5 Tested Tips to Destress Before Bed
Do you have Sleep Issues?
Sleep issues affect people of all ages for many reasons and we are seeing rising cases of insomnia and other sleep disorders.
In the UK, 71% of adults don’t get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep a night yet only 48% of those admit that they have a sleep problem.
Why is Sleep so Important?
Sleep is important for both physical and mental health. It helps our bodies to rejuvenate and lowers the risk of serious health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and dementia.
Sleep is a necessity, not a luxury, so why aren’t we getting enough of it?
Studies suggest it might have something to do with our culture.
The Culture that Affects our Sleep
We are a 24-hour society with shops that never close, restaurants that serve food until the early hours of the morning, and jobs that work through the night.
Everything is accessible to us all the time and those of us who live in a metropolis can never seem to escape the bright lights and background noise of city life.
With the cost-of-living crisis, more people are stressed about income and working extra hours just to get by. People are unable to shake off the stress caused by income uncertainty and the unknown which is a huge driving factor to our sleeping problems.
So how can we improve it?
Good sleep requires a consistent routine of healthy habits and activities to destress.
We’ve put together 5 tips that are manageable for a busy lifestyle to help you destress before bed.
5 Tested Tips to Destress Before Bed
1. Limit Caffeine after Lunch
We know you love your afternoon cup of tea, so do we! But swapping for a decaf version will taste just as delicious without the sleep disruption.
It doesn’t have to be herbal either, while green tea does contains the sleep promoter theanine, decaffeinated tea encourages relaxation and can have positive effects on our physical health too.
If a cup of caffeine is how you usually destress before bed, consider making the swap.
2. Swap the Endless Scrolling for a Session of Journalling
We are addicted to our phones and most of us know it.
Doomscrolling is linked to increased depression and anxiety, yet we just can’t pull ourselves away from the screen. The validation we feel from notifications and updates give us a quick burst of dopamine that gets us hooked and wanting more.
It won’t be easy at first but set yourself a timer and put your phone away. Instead, grab yourself a piece of paper and write down a mini reflection of the day.
What went well? What didn’t go so well? What’s your goal for tomorrow? Not only does journalling decrease mental distress but it also helps us to achieve our goals.
3. Stretch Out the Day
Experts suggest stretching for 5 to 30 minutes before bedtime to calm your body.
Gentle stretches can help us to relax, reduce body pain, improve muscle health and circulation, reduce stress, and increase our mobility.
Whether it be yoga, tai chi or just some simple shoulder rolls, giving our body a good stretch helps it to rejuvenate while you sleep.
4. Keep your Bed for Sleeping
Try to keep before-bed activities out of the bed. Since lockdown, so many of us work from home and this makes it very enticing to sit in bed with our laptops. While its comfy, you are sending signals to your brain that the bed is your work space.
This goes for bedtime reading and tv too.
Reading a book before bedtime is a known de-stressor but many of us struggle to put the pages down when we are engrossed in a story.
Consider sitting elsewhere in a dimly lit room and read until you are sleepy, not just tired. Get yourself into bed when you know you will fall asleep.
This prevents us laying down and staring at the ceiling for hours. If you do feel that you have been trying to get to sleep for more than an hour, get up for a drink of water and some relaxation before trying again. This helps our brains to relate the bed with going to sleep.
5. Limit Background Noise and Light
It’s time to break the habit of falling asleep with the tv on to destress before bed.
Continuous background noise can harm your brain by overstimulating your auditory cortex (the part that perceives sound).
While white noise can help us get into a deep sleep, try setting it on a timer so you aren’t subject to it for more than a few hours.
Black out curtains are a must for night shift workers and city dwellers. Dimming the lights an hour before bed can also help your brain to correlate the darkness with bedtime.
That wraps up our 5 tested tips to destress before bed.
If you find that you are struggling to fall asleep and stay asleep for more than four weeks it might be time to call the doctor. They may prescribe medication to help you with your sleep or recommend CBT to help change your thoughts and behaviours that are affecting your sleep.
Here at Inspire You Wellbeing, we recognise the importance of sleep and provide support for insomnia through CBTi please enquire here to find out more.