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Recently I’ve had trouble getting enough sleep, and not just because of LG! I was kind of hoping that I’d somehow magically get better at falling to sleep quickly after having a baby and that I’d be able to catch quick naps whenever she slept. Ha. Ha. Ha. Instead, unless I’m completely exhausted, I sometimes feel like I’ve gotten even worse at falling asleep! It’s so difficult to shut my mind off after a busy day and I find myself staying awake wondering when LG will wake up next or stressing about things I have to do or all the things I haven’t done. It’s unfortunate because for years I’ve tried to make getting adequate sleep a priority, even though it meant I had to go to bed pretty early. Getting a solid six to ten hours sleep every evening is fundamental for your wellbeing; without sleep you can begin to suffer from cognitive issues, slow reactions, and a variety of other detrimental effects to your health. Now that we’re getting settled in after our move and recent trip to West Virginia, I’m trying to reimplement some of my favorite holistic ways to relax before bedtime. These methods tend to help me fall asleep more quickly so I wanted to share them in case they help you, too!
Make Your Bed Comforting and Cosy
Your bed should be a peaceful haven that helps you feel relaxed, content, and comfortable. If you aren’t experiencing ultimate cosiness when you climb into your bed every evening, then you might need a new mattress and sheets. A few years ago, I woke up, turned my head, and instantly got this ridiculous pain/tightness in my neck that took several days to completely dissipate. I bought a new memory foam mattress and a special spinal support pillow that week! Check out mattress comparisons here and find one to suit your needs. In warm weather, chose sheets that are organic cotton, breathable, and soft so that you can experience the best night’s sleep possible. In cooler weather, cotton flannel or jersey knit sheets can be a lovely choice. I also personally know that I need several blankets because their weight helps comfort me, but my husband prefers just a sheet. Experiment to see what works best for you!
Calming Crafts and Coloring
Do you have a hobby that helps you feel relaxed and calm? Try setting aside a few minutes before bed time to disconnect from electronics (the blue light can disrupt your sleep hormone production so it’s always a good idea to power down before bedtime, anyway!) and do some old-fashioned crafting, coloring, or reading. Coloring, painting, and crafts can be therapeutic and allow you time to decompress from your day before bedtime. As regular readers know, I’m a huge fan of coloring and gratitude journaling! Both can help you clear your mind before bed. You can find my latest free printable coloring page, a strawberry sugar skull, here if you missed it. (Skulls not your thing? You can find a cute, whimsical girl to color here.) You can also find more on making and using a gratitude jar in this post!
Soothing Scents and Smells
The scents and smells in your bedroom can have a huge effect on how well you sleep. You might not think these types of things could have an impact, but don’t knock them until you have tried them! For example, spraying a lavender scent on your pillow before you go to sleep can help you calm down and drift off. I used to always diffuse lavender with a drop of frankincense at night and it really helped me. Unfortunately, our household goods (still!) haven’t arrived so I don’t have a diffuser or my oils at the moment. I’m really looking forward to getting them back! Other scents, like chamomile, can work, too; everyone’s tastes are personal so choose the smell that makes you feel calm.
Find the Foods That Work For You
Certain foods can aid a good night’s sleep while others can make it more difficult for you to doze off. Bananas, almonds, and avocados can help promote sleep, for example, but spicy foods may make it harder for you to get comfortable. Towards the end of my pregnancy, anything acidic was giving me really unpleasant reflux and would really mess with my attempts to fall asleep! I’ve also learned through trial and error that 3 pm is the absolute latest I can have coffee and still get to bed on time. Everyone is different, though, so pay attention to your own body to learn what helps or hinders your attempt to sleep.
Music and Sound
I am a huge believer in the power of music and sound to help you relax and fall asleep. One of my Hypnobabies tracks helped me sleep so much better during pregnancy and we’ve continued to play the track’s background music instead of white noise for LG during all her sleep times. (You can read more about our Hypnobabies experience here.) Some friends of ours recorded 10 hours of giant fans running and play it through their home speaker system every night to help their entire family sleep more peacefully! Music or white noise can help you relax and works to cover up any background noises that might wake you up. Again, you’ll need to experiment to find what works best for you. Random ‘white noise’ sounds, for example, do not relax me personally, but an actual fan or air conditioning window unit compressor does. Soft, rhythmic sounds like ocean waves or rain work pretty well for me, too!
I really hope these holistic ways to relax before bedtime help you out! Our little lady’s nighttime wakeups are still pretty variable (anywhere from once to three times a night!) so I frequently need to employ whatever strategies I can to fall back asleep more quickly. Whether you love a loose leaf tea or need to refresh your sleeping arrangements, finding ways to fall asleep more quickly is enormously beneficial.
What are your favorite holistic ways to relax before bedtime and fall asleep more quickly? Are there any particular scents or sounds that really help you out?