For years I just assumed that sleep quality gets worse and worse while we age, and for me, it started while I was 18, just before I was about to move to a new country, alone. The stress of learning a new language caused me to dream in English conversations almost every night, and as an 18-year-old I could not tell if that was caused by stress or ‘motivation to learn’. I hoped it would go away once I moved to Sweden and settle down, but oh how wrong I was. All of the sudden I have to be responsible for myself as an adult, dealing with university studies, rent, bills, bank account and visa, plus the excitement of being on another side of the world, meeting new people and parties. It was around that time I thought I probably never going to have a good night dreamless sleep again.
But then I got a 9 to 5 job in the office, which was rather simple at the beginning. It totally changed my sleeping pattern, and to my surprise, it makes me sleep like a child again for a while. How? I guess I just needed to regularize my eating, exercising and sleeping schedule, and a 9 to 5 job helped me to stay put. However, working in the office can be quite stressful from time to time, and that’s when I realized that I have to learn to get myself relaxed before bedtime to get a restful sleep.
So here are my tips that are going to help you get your sleep back.
1. Plan ahead.
Make sure you plan your activity during your awake time, whether it’s study, work, chores, exercise or whatever you do for fun. Being bored all day will make you restless and looking for excitement, and that’s not going to help. I have been using an app called sleep cycle which works as a monitor during the night time while I sleep, and I can also register personalized sleep notes to see what is good for my sleep and what is not. For example, my statistic shows that menstration, weekend and work out will increase my sleep quality while drinking wine and caffeine decrease it. Highly recommend.
2. Light and healthy dinner.
This one is crucial to me. I am the kind of person that cannot sleep while my stomach is working hard to digest my dinner. Does that sound strange? I guess it is because lying down while my stomach full of food makes me feel ill, but this is completely different from person to person. What I am suggesting here is, find the kind of food that comforts you and your stomach, and eat at the right time. Eating too late and get a food comma before bed is not going to help you sleep better because your digest system will not get a proper rest. If you eat dinner too early though, you might need a light snack and some calming drink like chamomile tea half an hour before bed, just keep it light and stay away from caffeine or cold beverages, which will shock your body and give you a refreshing and alert feeling, and that’s not what you want. Never consume alcohol to relax before sleep, it might make you sleep even worse without it time after time according to psychology research.
3. Schedule your sleep.
Let’s say if you want to go to bed at 11. Start preparing for your sleep one hour before. Prepare your home so that you can wake up on the right side and start your day with positivity. Take a moment and review your schedule for the next day, look at your calendar to check if there is any event you prepare for, and check the weather so you can decide and pick out your outfit to fit the event and weather before sleep, or maybe prepare a grab and go breakfast? Knowing what is happening the next morning will make you relax much faster once you are in bed.
4. Stop using internet half an hour before bed.
Yep, I thought that was crazy too, but if you think about it, what we do on the internet is basically browsing through the endless stream of information, some are fun and others not, but what happens in our brain (or at least mine) is that we are always hoping the next one is going to be interesting. It keeps me mildly entertained but still hoping something more interesting is gonna show up. That’s what’s keeps me scrolling for hours and hours without realizing it, and it is not relaxing at all.
5. Calm your body and mind.
If you are a creature of comfort like me, you will love this one for sure. it’s perhaps my favorite sleep-related thing to do. Light up a candle, read a book, put on some sleepy music/ white noise such as rain, ocean etc. Personally, I like to do some knitting before bed to help me to slow down my thinking process. Draw yourself a foot bath or just do some mild stretching in bed will help warm up the body. Give yourself a little massage on your face, scalp, and back of your neck will make you feel so relaxed and cozy, I also like to warm up a lavender wheat bag and have it on my shoulders and a warming eye mask to relax my eyes and prevent dark circles. I am literally yawning right now just thinking about it… Maybe I should write another blog post about the related products.
Hope these tips will help you to find some peace in your bedtime routine, and please do let me know if you are going to try any of these tips. What kind of routine do you have for a better sleep?