Do you have trouble falling asleep at night? We all know that restless feeling when we can’t turn off our minds after a long day. You are open-eyed stuck staring at the ceiling and looking back and forth at the clock. Some say to count backward and drink warm milk (yuck), but I am here to tell you 5 alternatives to consider for a good night’s sleep without the use of over-the-counter sleeping pills or wine.
Meditation is the perfect practice to help collect your thoughts and release the stress of your day through deep breathing. It helps aid your emotional and mental state which in turn follows a large number of benefits to both yourself and your quality of life. Contrary to popular belief, meditation does not require you to have years of experience, sit upright, chant, and meditate for long periods. My favorite way to meditate is lying down in my bed, closing my eyes, and listening to a short guided meditation (depending on my busy schedule). Once you begin to meditate you will find what method works best for you. Whether you use a meditation app, attend a mediation session, or follow a guided meditation video on YouTube, you will find peace in your thoughts which should allow you to feel comfortable in falling asleep. Below is a quick YouTube meditation session that you can practice before bed.
2. Essential Oils (Aromatherapy)
Not only do they smell amazing, but they also provide soothing effects that are sleep-inducing. Some of the best essential oils that provide sleeping benefits are lavender oil (known for a relaxing effect), Chamomile Oils (known to reduce anxiety), Valerian Oil (known for sleep-inducing effects), Jasmine Oil (known for tackling insomnia), and Peppermint Oil (known for reducing sleep apnea symptoms).
There are various ways to add essential oils to your sleep routine. You can rub a few drops of the oil mixed with a carrier oil such as olive or sweet almond oil to dilute and protect your sensitive skin onto specific areas of your body. You can also use an air diffuser to distribute the fragrance in your room or place a few drops onto your pillow. Safety tip: If you are new to essential oils, be sure to read the instructions on the label, and before applying the oil topically, test a small amount of the specific oil onto your skin alongside a carrier oil, to ensure that you don’t have any allergic reaction/sensitivity. Check out this affordable aromatherapy starter kit that includes a select few of the essential oils mentioned above.
3. Stay off your cell phone
Our cellphones stimulate our brain and may be part of the reason you are having trouble turning off your thoughts before bed. Between the blue light and constant entertainment our phone provides to us, it is affecting your internal body clock tricking your brain into feeling alert. According to the National Sleep Foundation, to improve your sleep, you should turn off your electronic devices 30 minutes before bedtime. “Electronic devices emit bright blue light that your brain perceives as sunlight, tricking it into delaying sleep and keeping you awake longer than you’d like,” said The National Sleep Foundation.
Not sure what to do without your cellphone 30 minutes before bedtime? Journal. Journaling is yet another healthy and mindful habit that can not only benefit you before bed but your mindset overall. You can journal about your day, concerns, goals, or simply what you are grateful for. Pen to paper is the perfect way to self-reflect on your needs, thoughts, wants, and desires. In this pandemic, I found a gratitude journal has had a profound effect on myself and those around me. Instead of focusing on the chaos and stress of our daily lives, my gratitude journal has brought me to reflect on the good part of my day, even if it’s as simple as getting a coffee at Starbucks. This gratitude journal analyzes what you are grateful for, looking forward to, and your best part of the day. Don’t think, just write, and watch your gratitude grow.
5. Visualize your happy place
Tuck yourself into bed, shut off your lights, close your eyes, and visualize your happy place. Whether your happy place is a shopping mall, a dinner date, a beach, a club, or intimate hangouts with your loved ones, imagining these “safe-places” will bring you comfort and happiness. Instead of visualizing your stressful day ahead, think positive thoughts and about those who bring you contentment. Drift away from the thoughts that keep you up at night, and dream of the ones that inspire you to wake up in the morning.
Nicole Grappone is currently in her senior year at Molloy College with a major in B.A. Professional Communications with a minor in Television/Film Production. Nicole's dream job is to be a journalist at E! News. She is passionate about celebrity news and creative writing. When Nicole has downtime she often meditates to clear her mind, collects healing crystals at a local metaphysical shop, and reflects on her day in a gratitude journal.