If you find yourself tossing and turning most nights instead of actually sleeping, you’re not alone. 82% of U.S. adults say they struggle with at least one sleepless night per week, which is enough to affect job performance and concentration.
What you need is a self-care night routine to help calm your mind and prepare your body for sleep. Just as children need a bedtime routine to help them wind down, adults probably need it more because of their added responsibilities.
Here are some tips on how you can focus on yourself at nighttime and encourage more visits from Mr. Sandman.
Ease into bedtime by enjoying a warm shower or bath followed by a bit of pampering. This may be giving yourself a facial or pedicure or using a massaging device to remove any tension. If you work outside of the home, prepare your lunch and decide what to wear to work the night before so you won’t be rushing around the next morning.
A common habit for many people at bedtime is to replay the entire day in their head and focus on the negative parts of it. Or we stay up half the night worrying about things that may never actually happen.
Meditation is a great self-care habit that clears your head and puts you in a positive state of mind for the following day. It can be as simple as focusing on your breathing, and it can help decrease stress levels and regulate your blood pressure.
There are plenty of self-guided meditations online that can help relax you into slumber. Give one a try tonight for better sleep.
Enjoy a Healthy Snack
If you grew up hearing that you shouldn’t eat anything before bedtime, it’s time to put that notion to, well, bed. While it’s true that you don’t want to consume anything that can keep you awake such as caffeine, sugar, or a heavy meal, a light, healthy snack can actually encourage you to fall asleep.
Choose foods that contain tryptophan, an amino acid that encourages serotonin production to help you feel sleepy. Good sources of tryptophan include milk, turkey, chicken, cheese, bananas, and pumpkin seeds. You may also find that a small serving of healthy carbs, such as popcorn or unsweetened oatmeal, can help you fall asleep.
Upgrade Your Bedding
Sleeping on the wrong mattress, pillow, and sheets can make it difficult to fall and stay asleep. Make sure your mattress and pillows are supportive or you could wake up with neck or back pain. This post offers tips on choosing the right pillow to prevent neck pain.
Make sleeping a luxurious experience by investing in pillowcases, sheets, and comforters that keep you cool and comfortable throughout the night.
Shut Off the Screens
Although it’s tempting to use your nighttime hours to catch up with your Instagram feed or video chat with friends, using mobile devices can actually prolong the time it takes for you to fall asleep. The blue light these screens give off can suppress your melatonin levels, tricking your body into thinking it’s still daylight.
Shut off your mobile devices at least an hour before turning in and read a book or journal instead. If you can’t stay away from the internet, invest in a pair of blue light blocking reading glasses to minimize the effect.
Establishing a Self-Care Night Routine Is So Worth It
It may take some time to experience results from establishing a self-care night routine but keep at it. In time your body will anticipate sleep and you’ll look forward to your self-care rituals every night.
For more tips on getting a good night’s rest, visit our Health section.