It’s bedtime and you’re still not sleepy enough to go to sleep. Well, instead of just sitting there staring at the ceiling, let’s use some of that energy by doing some relaxing bedtime activities instead. In this article, I will cover 10 of the best relaxing bedtime activities you can do to fall asleep. I have done all of these and can personally vouch for them.
I recommend doing these relaxing bedtime activities about 1-2 hours before your scheduled bedtime. Yes, I said scheduled bedtime, it’s good to keep your body on schedule for sleep. We are creatures of habit and routine works for us. Take a moment and think about how you wake up and brush your teeth, the time you bathe, or the time you usually eat your meals; their all habits we learned to do routinely.
Alright, let’s jump right into now. Here are the 10 best relaxing bedtime activities I found to be effective at helping myself and others fall asleep.
Just as when you were a child and had story time before bed or naptime, do the same as an adult but use an audiobook instead. Usually, I go the free route by listening to a book on YouTube but you may not find the book of your liking there. Therefore, a good option could be to sign up for Amazon’s Audible and listen to audible books there. Podcasts are also an option to listen to on Amazon Music but I suggest listening to one that won’t get you worked up. Remember the goal is to relax and fall asleep.
It’s exercise but not vigorous exercise that’ll rev you up but more so to relax you. You want to do gentle stretches here, it will warm your body to a degree but when it cools down, it’ll aid in facilitating sleep. Get rid of that tension in your body and relax those muscles before bed. If you don’t know many stretches, no worries, you can get a yoga mat with the stretches on it to follow.
Now, I know I mentioned audiobooks earlier but reading a good old paperback book or magazine will due as well. Unlike reading on a tablet, phone, laptop, or computer; they won’t emit light that could suppress the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that influences circadian rhythms (1). Melatonin is known as the sleep hormone and we don’t want less of it being secreted at bedtime.
Consider prayer or meditation of some sort before bed. Looking to a higher power and/or within to bring peace of mind and relaxation can definitely help. Rely on your faith and turnover your issues and thoughts. In terms of meditation, there are several types of meditation you could try ranging from mindful meditation to visualization meditation. It doesn’t have to faith-based despite the connection but rather about altering consciousness, finding awareness, and achieving peace.
Listen to Music or Soft Sounds
Listen to music to fall asleep. I used to do this all the time, it only backfired when I listen to the wrong music. You don’t want to listen that will get you hyped up. These days, I tend to put some smooth jazz or old-school r&b on when trying to fall asleep. Another option is to listen to soft sounds such as nature sounds or sounds that calmed you as a child like the sound of cars driving past. In some instances, this can be considered a form of ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response). Using a sound machine that utilizes white noise to block some surrounding noises in your sleep environment may be of use as well to aid in sleep.
Warm Shower or Bath
Take a nice warm and relaxing shower or bath before bed. The warm water will raise your body’s core temperature and later lower it helping to facilitate sleep. Use the bath pamper yourself as if you were in a spa with the use of aromatherapy. Light candles, play soft music, and use Dr. Teals Foam Sleep Bath in your bath that’s infused with melatonin and essential oils. Afterward, spray the room with sleep spray and lotion your body with Dr. Teal’s Night Time Therapy Melatonin Body Lotion. Make this a daily routine of self-care.
Consider journaling before bed every night. No sense in keeping all those thoughts in your or even possibly forgetting them. One of the main barriers to falling asleep is having a busy mind. Journaling seems to decrease cognitive arousal, rumination, and worry (3). Put it on a piece of paper to return to it after a good nights’ rest. One study found that journaling about one’s to-do list facilitated sleep faster compared to those who were journaling about their completed activities (2). The key in this study prompted one to be very specific when journaling and journal for at least 5 minutes (2). I think you ought to get a pen and journal to keep next to your bed.
Have you ever had any knots, aches, or pains on a certain part of your body that made it hard for you to relax? Perhaps you have a stressful job or lifestyle. If yes, you may be due for a massage. Massages have several known benefits that can help with getting ready for bedtime such as reducing stress, increasing relaxation, lowering heart rate and blood pressure, and reducing pain, muscle soreness, and tension (4). Have your significant other give you one which can set off more feel-good hormones. Also, you have the options of a massage chair or chair pad, massage mat or a neck and back massager that you can use on several parts of your body if you don’t have anyone or your significant other is unavailable.
This may seem like a child’s activity but it’s not just for children. Coloring books are made for everyone, even you, the adult. Coloring can help to focus your attention on the present moment and not on yourself and the stress in your life. It relaxes your mind and helps you to escape momentarily. You’ll most likely see Mandala coloring books being sold for adults but honestly color whatever you want. It could be a coloring book with cartoons or comics, do you.
It has been found in some research that slow and deep breathing can benefit us in several ways. Breathing exercises can lessen stress, cause the body to produce more melatonin, and calm the nervous system (5). You can find several techniques practice here. Try these techniques throughout the day and don’t stress yourself trying.
Now, I know the title says “10 Best Relaxing Bedtime Activities” but I have a bonus activity that contradicts what I usually recommend but it has and continues to work for me to this day. The bonus activity is watching tv. I know, you’ve probably read that you should cut your tv off for bedtime but when I had a tv in the bedroom I kept it on. However, I put the sleep timer on and watch something soothing which was Bob Ross: The Joy of Painting, he was my ASMR before I knew it was a thing. Watching and listening to Bob Ross would put me and my wife at ease and we’d be sleep before you know it.
Go ahead and give these 10 relaxing bedtime activities a try starting tonight. Don’t lose another second, minute, or hour of sleep. Ease your mind, body, and spirit to slip away into a restful night of quality sleep. If you find yourself still struggling to fall asleep, it may be your mattress. Find out when it’s time to change your mattress here.
Be Healthy, Be Balanced, Be You