Alaska Sleep Education Center

Calm Down and Sleep Fast

Posted by Paisley Hansen on Jan 26, 2020 8:00:00 AM

Calm Down Before Bed To Get To Sleep Fast

It doesn’t matter who you are, where you live or what line of work you are in: Life is stressful for everybody. As the day turns to night and the time comes for you to try and get some much-deserved sleep, shutting off your thoughts and reaching a state of relaxation can seem almost impossible.  

In fact:

  • 35% of Americans don’t get the recommended seven hours of sleep each night
  • 77% of Americans lose sleep over the Coronavirus pandemic
  • 48% of Americans stated that feeling anxious during the Coronavirus pandemic was the main reason that makes it harder for them to fall asleep
  • Despite the fact that 70% of Americans agreed that lack of sleep makes them more vulnerable to COVID-19, only 11% of participants choose to get more sleep while staying at home during the self-quarantine

Take a closer look at the data here.

If you’re having a hard time getting to sleep or staying asleep, then it might be time to mix up your bedtime routine to achieve the best rest you can get.

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 Unplug Completely

Bright lights, fluorescent bulbs and flashing screens are visually distracting and can hinder one’s ability to fall asleep. About 30 minutes before you plan to try and sleep, try doing this every night:

  • Round up all your devices: Phones, tablets, laptops and whatever else you use daily that has a screen and/or an IP address
  • Plug everything into its appropriate charger in a separate room from the bedroom
  • Switch off all devices and let them charge overnight without being turned on

It’s such a simple method, but when you don’t have easy access to your devices then you’re not tempted to play with them. Of course, make an exception with your personal cell phone, but be disciplined enough to close all your apps and power it to silent in case there’s an emergency.

The Most Relaxing Exercise Of All

There’s a reason that yoga has been practiced worldwide for the last 5,000 years: It’s effective. A combination of stretching, proper breathing techniques and meditation, yoga helps to relax the mind and body at the same time.

While you can certainly sign up for a yoga class taught by a professional at your local community center or yoga studio, you can also opt to try it yourself in the privacy of your own home if you’re self-conscious. Check on Amazon for DVDs of yoga routines for bedtime, or for a free option look on Youtube. Perform your yoga stretches about an hour before you plan on going to bed and let your endorphins and serotonin help to get you into a state of total peace and calm.

On a similar vein, think about beginning a meditation or prayer ritual before or after you practice yoga. Whether you’re religious or not is not the point of meditation; it is more about humbling yourself before powers that are much bigger than you are. Allowing yourself even five minutes to let go and let yourself feel small before whatever the larger force is can be a powerful way to finish the evening — and feel strangely freeing too.

Have A Nightcap

This doesn’t necessarily mean a shot of whiskey before bed (unless that’s something you normally do, in which case, carry on); rather, make yourself a pot of tea to help relax before bed. This has been something that humans have done since the earliest days, and there’s something calming in the ritual of tea itself: Filling the kettle, watching the water darken and everything else that comes along with the process.

It goes without saying that drinking anything with caffeine in it if you’re trying to relax is not a good idea. Stay away from black tea and drink herbal tea instead. Some of the best kinds of tea before bed include:

  • Peppermint
  • Chamomile
  • Lemon
  • Lavender

Let the natural calming properties of drinking tea help to ease your worries and soothe your mind. Mama always brewed a pot when things were tough, extend yourself the same courtesy if you’re having a hard time sleeping.

Listen To What Relaxes You

A lot of people will recommend soothing music if you’re trying to fall asleep, but that doesn’t work for everybody. If music is too much sensory overload for you, think about what sounds do soothe you and make you feel at peace. Some suggestions include:

  • Beach waves, sounds of water tossing in the ocean or a babbling brook. Water sounds tend to relax the vast majority of people.
  • Rain falling on the roof, through a forest or somewhere else.
  • Familiar sounds you’ve grown accustomed to: Trains gently rolling over the tracks, the white noise of people talking in a group — nothing is too weird when it’s something that you’re used to falling asleep to.

You can find almost any sort of soundscape on Youtube. If music, no matter how soft or quiet, is not your thing when you’re trying to sleep, look for sounds that do help.

The reason that you’re not sleeping well might be due to a combination of many things, not the least of them an unhealthy pre-bedtime ritual. By making a few small changes about an hour before bedtime — taking some things away and adding a couple of new things — you can dramatically increase your quality of sleep.

Now Let's Practice What We Preach

Calming down your mind and reaching a state of relaxation is not an easy task, but allowing yourself to come down from the stresses of the day can help you to sleep better.

When relaxation techniques don't cure your sleep issues, you need to call Alaska Sleep Clinic and speak with one of our board-certified sleep specialists. Improve your sleep AND your life!

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Topics: alaska sleep clinic, insomnia, electronics, relax, yoga, sleep hygiene

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