Peace and Tranquility Before Bed Time

Dr. Craig Hudson, MD | September 13, 2016

We have all had those nights when the mind and body just don’t seem to cooperate. It is not uncommon for an exhausted body to be held hostage to a racing mind or a mind that is ready to get some zzzs and a body that is tense and twitchy that prevents you from drifting off into dreamland.

In order to get the best possible night’s sleep, it is important that both the mind and body reach relaxation and tranquility. Fortunately, you do not have to be at the whim of the days stresses and circumstances – there are proactive steps you can take when you go to bed TONIGHT to help calm your mind and body.

It may take some time and practice, particularly if you have to break some bad habits, but it can be achieved.

The following are three exercises that you can work into your nightly routine to help you attain tranquility and a peaceful night’s sleep.

1. Gentle Yoga Poses

Regular exercise is important to your overall health as well as to your sleep quality but vigorous exercise too close to bedtime can wind you up and interfere with your sleep. More gentle exercises such as yoga can help to relax tense muscles and clear the mind preparing you for a good night’s rest.

Before bed, try doing five to ten minutes of simple yoga poses. Child’s pose is a good choice as it is not taxing and just about everyone can do it.  Simply get on the bed or floor and kneel, sitting down on your heels and then stretch your torso forward with your arms out in front of you. Relax into the stretch and breathe deeply.

2. Meditation Exercises

Stress can easily ruin what might have been a good night’s sleep. You need to let it go. There are many ways to practice meditation, so you may want to experiment a bit to find out what works best for you.

One simple exercise you can try, is to imagine your worries and stress as an object – a tennis ball works well. Sit still with your eyes closed and imagine holding your worry ball in your hand, noticing the way it feels. Imagine squeezing it and gripping it tightly. Now. Let it go. Let it fall from your hand taking your stress with you. When you realize that you are holding your worries and it is not your worries that are holding you, they become easier and easier to let go of.

There are also mobile aps such as Buddhify that will walk you through short bed time, relaxation and stress relief meditation exercises.

3. Practice Gratitude

Just as negative emotions can keep you from getting your sleep, positive emotion can help relax you and give you a sense of well-being. Try spending 10-15 minutes before bed time journaling about all the things that you are thankful for.

If negative thoughts begin to creep in, go back and re-read previous entries. Focus on the things that are going well in your life and it will help both mind and body to relax and let you get the sleep you need.

Bed time rituals can have a very positive affect on sleep quality. Try out these 3 exercises and implement them into your nightly routines!