Sleep hygiene is an important practice, which trains our body and allows it to take signs from our routine/rhythms to know when to relax so it can fall asleep. In our hectic American lifestyle we often do things that go against what we have traditionally done to signal our bodies that it's bedtime, so sometimes what we need to do is find out what routine works for us.
Here are some ideas:
In the hours leading up to bedtime, there are a number of things you can do to support relaxation and communicate with your body that it's time.
-Turn down harsh lights. Use dimmers, candles or less overhead lighting and more low spot lighting in your environment to signal nighttime.
-An hour or two before bed, stop using brightly lit devices like TV, computer, phone screens.
-Find activities to add to your bedtime routine that are relaxing:
-20 minute epsom salt bath (magnesium is VERY muscle relaxing)
-listen to relaxing music
-plan intimate activities with roommate or partner
-foot bath and foot massage (self)
Design a 30-minute to 1 hour bedtime routine that when time allows includes the ideas above and anything else that works for you to signal bedtime. Keep to this routine every night and allow yourself to experiment with different activities that you can add in occasionally.
Example: 30 minutes before bed: make a cup of favorite tea, enjoy on the couch or in a comfy spot as you let go of today. You can so something like "thorns and roses," in which you reflect on what didn't go well and how to better respond next time or what you learned from the experience and then what was a beautiful moment from your day. Then, change into pjs, wash face, brush teeth with low lights and nice music. In bed, read an inspirational card or paragraph before bed. Here is when you can also do a breathing exercise or a short meditation to further disconnect from your busy mind. Theanine helps with this. Another tool that may help is falling asleep to nature sounds or white noise.
Enjoy "training" your body to be ready for bed and "training" your mind that it's time to STOP when you're in bed and ready to fall asleep.