7 Activities For a Good Night’s Sleep After a Stressful Day
Traveling all day or sitting in hectic meetings doesn’t make for a good night’s sleep — your mind is racing, and your body can’t settle. Maybe your shoulders are tight and your head is pounding, or perhaps you feel simultaneously sluggish and wound up. However stress affects your body, it’s a guarantee that falling asleep will be a hassle if you’re not relaxed. Don’t let insomnia add to your stress — try these activities to help wind down, both physically and mentally, for a good night’s rest.
Start Your Bedtime Routine Early
Allow sufficient time to unwind and get ready for bed. An hour or two before bedtime, prepare your room for a happy sleep atmosphere. Dim the lights, turn off your phone and TV, and read or write in a journal instead. Your body needs time to relax from the busy day you just had, so give it some time to do so.
Write It Down
Even if you aren’t a regular when it comes to a daily journal, having a pen and paper next to your bed can get those racing thoughts out and on paper. List all of the “to-dos” bogging you down so you can free your mind for sleep.
Perfect Your Timing
An intense workout before bedtime is only going to get your blood pumping and your body energized, not the opposite. Aim for a workout right after work, so your body has time to come down from the runner’s high.The same goes for caffeine and alcohol — don’t drink caffeine for at least six hours prior to going to sleep, in addition, alcohol has a stimulating effect that can lead to fitful sleep.
Get an App
Between programs that dim the blue light on your phone, provide white noise, or talk you through a pre-sleep meditation, there’s no shortage of sleep applications. Relax Melodies, for example, provides more than 50 ambient sounds to help you fall asleep— like ocean sounds, storm sounds, or birds chirping. Similar apps include Pzizz and White Noise. If you like to use an e-reader before bed, try apps like Twilight or F.lux. These apps block the blue light from your screen which sends day time signals to your brain and disturbs the sleep hormone, melatonin.
Take a Deep Breath
If white noise isn’t enough to quiet your mind and lull you to sleep, try meditation and breathing exercises. Relax and Sleep Well by Glenn Harrold is an app that offers various meditations to follow, narrated by Harrold’s soothing voice.
Rather than popping a sleeping pill, opt for a calming, sleepy time tea with chamomile, lemongrass, passionflower or Valerian root. You can also try aromatherapy with relaxing essentials oils, such as lavender, vetiver, or ylang ylang. Set them up with a diffuser in your room, or rub a few drops on your wrists, temples and neck.
Stretch It Out
To calm your body, perform a few yoga poses that help to stretch out tight muscles and clear your mind with intentional breathing. Opt for moves that release tension in the shoulders and hips, like child’s pose, or that send blood to the heart, like legs- up-the-wall pose.
For child’s pose, begin on your knees with your toes together and knees wide apart. Slide your hips and butt back to sit on your heels. Extend your arms out in front of you while resting your torso and head on the floor.
For legs-up-the-wall pose, lie on your back with your bottom near the wall. Lift your legs up to rest against the wall, forming a right angle with your body, the floor and the wall. Move your body toward the wall so that your bottom is inline and your legs are resting above you with support from the wall. Rest one hand on your belly and one on your heart; breathe.