Sometimes, even when your head hits the pillow, your brain doesn't stop. It knows sleep should come, but it wants to think about both pressing and mundane things! When we lose awareness of the present moment, our minds get stuck in maladaptive ways of thinking. Restorative solutions to calm the mind and body are key, as is perspective: A couple of nights in a row of insomnia won't have a huge impact on subsequent days.
But we also know it's often easier said than done. Luckily, there are a handful of helpful tips and tricks we swear by to get the anxiety out and combat sleep problems both big and small. Whether they'll help you get into bed more relaxed, get out of bed more rested and glowing, these tips endeavor to get you rising and shining with the absolute best of them.
Feng shui your bedroom.
"One of the simplest ways to start to heal your life is to use feng shui in your bedroom," says feng shui healer Anjie Cho. "The bedroom is the area of your home that is closest to you. Think about how many hours you spend there! This room holds your personal qi, so think carefully about all the objects you have surrounded yourself with. I love Black tourmaline and clear quartz together to protect and purify the bedroom energetically from electromagnetic forces that affect your sleep and healing."
Cut caffeine after 2 p.m.
That means coffee, tea, and any caffeinated drinks. Caffeine is a stimulant that stays in your system for about eight hours, so if you have a cappuccino after dinner, come bedtime, it'll either prevent your brain from entering deep sleep or stop you from falling asleep altogether. Dr. Frank Lipman has a genius plan to help you free your body and wallet from the grip of caffeine addiction if you so wish!
Write down your worries.
Don't take your problems to bed. This is important, because when you're stressed, your body will secrete the stress hormone cortisol, which is responsible for increased alertness and sympathetic nervous activity. Establish a soothing pre-sleep routine, which could involve anything from journaling to meditation or a gemstone bath to balance your chakras and soothe your skin. All of these activities will help you keep anxiety and stress in check.
Take time to wind down from electronics.
Try dimming your lights at home an hour before bedtime—this starts winding down the brain and body, giving you time to engage in relaxing activities outside the bedroom that pass the time quietly like arranging a few good-vibe stones on your bedside table. Avoid looking at anything with a screen: Stow away your tablet, phone, computer, and TV for the night—the light can keep you awake and alert.
Have a cup of chamomile tea.
One study from England found that drinking chamomile tea raised urine levels of glycine, a compound that calms muscle spasms. Researchers believe this is why chamomile tea could prove to be an effective home remedy for menstrual cramps as well. But one of the main reasons we love it is that it soothes the nervous system so that you can sleep better. It has been used as a solution for insomnia for centuries!
Spray an aromatherapy scent
Certain smells, such as lavender, chamomile, and ylang-ylang, activate the alpha-wave activity in the back of your brain, which leads to relaxation and helps you sleep more soundly. Mix a few drops of essential oil and water in a spray bottle and give your pillowcase a spritz. Dreamy...
Breathing techniques help reduce your heart rate and blood pressure, release endorphins, and relax your body, priming you for sleep. Dr. Amy Shah recommends the 4-7-8 breathing technique: It takes less than two minutes, and you'll be amazed at how effective it is.
Change your pillowcases often.
Wash your pillowcases frequently, so you're not resting your lovely skin on top of bacteria nests for eight hours a night! We love this DIY laundry detergent recipe.
DIY laundry detergent
- 2 cups soap flakes (see directions below for making them)
- 1 cup washing soda
- 1 cup Borax
- 20 drops lemon essential oil
- 20 drops lavender essential oil
- To make soap flakes, grate a bar of unscented natural soap using the fine side of your cheese grater. I buy clear vegetable glycerin or olive oil soap bars from my local bulk food store, and many web sources suggest using Ivory soap.
- Combine all the ingredients in a large airtight container. Stir to combine (or just put the lid on and shake vigorously).
- Use 2 tablespoons homemade laundry detergent per load.
Don't tie your hair up too tightly.
It's a good idea to keep your hair out of your face while you're sleeping to keep its natural oils from wreaking havoc on your complexion. But avoid pulling it into a really tight bun or ponytail because aside from causing hair breakage, especially around the hairline, it can cause your whole jaw to tighten. Most of us do not know when we are feeling stress until it is too late, and a lot of that stress is held in our face. However, all of the muscles in the face are connected to the rest of our body, and if we can relax the face, everything relaxes with it. Try this facial massage technique before bed and you'll be a glowing (stress-free) goddess come morning.