Modern life can be hectic and full of stress. Relaxing at the end of each day and getting a full night’s sleep is essential in helping you cope with life’s day to day grind. However, the issues that you need sleep to help you to unwind from are often ones that also keep you awake. Luckily there are a few things you can do that will help you to relax and make sleep happen more easily. So, if you’re looking for some relaxing activities before bed that will help you get to sleep then these ten suggestions should come in handy.
It’s important to note that creating the right conditions for sleep at night aren’t as simple as doing one of the activities on this list. There are also things you can avoid as well. Try to avoid caffeine, blue lights from devices, and watching or listening to anything stimulating.
Unwinding before bed isn’t just about the things you can do, but also about the things you should avoid.
1. Listen to ASMR
ASMR, or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, is a trending and new genre of videos and audio that includes sounds such as whispers and scratching to help stimulate a tingling sensation among people and relax them.
ASMR audio recordings are great for helping you to relax. A good ASMR artist with a soothing tone can really make you feel calm and help ground you emotionally. You can find plenty of ASMR videos on Youtube and you can usually buy audio versions linked from the creator’s webpage.
It isn’t for everyone, but the recent surge in the amount of ASMR videos and audio is a sign of how effective it is as a relaxing activity before bed. Many of which use it before bed as an activity to prepare them for sleep.
2. Practice meditation
Take some time to practice meditation before going to sleep. Meditation is a great method for resolving negative thoughts and anxieties and it will help put you in a better mind-state for sleep.
If you’ve never tried meditation before, start with a simple breathing and visualization exercise. Generally, the idea is to use meditation to become aware of your thoughts in a non-judgemental way. It’s our judgement of these thoughts at night that leads us to get lost in them and it can keep us up. All the issues, anxieties, and problems from the day or the days ahead don’t need to be analyzed when our head hits the pillow. Instead, meditation offers a way to clear the mind of these thoughts.
3. Listen to sleep hypnosis audio recordings
Sleep hypnosis is a bit like ASMR combined with meditation. It uses audio effects, noises, and music combined with a soothing guided instruction to help you relax at night.
Depending on how “suggestable” a person is, sleep hypnosis works better on some people than others. It’s not a universal solution and there’s very little scientific evidence to support how it actually works.
Still, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence among people who use it nightly as an activity to relax before bed to help them fall asleep.
4. Read a book
Reading a good book at the end of your day is a great way to slow yourself down and get ready for sleep. It also helps distract you from any anxiety you may have left over from your day and puts you in a more passive and receptive mood ready to drift off to dreamland.
You can find plenty of interesting books to read at your local library and if you have a tablet or e-book reader you can also find lots of literature online. Light reading is suggested over more intense technical reading. The last thing you want to do is over stimulate yourself. Fiction is probably the best genre for this.
It’s also important to note that you should try to avoid reading off of backlit devices such as a laptop or tablet as the blue light they emit can stimulate you and keep you awake.
5. Listen to some soothing music
Music is a great mood enhancer, so if you want to get yourself into a more relaxed mood some smooth soothing tunes are just the thing to put you there.
Some recommended genres of music are jazz, lofi hip hop beats, chillstep, ambient, classical, and even soft rock. Spotify even has curated playlists just for relaxing at night or falling asleep.
The great thing about relaxing and soothing music is that you can use it in combination with other relaxing activities before bed on this list.
6. Practice muscle relaxation and deep breathing techniques
One of the biggest issues many people have in getting to sleep is where their muscles tense up due to anxiety. This often happens as a response to being worried about getting to sleep, so you end up in a self-fulfilling feedback loop.
The good news is that pretty much anything you have voluntary control over in your body responds to regular practice. Take some time before you go to sleep to try to relax all your muscles in one area of your body at a time.
Start at your feet and end at your head. Practice slow deep breathing as you do this. Over time you will learn to relax your muscles at will which will make it much easier for you to get to sleep when you need to.
Try to gently massage your muscles on your legs, feet, and upper back. Rub these muscles with your thumbs in a circular motion.
Even simple stretches and yoga poses can help put your muscles in a more relaxed state. Poses such as a wide-legged child’s pose, or resting on your back with your legs up against the wall can help relax you and your muscles before bed.
7. Write a journal entry about your day
Take a few minutes before you go to bed to write down the most important things that happened in your day. In addition to helping you to clarify your feelings about the events of your day this will also provide a great reference to help give you an overview of how your life is progressing.
Give yourself the opportunity to vent every night before going to bed. If your thoughts and feelings of the day always surface before you go to sleep, use your journal and pen as an outlet.
Write about your thoughts and what happened. Try to give yourself some closure every night so that the mind isn’t keeping you up.
8. Write a to-do list for tomorrow
Going to bed worried about tomorrow’s problems won’t help you get to sleep so take the time to write down a to-do list of things you can do to make those problems go away.
Knowing that you’ve at least made a small effort towards bringing those issues under control can help a lot in short-circuiting any anxiety you might have about those problems.
It’s also important to understand what you can control and what you can’t control. Especially in the moment. If you’re up all night worried about the thing you need to do tomorrow, does thinking about it in bed actually solve the problem?
Instead, take time to create a plan of attack for the next day’s problems to help ease the mind of anxieties before bed.
9. Take a warm soothing bath
There’s nothing like a soak in a warm bath to relax your muscles and prepare you for sleep.
Take some time to wash your troubles away before going to bed. You might not be able to take a long bath every day of the week, but taking some time to relax in the tub every now and then is great for de-stressing and relieving any anxiety you may have built up throughout your day.
Even going the extra mile is worth it. Light a few candles. Play some relaxing music. Use a bath bomb or body wash that has a lavender scent.
It might also help to set a timer. If your anxiety is making you feel like you’re rushing the bath or all you can think about is getting out of the tub, set a minimum time. Try at least 15 minutes in the tub and close your eyes and breathe.
10. Take a moment to think about all the positive things in your life
Everyone has some rough moments in their day and the last thing you want to do is take negative thoughts about those moments to bed with you.
Use some of your time before going to sleep to remind yourself of all the positive things that have happened to you throughout your day, and the productive things that you achieved. Tell yourself that almost all problems are fixable, and that any negatives are likely temporary.
You’ve been through rough patches in the past and you’ve gotten through them, so remind yourself of that too.
Practice some gratitude before bed as well. Think about the things and people you’re grateful for. Remind yourself of all the little and big things in your life that you truly appreciate. Creating the proper conditions before bed isn’t always physical. It’s also about creating the right conditions in your mind.
Engaging in some relaxing activities before bed can be a great help in getting you to sleep. It’s worth taking the time at the end of your day to put yourself into a more relaxed mood so that sleep happens more naturally. Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best ways to ensure that you are ready for each new day, so try these suggestions out and see which ones work for you.
If you have any suggestions or have activities you do that help you sleep better at night, feel free to share them below in a comment.