The Best Ways To Wind Down Before Bed
Image by @holbrown
Whether it’s been an exciting, stressful, long or lazy day; winding down before bed is equally important every night of the week.
What’s your current wind-down routine look like? Does it need refining, or is it something you need to start from scratch? Night time rituals won’t look the same for everyone and it’s important to try out a few different relaxation techniques until you find one that’s best suited to you.
Sleep expert, Dr. Happy, has listed some useful techniques to help you calm down before bed, giving you the best chance at a quality, restful night’s sleep.
Focus on your breathing, keeping it nice and slow and steady. Repeat “in” as you breathe in, and “relax” as you breathe out. That’s all; except most people will find that after just one or two breaths their mind will wander or they’ll become distracted by thoughts or noises. So the skill is in refocusing, each and every time. With practice comes calmness.
Focus on a pleasant scene (maybe a beach, a forest or a waterfall etc.) and just imagine being in that scene, calmly, in as much detail as possible. The same advice regarding refocusing is also relevant.
Starting at your head and slowly, gradually, working down through each muscle group until you get to your toes; just gently tense and then relax your muscles.
Practice less formal strategies including reading, journaling, listening to calming music or sounds.
Image by @chelseyrouen
Put the devices down. We repeat, put the devices down. Stop the scroll and hands off the remote. Dr. Happy emphasises that disconnecting from your devices before bed is incredibly important.
“Just do it! Make a time, say an hour before you want to go to sleep, and then switch off all devices and ideally, keep them in another room.
I know that’s easier said than done. So aim for this but also, be clear about why you want to do it; prioritise sleep and make sure you remind yourself of all the benefits that getting better sleep will provide. If necessary, enlist the support of your partner or maybe even a friend (switch off together!)”
Whether you wake to chirping birds, the buzz of an alarm clock or your children tugging at the sheets; the best way to rise from your slumber is completely up to you. Dr. Happy debunks the myth that a specific sound is best to wake up to and advises to go with whatever works best for you.
With all this excellent, expert advice; one can’t help but wonder what Dr. Happy’s nightly ritual looks like.
Don’t worry, we asked him for you.
“Sleep has always been very important for my mental health so it’s something very close to my heart. To be honest, like many people, when I was younger I really didn’t do many things right; and as a result, I suffered. But it’s very much a priority for me and has been for a while so a typical routine involves:
Exercise through the day to ensure tiredness at night
Meditation in the morning AND evening to calm my mind
Gratitude practice, usually early evening, to help me focus on positives at or near the end of the day
Wind down starting around 9ish involving putting screens away and usually reading
Relaxation as I close my eyes and (hopefully) fall in to sleep"
Experiment with Dr. Happy’s relaxation techniques to see which one sends you into a blissful slumber. Take a look at Dr. Happy’s Top Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep to increase the quality of your sleep.