Close your eyes. Adjust your pillow. Roll to your left. Now, to your right. Five minutes go by, then 10, then an hour. You keep looking at your alarm clock as if it holds the answers for you. For one reason or another, you just cannot fall asleep. One of the biggest reasons for this is anxiety and the inability to shut your brain off. You need to learn how to relax before bed.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders affect roughly 40 million adults in the United States. It’s the most common mental illness in the country. One of the biggest symptoms of anxiety and depression is insomnia.
How to Relax Before Bed
While doctors can prescribe medicines that help with these illnesses and symptoms, it might be helpful to learn ways to relax a little before you try to go to sleep.
Don’t Go to Bed Yet
This one might sound simple, but it’s still true – if you’re not ready to go to sleep, don’t get into bed. Trying to force yourself to fall asleep will only make you more frustrated and anxious – which will keep you awake even longer.
It normally takes someone 10 to 20 minutes to fully fall asleep. If, after 15-20 minutes, you haven’t fallen asleep, get out of bed and reset your mind. You can try one of the tips below to help, but avoid doing anything that will stimulate the brain, such as playing on your phone.
A Warm Bath or Shower
There is evidence that a warm bath or shower before bed can help your body unwind and relax. The warm water helps to relax your muscles and, in the case of a warm shower, the cascading water can have a calming effect. Body temperature can have important impacts on sleep, and bathing can influence this in the evening.
As for children, it can be part of a healthy bedtime routine. Having a nightly routine not only helps children get to sleep faster, but can also help adults sleep better as well.
Whereas playing with your phone in bed can and will keep you up at night, reading a book – an actual book, not an e-book – can actually calm your mind and help you fall asleep faster.
Think about it … how many times have you tried to fall asleep only to have a million thoughts running through your mind at once? A great way to relax before bed is to focus your attention on one thing, such as the story in a book. Also, with a book, you don’t have the blue light emitted from your phone keeping you awake.
Listen to Calming Music
Recent studies have shown that listening to Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, or ASMR, can greatly help you relax before bed. In fact, you can find ASMR videos on YouTube and audio on Spotify and Apple Music.
ASMR is basically sounds that make your brain think of the thing causing it, such as the sound of someone slicing an apple or rubbing their hands on leather. It might sound a little weird, but it’s actually been proven to help some people. Of course, if that’s not for you, might we suggest Moonlight Sonata (First Movement) by Beethoven?
You might have heard this one before, but there’s a good reason for it – it works. Those who meditate nightly to relax before bed tend to fall asleep quicker than those who don’t. Studies have found that meditation can help reduce cortisol, which is the hormone associated with stress.
Obviously, meditation isn’t for everyone. Many try it and give up on it shortly thereafter because they don’t feel any different or see any changes. Those who work on it, however, see better results the more they practice.
Benefits of Destressing Before Bed
Insomnia is no joke. Not being able to sleep, or sleeping poorly, can lead to serious health issues. One of the best ways to relax before bed is to make sure you have the right pillow and the right mattress to ensure a great night’s sleep.
At Mattress Warehouse, our sleep experts can not only fit you for your ideal pillow, but can also help you find the right mattress for your body with our bedMATCH® diagnostic sleep system. There are no guesses – bedMATCH® will narrow down your ideal mattress so you can completely eliminate the guessing game. If that doesn’t help lower your anxiety, we’re not sure what else will!
Stop by any of our stores today to try bedMATCH® so you can relax before bed every night.