Sleepless nights turn into long, groggy days. Use these tips to help yourself relax and de-stress before bed so you can rise feeling happy and rested (at last!).

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Maybe your mind always seems to be racing when your head hits the pillow, or you regularly crawl into bed and fire off a few work emails before turning out the lights. Perhaps your lumpy old mattress prevents you from getting comfortable. Whatever is standing between you and a good night of sleep, it's time reevaluate your bedtime routine and find out what's really causing you to toss and turn. Try one—or all—of these ideas to fall asleep faster.

black and white bedroom

1. Sleep in a Comfortable Bed

While this may seem obvious, maybe you haven't considered replacing those old pillows or buying a new mattress to aid in a good night's rest since it can be a big financial commitment (most queen mattresses range from $500 to $6,000, according to Consumer Reports). But considering Americans spend about half of their lives in bed, investing in more comfortable essentials can go a long way. If the idea of visiting a store to shop for a new mattress stresses you out, give one of these mattress-in-a-box brands a try instead.

2. Make Sure Your Bedroom Is Conducive to Sleep

Most people sleep best in a cool, dark environment, so consider programming the thermostat to a more comfortable temperature during nighttime or keep a fan running. The National Sleep Foundation recommends keeping your bedroom between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. If too much light is getting through your blinds and keeping you up, room-darkening curtains can be a big help (and if you need inspiration, we love the velvet curtains trend).

3. Take a Bath

Taking this time for a little pampering could be the self-care practice you need to clear your head and calm your body down before bed. Wind down from a long day with luxurious bath salts (try Sleep Lavender Bath Salts, $12.82 on Amazon), candlelight, and some relaxing music.

4. Drink a Glass of Warm Milk or a Cup of Herb Tea

Milk is rich in calcium and l-tryptophan, which help your body prepare for sleep. Tea has many health benefits, too, so incorporate it into your nightly routine to help with sleep and boost your immune system. Just make sure you're sipping on a caffeine-free blend.

5. Do a Relaxation Exercise

Working out is one of the healthiest ways to use up some extra energy and relieve stress, but save the vigorous activity for earlier in the day. Instead, try out some simple yoga exercises you can do from home to stretch out your muscles and release tension before bed. Breathe deeply, listen to soothing music, or let your mind wander.

6. Do Some Light Reading

If you like to scroll through Instagram or unwind with a favorite TV show before bed, consider this: blue light from screens can disrupt your sleep cycle. When you sit down to read, choose a book you can easily pick up and put down. You don't want to read your page-turning thriller before bed, because as many of us know, you'll stay up even later to finish it.

7. Say "Goodnight" to Your Worries

Shut the bedroom door on your stresses and worries from the day. Literally. Or write nagging thoughts down and close the book on them; whatever it takes. Save the issues left over from today for tomorrow; not for when you need your valuable shut-eye.

8. Postpone Heavy Conversations

The kids are in bed and you're finally alone with your significant other. Though it may be tempting to dive into a serious discussion, table it until the next day (you can say, "Tomorrow I'd like to talk about X, Y, and Z. Would that be OK with you?" to ensure you both plan accordingly). It's important to reserve the last hour before bed strictly for winding down and getting relaxed; save intense or unpleasant conversations for a better time that won't leave you both feeling on edge and sleep deprived.

9. Don't Force Sleep

One common myth about sleep is that you should stay in bed tossing and turning until you eventually nod off. Turns out, if you're having trouble sleeping, it's better not to fight it. Allow yourself to get up and read, do some light organizing, or work on something leisurely (like a puzzle) until you're feeling more relaxed and ready for bed.

Remember, the first step toward getting more (and better) sleep is identifying what's standing in your way. With these best practices in mind, you'll be on your way to logging more ZZZs and feeling restored.

By Rachel Wermager and Allison Maze Vancura


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