The key to a good night sleep is being able to relax in the hour or two before you climb into bed. It makes sense, doesn’t it? If your body is relaxed, your mind will follow. There’s a lot you can do to relax at night. Read a good book, meditate. But two that are particularly helpful both physically and mentally are a warm bath and stretching. Let’s look at those and how you can include them into your bedtime routine.
How Stretching Helps You Sleep At Night
Doing some gentle stretches or a little relaxing yoga can be a great addition to your nighttime routine. The key here is gentle. This isn’t a workout. It’s part of relaxing and getting your body ready for sleep. Roll those shoulders, work out the kinks in your neck, and stretch those limbs.
You can find plenty of stretching and yoga videos online. While it’s usually a bad idea to use screens at night, you can use them for a few evenings until you get the routine down. Or, if you are familiar with the concepts and can do so safely, feel free to come up with something individual that works for you. After all, we don’t always carry tension in the same parts of our bodies each day.
Once you get into your stretching routine maybe pair this with a meditation from the Insight Timer app that I mentioned yesterday. This Sounds of the Sun is one of my favorites.
Pay attention to how you feel when you get into bed after spending a few minutes stretching first. Does your body feel warmer? More relaxed? That’s what will make falling asleep much easier and you end up with better rest.
The Benefits Of A Warm Nighttime Bath (or Shower)
Another great habit to get into is taking a warm bath or shower at night. Not only does it feel good to be clean when you slip between the sheets, it also helps relax your muscles, your body, and even your mind. You can even combine it with gentle stretches.
There’s an additional benefit that has to do with some of the processes inside our body as we transition from being awake to asleep. When you sleep, your body temperature lowers. This is closely connected with feeling sleepy. In your brain falling asleep and a drop in body temperature go together. Taking a warm bath taps into that connection and hacks it to your benefits. Take a warm bath or shower an hour before you’re going to bed. Make sure it’s long enough to warm you up. A minimum of ten minutes is good. Then, as you lay in bed, that temperature slowly starts to drop, making you feel a little drowsy and ready to fall asleep. Give it a try. You’ll be sold.
I don’t always manage it, but taking a warm shower before bed is something I try really hard to put into my night routine. Using one of my favorite soaps or shampoo bars always makes me feel better. I feel clean with a wonderful aromatherapy scent surrounding me. Perfect for then drifting off.
Tomorrow is Day 7 where we wrap it all up!
If you missed the other posts lets get you back to the beginning right here: