Getting more sleep often falls into the “easier said than done” category. It’s common knowledge that getting a good night’s rest is important for a variety of reasons. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports:
Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.
However, for many, it’s not that simple.
Stressed about a big project that’s due? If you go to bed obsessing over it, you’ll likely wake up with worry on your mind. Conversely, if you go to bed in a relaxed mood, you’re more likely to start the next day on a positive note.
The NIH says that the way you feel while you’re awake depends in part on what happens while you’re sleeping.
[O]ongoing sleep deficiency can raise your risk for some chronic health problems. It also can affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others.
One of the keys to going to bed in a relaxed state and getting the rest you need is your habit pattern in the crucial window before bedtime.
Here are seven tips that will help you with your before-bed routine. Use one — or a few of them — to get in the habit of resting well and living a happier life.
1. Put Your Phone in Airplane Mode
For most people, cell phones are always within reach. And for some, phones even double as alarm clocks. This may be helpful and convenient, but it’s not necessarily a good thing. Researchers are looking at whether the light and electronic signals from cell phones can hurt sleep, and if using airplane mode can help.
This sounds good, but actually doing it every night can be hard to remember. The Auto Airplane Mode app for Android allows you to set automatic start and stop times for airplane mode each day.
There is also an Airplane Mode Widget for Android that gives users an on-screen switch to easily toggle airplane mode on or off.
Download — Auto Airplane Mode for Android [No Longer Available]
Download — Airplane Mode Widget for Android [No Longer Available]
2. Make the Bedroom a Relaxation Haven
It’s much easier to sleep well in a comfortable environment, so make your bedroom as soothing as possible. Kathryn Grigg, the Creative Director for CRaVE Mattress, has 26 years of experience helping people get a better night’s rest:
Your bedroom is your sanctuary and it should have a relaxing atmosphere. Light wall colors, aromatherapy, and cool temperatures all help in creating the right environment for sleep.
The system utilizes apps for both Android and iOS to let you easily control the color and brightness of your lighting.
Download — Philips Hue for Android [Broken Link Removed] (Free) | iOS (Free)
3. Power Down With Meditation
Anyone who has given yoga a try knows how far even a little meditation can go. Even for those who haven’t, though, there are a number of apps that will help relax your mind before bed with the power of meditation.
The Deep Sleep With Andrew Johnson app for iOS and Android is a relaxing guided meditation. The idea is to help clear your mind and give you a more restful night’s sleep.
Another good app for meditation is Calm, also for both iOS and Android. The app aims to make meditating simple using daily programs, which will in turn lead to better sleep and reduced stress.
4. Enjoy a Warm Cup of Tea
You of course shouldn’t eat anything substantial right before bed, but a nice cup of tea might add to a relaxing night of rest. Researchers have yet to conclusively prove that drinking non-caffeinated tea before bed improves sleep, but many people enjoy the ritual just the same:
A nightcap of chamomile tea or other non-caffeinated herbal tea is a soothing relaxer before bed.
If you’re looking to brush up on your research of tea to see which might be best for you, check out the Tea app on iOS.
For Android, the A Perfect Cup of Tea app is a simple timer that helps you brew the perfect cup, based on the type of tea. It also allows you to add custom teas.
Download — Tea for iOS ($1.99) [No Longer Available]
Download — A Perfect Cup of Tea for Android [No Longer Available]
5. Start Your Night Earlier
Powering down before bed can be a challenge if you’re trying to squeeze a lot of at-home activities into a busy night. One way to give yourself more time at night is to get home from work earlier — of course, that can get tricky if you have to commute.
Get a jump on the after-work traffic with Waze for Android and iOS, a community based traffic app that gives you the best route every day in real time. In addition to traffic, the app identifies police and accidents.
The INRIX Traffic app [No Longer Available] for both platforms also learns your driving habits and routes to help you plan your evening commute.
6. Use Essential Oils
Essential oils are also known for their calming effects, and working them into your nighttime routine can help fuel your relaxation:
My new favorite is a drop or two of lavender oil on the temples to help you to drift off peacefully.
For iPhone users, the Best Essential Oils and Aromatherapy Guide Pro app might be a mouthful, but it can help guide you through getting the most out of various oils.
The Ref. Guide for Essential Oils app includes info on more than 700 health topics and works for both Android and iOS.
Download — Best Essential Oils and Aromatherapy Guide Pro for iOS (Free) [No Longer Available]
7. Monitor Your Sleep Patterns
If you’re still having a bit of trouble resting throughout the night, there are ways to analyze and maximize your sleeping habits.
The Sleep Cycle alarm clock app for Android and iOS uses your phone’s motion detectors, microphone and accelerometer to measure your sleep cycles and a 30-minute wake up phase that helps wake you up softly.
The Sleep as Android app for Android offers similar features and can integrate with smart watches and Google Fit and Google Health.
Download — Sleep as Android for Android (Free, $3.99 for Premium)
What Will Your Evening Be Like Tonight?
Consistent and restful sleep reduces stress and anxiety, which can greatly impact your happiness on a day-to-day basis. Sure, there may be instances that pop up that cut into your happiness, but imagine how much worse it might be if you’re going on little or no sleep.
By using some of these tips, you can create a healthy, lasting evening habit that will set you up for better rest, and a better morning as a result.
So, how many of these evening habits will you be trying tonight? Tell us how you use technology to get a better night’s rest in the comments section below!
Image Credits: Tyler Olson/Shutterstock