Do you lie in bed wide awake at night, tossing and turning because your body just won’t shut down? Not getting enough zzzs could impair your concentration, delay your body’s reactions to different stimuli, and make you prone to depression—among other risks. But don’t despair; if you regularly have trouble falling asleep, there are different strategies you can try that should make it easier to doze off once you get under the covers.
1. Make your bedroom a sleep-only zone.
The bedroom is obviously where you keep your bed—but some people also like to keep a TV, computer, etc. in the room as well. Stimulating activities such as watching television, finishing up the day’s work from the office, or even eating a meal in bed aren’t conducive to falling asleep. Save the bedroom for rest (and intimacy) only; this way, your body will associate the room with this sacred activity.
2. Stick to a regular, calming pre-bedtime ritual.
Having a before-bedtime routine is an important part of making your body ready for sleep; it can include taking a warm bath (see no. 4), washing your face, brushing your hair and teeth, reading, listening to soft music, etc. If you repeat the same actions every night before going to bed, it will give you time to relax and get mentally prepared to rest—giving your body a cue that it’s almost time for bed.
3. Make an effort to go to bed at the same time every day.
Again, this will help your body develop a habit of going into “pre-sleep mode” at around the same time every day. If you always go to bed at the same time (whether it’s a week day or the week-end) you will start to feel tired around the same hour every night.
4. Take a warm bath before you go to bed.
Taking a warm bath is a great way to relax your whole body; while the hot water helps to relieve any tense muscles you may have, it also puts you in a drowsy state, making it easier to doze off almost as soon as you plop down on your bed.
Tip: For an extra-calming bath experience, add a capful of a lavender-scented bubble bath to the water. This delicate purple flowering plant is said to have calming effects—on top of smelling absolutely marvelous—and is often used as sleep aid.
5. Drink a cup of warm milk with honey.
This one may sound like a bedtime tradition your grandma passed down, but milk actually contains tryptophan, an amino acid that helps the brain produce serotonin, a chemical that relaxes your body. Plus, the action of drinking warm liquid also results in a slight increase in body temperature—causing you to feel drowsy and making it easier to fall asleep.