With life going back to normal, people heading back to the office resuming their busy routines both in work and in their social life, it’s no surprise that many of us are experiencing stress and burnout which can really affect our ability to get a good night’s sleep.
Experiencing feelings of stress and anxiety before bed is becoming much more common due to living in a world that seems to be switched on 24/7. This can cause a multitude of sleep problems and can wreak havoc on your mental and physical health. Here, Dr Naomi Newman-Beinart, psychologist and nutritionist reveals her top seven tips for winding down to ensure you have a good night sleep.
Remove all devices from your bedroom
This tip is the most obvious, and it is also the most important to adopt. Many studies have found that using digital devices right before you go to sleep increases your chances of having a broken sleep or leaves you struggling to get to sleep quickly. This is because these social media apps leave our brain feeling wired due to the types of content we view. Not only this, but the blue light emitted from the devices can also leave us feeling more awake than is ideal at bedtime.
If you feel stressed before bed, be it because of work or for any other reasons, the best thing you can do is give yourself one to two hours of zero screen time right before you plan to sleep. Try to get into the habit of switching off everything by 8pm and indulge in a bath or a book as this will help to calm your mind and allow it to slowly switch off naturally to allow for a good night’s sleep.
Meditation and breathwork
Meditation and breathwork are great ways to help calm and switch off the brain before bed. Breathwork is a holistic practice which is aimed at calming anxiety and reducing any feelings of stress or anguish. You can find many YouTube tutorials that will show you how to do breathwork, but essentially it is about slowing your breath and focussing on your breathing which allows you to clear your mind and pay closer attention to your body. Meditation is similar but is more focussed on clearing the mind completely. If you can do 15 minutes of meditation before bed you are more likely to fall asleep quickly due to emptying your mind of daily stresses.
Indulge in self care
If you are stressed in the evening, you should adopt a nightly self-care routine which will help you to wind down and relax before you head off to bed. Little rituals go a long way in making you feel calm and collected. Things like cooking a nutritious meal whilst listening to relaxing music, taking a long bubble bath with essential oils, lighting aromatherapy candles, indulging in a face mask or reading a book – these are all considered elements of self-care and promote relaxation.
Try herbal medicine
Herbal ingredients found in herbal teas and night-time supplements are an effective way to help calm and soothe your body and mind before you head to bed. Ingredients such as chamomile, lavender, lemon balm and mint are all known for their relaxing properties, and most can be found in household tea brands. Supplements which support mental wellbeing through ingredients such as ashwagandha, chamomile and lavender are also beneficial and are an easy way to to help reduce any evening stress. I like Pukkas Inner Peace capsules which include all three ingredients mentioned here.
Create a sleep sanctuary
Creating a relaxing and calming environment in your bedroom is key for allowing your mind to clear, reducing feelings of stress and anxiety. If you sleep in a messy room this only promotes a disorganised and messy mind itself and you may find it difficult to switch off or relax knowing you are in a room that looks and feels chaotic, it may also leave you feeling agitated and unsettled, which will make falling asleep even harder.
Try and keep the area you sleep in tidy and minimal. Use neutral colours for furnishings, keep the lights dim and try and not overwhelm the area with too much stuff, essentially. I would also opt for crisp white bed linen as this can trick your mind into thinking you’re in a hotel which may lead to better sleep. Light candles, try aromatherapy room diffusers and anything else you think will help you unwind.
Introduce CBD into your night-time routine
CBD is a fairly new concept but it has taken over the wellness world by storm and is now a part of many people’s nightly routine. A few drops of CBD oil on the tongue each evening can help you to relax and may relieve feelings of stress, anxiety and low mood, allowing for a good night sleep. I always recommend the I-cann peppermint CBD oil, blended with lemon balm to support relaxation and mental wellbeing.
Reading is the age old night-time activity that is guaranteed to relax your mind and send you off into a deep sleep. Swapping your phone for a book can have a huge impact on the quality of your sleep and allows your mind to switch off slowly as it only has to focus on one thing.
The act of reading naturally allows us to start feeling sleepy, and if you read in bed you may find that after just half an hour of reading you are starting to drift off. The transition from using your phone to reading a book may be hard at first, but with practice you might soon find that books become your best friend when it comes to creating a relaxing night-time routine.