Iowa Sleep Blog

Healthy Sleep Habits: How to Relax Before Bed

Monday, September 15, 2014

In the next few weeks, our blog will give an in-depth look at the most common tips for getting a good night’s sleep. Iowa Sleep will help you learn what steps you can take to better improve your sleep and the reasons behind each step.


When your mind is racing and you’re constantly thinking of your to-do list, it can be difficult to relax and prepare for a restful night’s sleep. However, relaxing before bed may be easier than you think. There are a number of simple activities you can do to start loosen up your body and mind for bed about one or two hours before you want to fall asleep. If you’re someone who has trouble calming down before bedtime, try one of the activities below.

Do yoga: Yoga is a proven way to decrease stress through stretching and deep breathing exercises. It is used to ease tension in the body while relaxing each muscle. For many, yoga is relaxing because it makes you concentrate on your breathing, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. This allows you to focus on what you’re doing in the moment and less on other things around you. We recommend trying out these poses from Yoga Journal.

Take a hot shower or bath: Drawing a hot bath or taking a hot shower can help relax your muscles, which naturally happens during sleep. Hot water increases your core body temperature, but also helps it cool down more quickly. The rapid drop in temperature can help you fall into deep sleep earlier on.

Reading: Sitting down with a relaxing book or a magazine is an easy way to prepare for sleep. Make sure to choose a light or easy to read novel instead of a suspenseful thriller so you don’t excite your body. Keep the lighting around you soft and make sure to turn down the brightness to reduce the back-screen glow if you’re using an electronic reader.

Have a soothing drink: Warming up a cup of herbal tea or milk can also be a simple way to unwind. Herbal tea works in two ways: it relaxes internal muscles and organs and emits calming smells that sooth the body. Two of the most popular teas to try are chamomile, which is known for relaxing the nerves, and peppermint, which works to eliminate stress and ease an anxious stomach. Or, take a look at some of our favorite bedtime drinks.

Implementing a relaxing pre-bedtime routine can help you develop healthy sleep habits and achieve better sleep. Plus, these activities could help you fall asleep faster, allowing you to feel more rested when you wake up in the morning and giving you more energy to get through the day.

What relaxing activities help you calm down and prepare for sleep? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.