It is often suggested to new parents that if they want their newborn baby to develop good sleeping habits, they should start with good sleeping routine. That essentially means that if you suffer from insomnia, have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or just waking up through the night, perhaps you should develop a little bedtime routine of your own that may help you conquer sleep issues.
Depending on your goal and the time you would like already to be asleep at, give yourself plenty of time for your new bedtime routine. Once you develop the routine, stick to it every night and you will find that your body will relax naturally knowing it is the time to go to sleep.
Do not eat or drink anything directly before bedtime
In fact, if you could avoid drinking anything for at least 2 hours before bedtime that should be sufficient to empty your bladder in time and you should not be waking up to visit the washroom during night. Avoid any drinks that contain caffeine before bedtime, including coffee, Coca-cola or black tea.
Avoid eating anything at least 3 hours before bedtime. If you eat something, your body will work hard to process the food. The more complex the food is, your body will work harder to break it down. It is much harder to break down the steak dinner in your stomach vs. salad. Keep more complex foods for earlier in the day. Closer to bedtime stick to simple foods such as salads or simple carbs. If you need to eat meat for dinner, stick to chicken or turkey as they can naturally help your body produce melatonin and help you sleep. And whatever you do, do not overeat before bedtime, as it will take a long time for your body to digest the food and that can cause you to have disturbing dreams.
Drink chamomile tea or glass of warm milk
Chamomile tea helps you unwind, relaxes your mind and body and helps body prepare for sleeping. It also settles down the stomach and aids in better dinner processing. You can enjoy it with a teaspoon of honey if you need to sweeten it.
Warm cup of milk will help your body produce serotonin. Milk contains tryptophan which is the sleep inducing amino acid. Cup of warm milk before bedtime is an advice from the old days that seems to be true today too.
Take a relaxing bath
While most people prefer early morning shower to refresh and re-energize from the moment they wake up, taking a relaxing bath before bedtime may help you settle more easily into your bedtime routine and help you relax.
Run a warm bath and sprinkle some lavender and chamomile essential oils for aromatherapy effects. Essential oils need to be diluted in carrier oil first, such as olive, grapeseed, sweet almond or jojoba oil. Add about 20 drops of essential oil to 60 ml of carrier oil, shake it and pour below running faucet. You can also bathe in Epsom salts that have many beneficial properties for our body. It has been said that Cleopatra used to bathe in milk. While milk is definitely natural skin emollient (makes skin soft), our skin can absorb milk and help us produce melatonin for sleep inducing effects.
Lavender pillow mist
Spray lavender linen spray on your pillow or dilute lavender essential oil in carrier oil and spray around your pillow so you can inhale sweet and relaxing lavender scent while drifting off to a dreamland.
Lavender has calming and soothing scent that helps improve your mood. It can also ease headaches and improve respiration.
Do not use your cell phone or tablet
Bright light from your cell phone or tablet may keep you more alert than necessary before bedtime. If you must use your cell phone or tablet install application such as Screen Filter that essentially darkens your screen and does not put so much strain on your eyes. If you can, try reading a book before falling asleep as it is easier on the eyes.
Reading promotes relaxation and comfortable feelings. If you are using e-reader, use one that does not have increased screen lightning.
Some people like to listen to the sound machine which provides few options to choose from, such as ocean waves, rain drops, waterfall, or nature sounds. If you think this is something you may enjoy, purchase a sound machine that can automatically shut off after set period of time.
Sound machine may be beneficial as it can act as a white noise meaning it will reduce all other sounds around you, so you will not hear your dishwasher running at night or cars on the highway. Sound machine is a great tool if you do not like feeling alone in the dark as it may help you not hear any other noises around you and hence result in good night sleep.
Wear comfortable pajamas
Wear breathable night gown or pajama. Sleep naked if that is your preference as that way you will be cooler through the night and may end up having longer and deeper sleep. Make sure that you are comfortable in whatever your night time sleeping wear is. Cotton is always one of the best options. Do not wear anything too tight around your body.
If you prefer other fabrics, silk or flannel are also great choices. Do not wear wool or fleece fabrics to bed as you may overheat or cause skin irritation such as itchiness. Wearing fleece while sleeping may make you perspire, so it is best to avoid this fabric in your bedroom.
Do not forget that if your feet are too cold you may end up waking up too much through the night. It is OK to wear a pair of light cotton socks at bedtime if it will make you feel more comfortable.
Have a dark bedroom
Install blackout curtains or blinds on your bedroom windows and do not let any natural light come in before you are ready to wake up. Sunlight wakes us up naturally, so if you do not want to wake up earlier than necessary, consider keeping your bedroom in complete darkness while sleeping.
If this is not possible, try wearing sleeping mask that will cover your eyes and keep any light from waking you up.
Cool air temperature
Ideally, your room temperature while you sleep should be set between 16 to 18 degrees Celsius. Cover yourself with a light cover and breathe in cool night air.
If the temperature in your bedroom is higher than suggested, you may be too warm and end up being uncomfortable resulting in restless sleep. If your air temperature is lower than 16 degrees Celsius you may end up being too cold which may wake you up.
If you can, try sleeping on a stomach as being face down on the bed may make you feel more comfortable and relaxed. You will be less likely to toss and turn while sleeping on your stomach which may result in deeper sleep.
If you prefer sleeping on the side, research says to turn to your left so you can improve circulation in your body and prevent extra abdomen weight from pushing down on your liver. If you sleep on your right hand side you may worsen heartburn. Some people use body pillow either hugging it or placing it between their legs for optimum comfort.
Imagine yourself on a cloud
If you find yourself being awake during night anyway, try imagining a white cloud floating all over you, surrounding you from all sides while you’re on your bed lying down. Just imagine a mist floating down, in a calm and relaxing manner. Whiteness of the cloud should bring you inner peace and calm any stress.
If you find yourself thinking about the past or future events, acknowledge your thoughts and let them go. There is nothing you can do about them at the moment, but you do need your sleep. So focus on the peacefulness and serenity of the white cloud that makes your thoughts and everything around you clean and calming.