5 Tips to Help You Wind Down At Night | Hello Pretty Bird! - A beauty and not-so-glamorous lifestyle blog

14 October, 2015

5 Tips to Help You Wind Down At Night

A couple of weeks ago I shared my tips for waking up from a non-morning person. I have learned over the years that stress is often a big part of the cause of sleeplessness for me, so it's essential that I take time to relax and wind down so I actually have a fighting chance at falling asleep. Today I'll be sharing a few of my favorite relaxation techniques—they're a great way to just a great way to help yourself feel good and maybe get a better night's sleep.

One of the most reliable methods I've found to help me relax and fall asleep is deep breathing exercises. I keep it simple: Breathe in slowly through the nose for a few counts, then exhale slowly (also through the nose) for an equal number of counts. If you've never done breathing exercises before it's good to start with in four/out four, but if you're experienced or have good lung capacity, you can do even more. Repeat this several times and you will find your body very relaxed!

In addition to having trouble falling asleep at night, I also wake up easily—fun! I live in a city, so there's always a bit of light outside, and the flickering sometimes wakes me up. (Thanks massive lamp post right behind my building.) Obviously an eye mask will block out light while you sleep, but I find it easier to fall into a state of relaxation if I lie down with the mask for at least half an hour before I really need to fall asleep—it allows my body to “forget” the light and start to relax, for lack of a better explanation.

Looks silly, but it works!

When shutting out all the light and relaxing my body isn't enough, I find myself starting to worry that I'm not falling asleep, which makes me stressed all over again. In these situations, guided visualization really helps—think recordings of soothing voices telling you to breathe deeply and picture relaxing environs. Eventually the visualization distracts me from the fact that I'm not asleep, and makes me relaxed again! Aww yiss. There are tons of resources for guided visualization on the internet, so if you want to try it for yourself just do a search and you'll find loads to help you on your relaxation journey.

Scents make a really big impact on my mood, so I always keep soothing essential oils on hand. Lavender is by far the most relaxing scent to my nose—there's just something so clean and calming about it, like it takes me to another place (i.e. not the room I'm unable to fall asleep in). Lately I've been dabbing a little bit of Nature’s Bounty® Earthly Elements™ Lavender oil on a cotton pad and putting it on my bedside table before I lie down at night to help me unwind. If lavender isn't your thing, there are other essential oils that are relaxing too—eucalyptus and chamomile are also favorites of mine.

One last thing that's been a big help to me in being able to fall asleep is forming consistent habits and routines (like trying to go to bed around the same time every night). One important part of my routine is journaling—I take at least fifteen minutes to scribble down whatever's on my mind, or at least doodle and draw out my feelings. This is always done with pen and paper—the bright light from my computer can be a bit too stimulating and etching ink on paper is just so satisfying. Journaling and drawing gives me an outlet to vent my stress before I commit to falling asleep, which gives me less of a reason to obsess about it once I close my eyes.

I can't always explain my doodles, but they do relax me.

Do you have any tried-and-true tricks for falling asleep faster? Which of the Earthly Elements™ essential oils sounds the most relaxing to you? Let me know in the comments!

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Nature’s Bounty®. All opinions are my own. For more information, check out my full disclosure policy.

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