You may enjoy ending your day by curling up in front of the television and diving into your favorite show, but the reality is that watching TV just before bed can make it harder to fall asleep.
Television screens and devices like iPads and smartphones emit a blue light that hinders the production of the sleep-inducing hormone Melatonin. As a result, this can cause you to feel more alert rather than sleepier. Plus, exposure to certain content, such as dramatic programming or upsetting news broadcasts, could leave you more stressed out, which further harms your ability to doze off.
Rather than watching television just before bed, there are other, healthier ways to wind down at night. We will walk you through some of the best suggestions for bedtime rituals instead of watching TV.
You can try all of them or one. Most importantly, though, you should find the routine that works for you and allows you to feel most relaxed.
What is keeping me awake?
Before exploring some healthy bedtime rituals, you should first determine if anything significant is preventing you from sleeping well. For example, if you are experiencing back pain or pressure point discomfort, you may need to invest in a mattress that is right for you. The right bed should help alleviate these types of issues so that you can rest more comfortably.
Other environmental factors such as noisy neighbors or a bedroom that’s too warm could also affect your sleep quality. If you are experiencing other disruptions such as these, you will need to address them as well.
Healthy Bedtime Rituals
Drink chamomile tea
Drink a cup of soothing chamomile tea if you are looking for a way to end a busy day that doesn’t involve staring at a screen. In addition to tasting delicious, studies have shown that chamomile tea can induce sleep, which is how it earned a reputation as an excellent sleep aid.
Thankfully, chamomile tea is easy to find since most grocery stores are stocked with different brands. Chamomile supplements are also available, but drinking tea is more relaxing and conducive to a routine.
Read a book before going to sleep
Reading a book is an excellent way to prepare for bed because it helps your mind wind down. Research has found that reading could reduce stress by 68 percent.
Furthermore, if you are struggling to get your mind off worries, reading gives you something active to focus on instead.
It doesn’t matter what type of book you read, either. Whether it is a romance novel or an academic textbook, the point is that you are engrossed in something else and not thinking about other stressors.
Write down your thoughts in a journal or diary
Writing down your thoughts in a journal or diary is also great for stress reduction and reflecting on the day. Plus, journaling allows you to process your emotions without having an audience (unless you want one).
To get started, take out a fresh notebook and write down whatever comes to mind. Don’t worry about how it looks; the point of the exercise is to just let the words flow.
Take a warm bath
Taking a long, luxurious bath is an age-old bedtime ritual. Not only do baths relax the muscles, but studies have also shown that a bath is good for alleviating depression symptoms and stress.
Considering how beneficial baths are for relaxation, it may be a good idea to invest in some bath salts or bubbles. There are also plenty of scented candles that you can use while bathing. However, just using warm water will also suffice.
Turn on some soothing music
Listening to music is a popular bedtime habit because it is a great way to unwind without focusing too much on anything. In addition, studies have shown that music can also help you fall asleep.
Before going to sleep, turn on some soothing music at a low volume. Experts say the volume should be at 40 decibels or less.
Some excellent options for music genres to consider are classical or jazz. Other relaxing sounds such as waves or rain could work too. There are plenty of playlists available on Spotify or YouTube, so you can find what works best.
Keep in mind that those who sleep with a partner or share a room may need headphones to avoid disturbing the other person. However, if the headphones feel uncomfortable to sleep with, we suggest using a different relaxation method.
Another excellent bedtime ritual is meditation. To meditate, you will need to sit somewhere quiet, close your eyes, and focus on nothing but your breathing. As you breathe, try to clear out any thoughts that come to your mind.
If you are not used to meditating, it may feel difficult at first to quiet your thoughts. Therefore, we recommend checking out guided meditations on YouTube or Spotify. You can also find podcasts in the Health and Wellness section on iTunes. If you have trouble calming your mind at first, don’t give up too quickly because it should get easier over time.
Do some yoga poses or light stretching
Yoga is another great way to calm yourself. Many people start with simpler asanas such as downward dog and child’s pose.
You can also opt to do some light stretching before heading to bed. In addition to being a relaxing activity, stretching can improve your flexibility and athletic performance while also reducing your risk of a physical injury.
However, do not try stretching your muscles too far. Instead, focus on building your flexibility gradually. Overstretching your muscles could lead to strains, which could become painful and make it difficult to fall asleep.
Watching television may be enjoyable, but to have a better sleep experience, we suggest sticking to a healthy nightly routine that is screen-free. While there are plenty of other bedtime rituals you can choose from, the ones above are some of the most popular and beneficial. If done consistently, these rituals should help you relax and promote better sleep.