We spend about a third of our lives in slumberland, but many people complain of not sleeping well. If you have a tough time falling asleep or you toss and turn in the middle of the night, try exercising during the day and limiting alcohol and caffeine a few hours before bedtime. But if you are doing this already and still have troubles, here are three things to do immediately before hitting the hay to calm your body and mind and help you get the restful night of sleep you crave.
- The power of water: Twenty minutes before bedtime, dim the lights in the bathroom, turn on some relaxing tunes on your iPhone, and take a warm shower or bath. The heat soothes achy muscles, and the steam clears your sinuses, which is essential if allergy symptoms prevent you from sleeping well at night. It's also a great way to wash away germs and prevent you from getting sick, which can also make it difficult to sleep.
- Bye-bye pains: After your 10-minute warm bath or shower, slip into your PJs and do five minutes of stretching to ease any pains that prevent you from sleeping. Lower back pain is common for many, so if yours bothers you, here's a yoga sequence to offer back pain relief. If a sore neck and shoulders are your woe, do these soothing stretches. A little self-massage can also ease muscle tension, or apply a heating pad or one of those rice pillows you warm up in the microwave to sore areas.
- Get bored: Now slip into bed, not with a riveting, can't-put-it-down book, but one that has a dull, monotonous, stale topic that's bound to have your eyelids drooping in minutes. Be sure to read from an actual book, not a laptop or iPad, as the lights cue your brain to wake up.