Sleep relaxation techniques: How to reduce stress and sleep better
Give yourself time to wind down before bed
We live such fast paced lives and expect our body and brain to just keep up, switching between activities and screens for most of our waking hours. So how can we expect our brains to just shut down and forget the stresses of the day the second we fall into bed? Want to know how to relax your mind to fall asleep? Give it down time in the lead up to bed. Choose some of the activities below and create a routine that gives your brain and body the chance to transition to bedtime.
Try relaxing exercises before bed
Some of the best sleep relaxation techniques that we’ve found are physical exercises to help calm your mind and relax your muscles before bed. There are plenty of simple yoga moves that, with practice, will help you to banish anxious thoughts. In fact, yoga can have many positive effects on both your physical and mental health and wellbeing.
See Bedtime Yoga for Better Sleep for some of the best relaxation exercises for sleep.
Practice meditation and mindfulness
If you don’t like the sound of yoga, perhaps you could try some deep relaxation techniques or deep breathing techniques instead. If you can, simply lay comfortably, counting your breaths to calm your mind. But if you prefer the idea of a guided meditation there are plenty of great apps and podcasts that can help.
Create a relaxing bedroom environment
- Decorate in calming colors. Muted, dusky colors, in particular blues, are said to be the most restful colors to choose for your interiors and may even help reduce anxiety before bed.
- Dim lighting and reduce noise levels directly before bed. Bright lights and loud noises may stimulate the brain and prevent the onset of sleep.
- Keep screens out of the bedroom.
- Choose wool bedding that is proven to help regulate your temperature and increase deep regenerative sleep by 25%.
Keep a pen and paper beside your bed
Want to know how to relax your mind for sleep? The best way is to try to take out of it all the things that are causing you stress. While that’s not as easy as it sounds, one method that works for many is to write all your troubles on a piece of paper. And if you wake fretting in the night? Jot your thoughts down then too. By noting these thoughts down, you’ll be less worried about forgetting them and you should be able to reduce anxiety before bed.
Try a hot bedtime drink…
Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. So when you’re wondering how to calm anxiety before bed, try a wind-down routine that involves a calming cup of herbal tea or warm milk. Combine it with time spent in bed with a good book and you’ll find yourself drifting off in no time.
…but avoid caffeine and other stimulants
Caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea or soda are well known stimulants, as are spicy foods and chocolate. Try to avoid these in the hours before bed. When your brain is stimulated it will be much more likely to tip over into uncontrollable or racing thoughts that could exacerbate any underlying anxieties.
Consider counselling if your anxieties are too much to handle
If you are regularly feeling stressed or anxious to the extent that it is impacting your everyday and preventing you from getting good quality sleep, a good therapist could well be the answer. They will help you to work through your worries and give you strategies and relaxation exercises for anxiety so you can learn more about how to relax your mind for sleep.
If you’re struggling to sleep because your mind is racing and you can’t let go of the stresses of your day, try some of these sleep relaxation techniques and tips for insomnia and anxiety. Don’t be disheartened if it takes some time to see results, sleep management techniques can take a while to master. But once you’re able to do them, they’ll benefit you for life.
If you are looking for more simple relaxation tips and ideas for how to reduce stress and sleep better, visit our Sleep Health & Advice hub.