It’s time to put down your phone and try these calming evening activities
If you struggle to fall asleep, you’re not alone. In fact, the Sleep Foundation reports that between one in 10 and one in three of us struggle with regular sleepless nights, and part of this comes from being unable to relax as the evening draws in.
Finding it hard to wind down can be the result of many different factors, including stress. If stress and anxiety are keeping you up at night, it’s always best to speak to your GP about ways to address your worries and rest easier.
However, there are also small but effective changes you can make at home to help you wind down more effectively. Here are some of our top tips.
Put down the phone
These days, it’s hard to step away from technology. Our smartphones mean the whole world is literally at our fingertips, and we’re all guilty of scrolling through social media or news sites until the moment our heads hit the pillow (and sometimes afterwards too).
However, our reliance on technology is impacting our ability to unwind. Studies show that not only can the blue light that smartphones emit disrupt the release of vital sleep hormones like melatonin, but the rapid intake of information we get from social media can cause our brains to stay alert when we should be relaxing.
Try to cut down your screen time in the run up to bedtime. The National Sleep Foundation recommends setting yourself a curfew of at least 30 minutes before bed when it comes to using your phone.
Make your bedroom a work-free space
Many of us struggle to separate our work and personal lives, especially since a huge number of us have been working exclusively from home for the best part of a year now. However, it’s vital that you maintain a work-life balance, especially in your bedroom.
Your bedroom should be a space for sleep and not much else. If you can, make sure your office set-up is located somewhere else in your home so you aren’t associating your bedroom with work. You should also log off at the end of the working day, both mentally and physically. This means no more checking work emails and working on projects late into the night.
Read a book
Reading is a great alternative to checking your phone, as it helps you unwind while also distracting you from anything that may be causing you stress. In fact, one 2015 study found that just six minutes of undisturbed reading can help to reduce stress by 68%, so make the effort to pick up a book before getting some shut eye. Just a couple of chapters a night can help you rest easier.
Create a playlist
Music isn’t a solution for everyone, as some people require perfect silence to drift off. However, others swear by the presence of calming music to help them fall asleep quickly. Creating a soothing playlist is a great way to drown out background noise too, especially if you have noisy neighbours or live in a loud area.
ASMR and white noise are other options here. While white noise creates an ambient background you can drown out eventually, ASMR uses soft speaking and gentle sounds to evoke a tingling sensation that, in theory, will help you relax. It may not be for everyone, but it’s certainly proving effective for a lot of us.
Stretching and light yoga
Stretching and light yoga are a great way to relax your muscles by relieving some of the tension of a long day, and this in turn can help to relax your mind too. Activities like yoga and stretching, and also meditation, are all great ways to improve your headspace and stop your mind from wandering. By taking the time to ground yourself and focus on breathing, while also tending to any aches and pains, you’ll be much more relaxed when it comes to actually going to bed.