Sometimes while trying to fall asleep at night, your thoughts can start racing much like a Twitter newsfeed. Since we carry our work and social lives with us in the form of an iphone, it can be tough to draw the line between being productively busy and productively resting. To help reunite you into a night of peaceful slumber, here are four tips to unwinding before hitting the pillow.
1) Keep your cell phone out of the bedroom
Have you ever tried to keep a bag of M&Ms in the cupboard with the intention of only eating one serving size at a time? Even the best of intentions will have you tempted to overindulge. The same goes with your cell phone. Not only should you put it out of your bedroom, be sure it’s on vibrate and in a place you can’t hear the slightest of vibrations. Out of sight, out of mind!
2) Have a cut off time for work
Since we no longer leave work at work and we inevitably are “available” to work way into the night, it’s time to set some boundaries. Leave room for a minimum of one non-negotiable work-free hour before bed. Doing so will drain those rampant thoughts and allow you to think about nothing but counting sheep as you fall fast asleep.
3) Try a restorative body scan
No, this is not the part where you are abducted by aliens. Find a place in you home where you can lay flat on the floor (not your bedroom). It should be a quiet place where no one can interrupt you. Start by thinking about how your big left toe feels. Is it cold? Warm? Tingling? Imagine the air going in and out of the toe. Then move to your other toes, the arch of your foot and then the ankle. Once you get to the ankle, breathe in and out and relax all tension in the foot. Move to your calf, knee, thigh, etc. Repeat on your other side and then move through the rest of the body. Taking the time to breathe in and out of every inch of your body will allow your muscles to relax, teaching you how to let it go.
4) Choose your dinner wisely
Who doesn’t love dinner? But what you’re putting on your plate could be keeping you tossing and turning throughout the night. Aim for eating two to three hours before bed. Also, skip the alcohol, acidic foods and the hot and spicy. Alcohol is a diuretic that can act as a stimulant when you’re not following it up with water-thus keeping you wide-awake. Acidic and spicy foods can trigger acid reflux or heartburn making it uncomfortable to sleep. Your best bet is to eat foods mild in flavor, with complex carbohydrates and in small healthy portions.
Lisa Payne is a fitness trainer and writer from Chicago, Illinois. She views fitness as much a part of her daily life as the clothes she wears – she can’t go very far without it! Being active and eating healthy have always fueled her energy, confidence and mood, which is why her career in fitness was somewhat inevitable.