I often have trouble unwinding at night with thoughts from the day and for the next day buzzing through my head. I have started to incorporate some relaxing and calming activities into my nighttime routine to promote sleepiness and therefor a more restful night.
First, we have heard it before, the blue light (artificial light) from our electronic devices promotes alertness and can delay the brain’s release of melatonin keeping us awake for hours. Research suggests that shutting down these devices an hour ahead of bed time can help you fall asleep faster. For those who are not able to or prefer not to stay away from phones, tablets or laptops, there are now apps available that can warm up the light to a reddish hue to avoid disrupting the release of melatonin.
I use meditation every night to recall my energy from the day, calm my mind and listen to my body. If you are new to meditation, I highly recommend using a guided meditation for sleep (available on youtube), or an app like Calm (available iTunes and Play store) to help you.
I have started journaling at night to get my thoughts out and onto paper so they are not buzzing through my brain as I try to unwind. I have found that unloading these thoughts onto paper, whether it may be a new recipe, a to do list item or rehashing a conversation, has greatly helped with my ability to “shut down my brain” and settle in for sleep.
Lastly, I spend time drawing or coloring as an alternative to blue light activities or other stimulating things. You can find an adult coloring book just about anywhere or simply grab a notebook and some colored pencils and doodle away.