After a hectic day of work, housekeeping and children, it’s so important to find ways to relax before bed.
I know many of us tend to be so frazzled and exhausted at the end of the day that we just can’t wait to flop into bed! But this could actually have adverse effects such as interrupted sleep.
And I know you don’t need me to tell you all the reasons why a good night’s sleep is so important. All sleep deprived mothers know how difficult it is to feel calm and productive after a fitful, broken night. Deep sleep is vital for our bodies to function at their best. It also reduces stress, supports your immune system, and keeps us looking and feeling young!
Here are my 4 top ways to de-stress before bed.
Take a bath
Hands up if you dutifully run a bath for your little ones every night, but never actually step into the tub yourself?
Baths are more than just a way to get clean. They have a whole host of mental and physical health benefits, including raising your immunity, decreasing stress hormones and easing sore muscles. They can also help you sleep better due to the change in core body temperature.
Even a quick dip in a warm tub will help, but of course there are ways to elevate the experience by adding essential oils, lighting candles, and bringing in your favourite book or relaxing music – or perhaps just relaxing in silence for a meditative experience.
You can also try making your own DIY spa treatments such as bath bombs or face masks.
One of the most famous ways to de-stress, and for good measure. Yoga helps you stretch your body, release tension and clear your mind.
With so many free yoga classes available on YouTube, anyone can start practising yoga at home in a spare 20 minutes. I have been trying to do one yoga video a day, whether that’s morning or evenings, whenever I get a little bit of time to myself (which is more often than not at night, after everyone else has gone to bed!) I definitely notice the difference in my body tension, especially my back, when I’ve skipped a few days.
Just pay attention to the video you pick – some yoga classes are designed to energise you, and some will relax you. There are some practises best kept for the mornings but others that are perfect to de-stress before bed, like this one:
Games and puzzles
Online games are one of my guilty pleasures! Of course there are some types of games that should be avoided before bed, such as violent or stressful games of the type that can raise your blood pressure. But personally I enjoy simple, classic games such as Solitaire, Sudoku and word puzzles that work your mind, but not in a stress-inducing way. I find that focusing my mind on puzzles like these helps to calm me by shutting out any other ‘noise’ in my head and clearing my mind ready for sleep.
I like the website Plays because all the games have a simple, retro vibe that I find stops me getting sucked in. They’re not like most modern games that seem to be designed to be as addictive as possible. The site is all advert-free, too, and their ethos is ‘Play for Fun, Not Competition’.
One I play the most is the classic Klondike Solitaire game. It reminds me of the one that used to come pre-installed on Microsoft computers – probably the first computer game I ever played! I’ve also discovered a new game called Kakuro, which is a number logic puzzle kind of a cross between Sudoku and a crossword.
It is really tricky to start with but so satisfying once you work it out (hint: the trick is to look for ‘magic blocks’ which only have one possible combination of numbers!).
I am a big fan of journaling and I find it one of the ultimate ways to de-stress. There are various different types of journaling you can try. At its most basic, just try writing down tomorrow’s to-do list before bed. This can help stop your head buzzing with all the things you’ve got to do and you can sleep safe in the knowledge that you won’t forget anything.
You can also try journaling on particular topics that are bothering you. Whether that’s coping with a trauma or deciding whether to take a new job, getting everything out of your head and onto paper is a powerful way to process things. It’s basically like therapy but with yourself.
What do you do to de-stress before bed?