How many times have you been so relaxed that you fell asleep on accident? Well, if you’re having trouble sleeping, you probably haven’t had very many of those moments lately. But today may very well change all that. We’re coming to you with some tips on natural relaxation methods you can use to increase the frequency of these relaxing moments. The easier it is for you to train your body to relax naturally, the easier it’ll be to get the quality rest your body deserves.
Create a Naturally Relaxing Environment
We want to take a moment to emphasize how important it is to learn how to relax naturally if you’re having sleep problems. Anybody can take a prescription pill or swing by the drugstore and pick up an over-the-counter sleep aid. But this is often the worst thing you can do for your health and wellness. While these medicines may make you feel drowsy, you don’t actually get quality sleep when you take them. If anything, the chemicals in these drugs can inhibit your ability to get truly healthful and restorative rest. If you take them for a long period of time or abuse them, they may even do permanent damage to your body’s ability to get restorative rest! So try to avoid them at all costs.
Instead, start by setting up a naturally relaxing environment so that you can train your body to sleep on its own. It’s actually not that difficult to create a sleep friendly space for your body to get great rest at night. Just follow these few simple steps for maximum effectiveness.
Step One: Make it Cooler in Your Bedroom
The human body has evolved over tens of thousands of years to follow a certain daily rhythm. Part of that rhythm involves making itself sleepy when the temperature drops after the sun goes down. Part of the reason people struggle to get to sleep at night is because they are too warm. When your body is too warm and doesn’t get the nightly temperature drop it needs, it doesn’t get the ball rolling on your nightly sleep cycle. So turn down that thermostat and enjoy the natural relaxation that comes with it.
Step Two: Manage Your Light Exposure More Closely
The temperature drop is only one of many signals the body receives in the evening which tells us it’s time for rest. The other signal is a change in the lights. The blue light of the sun is what makes us feel awake during the day; but we also expose ourselves to that wakeful blue light when we spend too much time around electronic devices in the evening. Turn off the TV, get away from your computer, silence your smartphone, and do your best to avoid electronic light within an hour or two of bedtime. This can also help you relax naturally.
Step Three: Take a Warm Bath
This ties into what we said above about temperature control. It seems counter-intuitive to increase your core body temperature with warm water, but hear us out. When you get out of the bath, your temperature will drop. When the temperature drops, it starts a chain reaction of physiological processes that tell your body to start feeling sleepy and prepare for bed. It’s as simple as that!
Step Four: Find Your Perfect Sleep Sounds
More often than not, silence in the bedroom can be prohibitively loud while you are trying to drift off to sleep. That idle silence opens the floodgates for anxious thoughts to come pouring into your mind. But if you give yourself some white noise – like a pre-recorded thunderstorm, whale noises, or even plain old static – it’ll give you something else to focus on so that your overactive imagination doesn’t get the better of you.
Focus on Fixing the Main Problem: an Anxious Mind!
It’s one thing to create a relaxing physical space. It’s another thing to tackle the challenge of relaxing yourself mentally in order to eliminate your sleep troubles. But conquering this challenge is essential since this is the main reason most people have trouble sleeping. Once you climb this mental mountain, you’ll never have problems relaxing naturally ever again.
Exercise during the day helps you improve your ability to relax naturally at night. The more you tire your body out, the less of a fight it will put up when your head hits the pillow. Even if it’s something as simple as walking, any exercise is better than no exercise to get yourself relaxed before bed.
Journaling is another great way to relax your mind at the end of the day. How often have you found yourself laying awake at night because you can’t stop thinking about what you need to do tomorrow? Whether you’re just venting frustrations on pen and paper or mapping out tomorrow’s to do list, writing the thoughts down can release them from your mind so that you don’t hold on to that tension when trying to sleep.
Lastly, mindfulness should be on your, well, mind! If the journaling isn’t quite helpful enough and the exercise still hasn’t tuckered you out, then you’re going to want to take a more direct approach. Mindfulness meditation, yoga, or even religious prayer can help get you in the right headspace and make it easier for you to relax naturally. If you’re unsure where to start, look for some free applications on your smartphone that can coach you through the basics. All it takes to find them is a simple search.
Look for Natural Sleep Supplements
We’ve already excoriated the negative side effects of prescription drugs and or over the counter sleeping pills. But that doesn’t mean all sleep aids are bad. As a matter of fact, some of them can be quite helpful and healthful at the same time. But you have to make sure they contain natural, safe ingredients. Any herbal sleep aid which contains things like melatonin, chamomile, or even hops extract should work splendidly. Many of them are highly affordable, and a welcome relief for people who have struggled to relax naturally on their own.