imagery is a relaxation tactic recommended by the National Sleep Foundation. Your brain is in charge of putting your body in position to fall asleep. Guided imagery is a way to help your brain along by focusing on pleasant images or situations and exploring them in detail until you fall asleep. For example, let’s say one of your favorite activities is going to the beach. After you’ve pulled up the covers, imagine you’re lying on your favorite beach. Picture the gritty feel of the warm sand between your toes, listen for the sound of the waves gently lapping the shore (this is where a sound machine is a great tool) and a seagull or two in the distance. You may also hear children laughing or the rhythmic clatter of palm fronds rubbing against each other in the breeze. The idea is to occupy your mind with as many pleasant, calming thoughts as possible and push all anxious thoughts away until you fall asleep.
Still can’t sleep? Get out of bed and restart the relaxation process
Your brain is just like a computer, sometimes the best thing you can do is reboot. If your attempts at guided imagery are being overpowered by thoughts of work or other stressful situations in your life, don’t waste time tossing and turning. The best thing to do when you’re feeling restless in bed is to get up, go to a different part of the house and try to work out your anxiety in a more proactive way. Instead of working, turning on the TV or checking social media, try journaling. Journaling is a great way to work through your challenges and how they make you feel. As you write, you may find yourself putting together a plan that helps you feel better about the new day ahead and more amenable to sleep. Once you’ve emptied your mind on paper, you can literally close the book on your stress and go back to bed.
Of course, one of the best things you can do to put yourself in the best position to fall asleep at night is to incorporate relaxation techniques throughout your day. The more you can do to manage your stress and control your to-do list, the better you’ll feel about yourself and your accomplishments at the end of the day. Feeling good physically and emotionally is the key to falling asleep faster and staying asleep longer.