I love to sleep; it’s one of my favorite hobbies.
More than that, I truly appreciate my chance to unwind after a long day. But we all have nights where we spend what feels like twenty hours tossing and turning trying to fall asleep. Nothing feels comfortable; you hear every noise from your neighbors; you’re thinking about that one time in high school when you thought your crush waved at you and you waved back, but he was actually waving at someone behind you.
And then you play the game of staring at your phone, calculating exactly how many minutes of sleep you would get if you fell asleep in that moment. But you never do because now you’re stressing over the fact that you still aren’t asleep.
This is awful. This is the worst!
If this is something that happens to you, then have no fear! Like I said, I love to sleep, and I have many tricks that I use to unwind in the evening so that I am ready for bed. Check out my six tips for a restful sleep below:
Disclosure: Please keep in mind that many of the links provided below are affiliate links which means that I am compensated if you do decide to make a purchase. Whether or not you do so is completely up to you!
1. Drink a hot beverage
This is the first thing that I do when I start to wind down for the night. I prefer to drink decaffeinated tea, but I also enjoy drinking straight-up hot water (after it has cooled a bit, obviously).
I find that drinking something that is hot calms my body down after a busy day, and it really helps me relax my mind in the hour or so before I’m going to sleep. I’ve seen this done in movies with glasses of warm milk for children who can’t sleep. Same concept, really! There are so many yummy choices to choose from!
2. Listen to music that makes you feel peaceful and comfortable
I have a little bit of a secret obsession with 2+ hour studying/relaxation music compilations on YouTube. I collect A LOT of them, and there are so many variations available completely for free! There are certain videos that I play while I work and certain videos that I play while I am trying to relax such as this one or this one or this one (YouTube user, Ambient Worlds is the real MVP. All of his/her mixes are so. good.)
The best part is that some of them are hours long, so they function perfectly as background noise and are so relaxing! Choose some music that resonates with you and brings you the warm fuzzies! Music from your favorite films or TV shows work perfectly for this!
The music itself will very much depend on the person. You could even opt for ambient noise like a thunderstorm or ocean waves. I find that something without words can really do wonders to help me unwind at night. It’s honestly a favorite part of my routine that I look forward to. It makes me love bedtime!
I–like many people–spend a lot of time sitting down. By the end of the day, my body tends to feel really stiff; especially on those days when I am so busy that I am sitting for hours at a time with no breaks.
It’s so important to get up and move your body periodically throughout the day, and even more important stretch before you sleep! Stretching helps keep you limber and prevents discomfort; both during sleep and when you are awake! You don’t need to be a yogi or do anything too challenging. There are even plenty of YouTube videos with stretching routines that can be done in bed!
I find that stretching out my back, hips, and shoulders really make me relax. I tend to stay awake longer when I’m feeling tension in my muscles, so make sure you are stretching out before you head to bed!
This is a biggie for me personally.
I find that any night where I am restless and unable to sleep is one where I have a million thoughts running through my head. I used to leave work, go home, and then stay up well into the night playing out tons of work-related scenarios in my head. Should I have said this? Should I have done that?
I knew that I needed to find a way to store my thoughts away for the night so that I could sleep and come back to them at a later time.
The best way for me to dump all of my thoughts somewhere so that I can sleep peacefully was to start journaling. By simply writing everything down, you are working through your complete stream of consciousness; you are working through your issue.
Personally, I find writing to be incredibly therapeutic–it’s one of the reasons why I started a blog! It’s also why simply writing your thoughts down is one of my go-to recommendations for people who have a lot on their minds and need an outlet. So if your mind is keeping you up at night, pick up a pen!
This one goes hand-in-hand with journaling. Meditation is another fantastic way to clear my mind of all the thoughts going through my head that keep me up at night. This is something that I have been doing since college, and it has been a huge help with easing my anxiety and helping me sleep more restfully!
Pausing during that transition period between being busy with your day and going to sleep is a great way to teach yourself to relax; to tell your mind that it’s time to sleep.
There are plenty of amazing resources online for meditation as well as some great meditation books like this one. However, you could honestly start with five minutes of quiet, uninterrupted breathing and visualization with your eyes closed. Try it out some time! It’s so easy to squeeze into your schedule, and it is so worth it. I promise!
6. Turn off your screens
You’ve probably heard this one before.
I know the allure of watching tiktoks until midnight and then trying to get a good night’s sleep. It seems like a good idea at the time, but those are the nights when I usually end up sleeping the worst!
Staring at a bright phone screen up until you sleep is telling your body to be wide awake and alert when you should be telling it to calm down and get sleepy. Again, this is a hard habit to break since most of us look at our phones before we sleep. Try to distract yourself with something else instead of your phone such as a book or that journal I mentioned a few points back!
If you just cannot put the phone down before bed (again, I totally get it), I recommend wearing some blue light blocking glasses.
These have been pretty popular for a few years, but I have actually read the you receive the most benefit from wearing them at night before bed. This is when it is very important to block out the blue light that emits from your computer and phone. It will also help with keeping your mind from feeling awake at the wrong time. I have these from Amazon in two shades; they’re inexpensive and super flattering on any face shape!
There you have it! These are my six easy ways to unwind at night and have a more restful sleep. If you think that implementing all of these at once is daunting, feel free to try one or two out! And be sure to let me know how it goes for you!
I hope you all have a restful sleep!