Sleep has numerous health benefits (it’s one of my little anti-aging tricks!) – and it’s so important to get at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. Lack of sleep affects your mood, focus, productivity and hunger levels the next day – and your immune system in the long run. I consider getting enough sleep to be a vital part of my self-care routine, but turning my brain off after a long day of school and work is never as easy as I’d like it to be.
I like to start and end my day in certain ways – and my morning and nighttime routines are pretty similar. What helps me set the tone in the mornings also helps me wind down at the end of the day and quiets my mind and body. Here are 3 ways to calm your mind before bed.
Limit screen time
I DO NOT get on my phone first thing in the morning because the blue light from screens boost your stress levels and trick your body into thinking it’s mid-day. It has the same effects at night! The blue light stimulates your brain, suppresses the production of melatonin and alters your circadian rhythm, making it harder for you to get the right amount of sleep. I try not to be on my phone for at least a couple hours before bed – and I do this by putting my phone in another room. If you need to be on your phone in the evenings, you can turn on Night Shift on iPhones which helps block the blue light and turn your screen’s brightness all the way down.
At night, I review my day by writing a bulleted list of what I need to do the next day. Reflecting on my day and going through tomorrow’s to-do list helps declutter my mind and release any stress and worries before bed – and it’s so satisfying crossing off the bullets the next day!
Reading before bed is proven to get your body ready for sleep – even if it’s only for a few minutes. It helps you relax and reduce your stress levels by slowing down your heart rate, easing any muscle tension and altering your state of mind. Reading doesn’t necessarily make you feel sleepy but it does distract your mind from the day’s events, which can make it easier for you to fall asleep. I like to opt for print books versus e-readers at night to limit blue light exposure!
Do you have any tricks to calm your mind before bed? I’d love to hear about your nighttime routine!