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Top 7 ways to Unwind Before Bedtime

Midwinter in New Zealand – June 21 – also marks the international day of yoga so we thought we’d pay attention to our flexible friends and hunt out the best ways to relax before hitting the sack.

We already know that a great night’s sleep on a Bedpost mattress is the perfect way to approach the day – but it makes sense to prepare for a night’s rest by winding down and emptying the mind.

So here’s our seven-point guide to gearing down for the nighttime.

1. Create routine:
A good night’s sleep is just as much a habit as waking up in the middle of the night can become a bad habit. Just train your body to recognise the signals that sleep isn’t far off – a regular bath, warm drink or half an hour on the couch with your favourite playlist – and you’ll soon create that barrier between the daytime and the night.

2. Keep the bedroom a worry-free zone:

Just because our body might want to shut down, doesn’t mean our mind is going to play ball which means turning out the light tends to mean we’re flooded by all the worries we’ve been storing up during the day. To stop these anxieties keeping you awake, take time to write down your worries at specific times of the day – this should give you enough separation to rest easy at night and keep the business side of life to the daylight hours.

3. Keep your bed for intimacy and sleep only:
You’ll never train your body to recognise it’s time for bed if you regularly snack, read, watch television, work or play on the computer in bed.

4. Avoid getting too worked up:
This doesn’t just mean turning down the chance to play five-a-side soccer at 10.30pm, it also means cutting out that late night news broadcast or working on that work presentation until you’re ready to drop. You have to create a barrier between your waking world and dreamland – and that’s not going to happen if you’re worried about the Fonterra share price or your boss’s reaction to last month’s sales.

5. Pick the right exercise for the right time of day:
Getting a good dose of stimulating exercise during the daytime will certainly help you sleep well at night – but you can also learn a few relaxation exercises for the evening to help your body wind down. Most of these relaxation techniques involve controlled breathing and the systematic tensing and relaxing of muscle groups throughout the body.

6. Give your mind a final workout:
Once you’ve got your body rested, you can keep your worries at bay with simple mindfulness exercises which accentuate the “here-and-now”. Once upon a time this was the “counting sheep” method, but there are plenty of other mindfulness techniques out there these days – like working through five regular events of the previous day and seeing how they impacted positively on your life.

7. Investigate your daily habits:
There are plenty of regular activities which might impinge on a good night’s sleep without you realising. Check out your alcohol and caffeine intake especially – and remember that tea and chocolate are caffeinated too.

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