One of the most surefire ways to be less stressed is to get more sleep. Really, it’s that simple. The trick is just to get your mind to stop running in a thousand different directions. So … maybe not that simple. Try these activities to get yourself in a sleep state of mind.
Lower your body temperature.
It’s much easier to sleep in a cool room, so turn the thermostat down a touch. And consider taking a warm bath. Yes, a warm one—the heat will bring blood flow to the surface of the skin, so when you get out, your core will be cooler. A review of research at the University of Texas found that people who took warm baths before bed fell asleep about 36% quicker.
Write down your worries.
Sleep journals have been popular for a while. The idea is that if you jot down your problems, they are freed from your mind, causing you to fall into peaceful slumber. It’s a perfectly fine way to clear your head. However, as a study at Baylor University found, it may actually be better to write a to-do list instead. Those who focused on the next day’s activities in their writing fell asleep faster than those who wrote about the previous day’s problems.
Create a technology-free room.
Put the phone down. Actually, put it down in another room. TVs, iPhones and other devices can just distract you from sleep, plus the blue light that comes from smartphones can actually interfere with your sleep schedule. If you ban all devices from your room and get an old-fashioned alarm clock, your circadian rhythm will thank you.
Turn off those lights.
Even a small amount of light can affect your sleep, so eliminate as much light as possible. If electronic devices are in another room, that’s a good start. Blackout curtains and a sleep mask help. An hour before bed, try dimming the lights around the house, as well; it will get your brain in the mood to snooze.
Get a professional involved.
If your sleep is still troublesome, ask for help. NCH has a unit called the Sleep Center that can help with insomnia, snoring, sleep apnea and more. Visit nchmd.org for more information.