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Simple Steps to Peaceful Relaxation at Bedtime

MsDora, Certified Christian Counselor, explores facts, attitudes and habits which can help us maintain our physical and mental wellbeing.

You achieve peaceful relaxation at bedtime. Photo by Annie Spratt

You achieve peaceful relaxation at bedtime. Photo by Annie Spratt

The day may be hectic and stressful, but at night, you can experience an atmosphere that offers stress relief and peaceful relaxation. You do not have to retire at bedtime weighed down with the burdens of the passing day. Plus, you can wake up with the energy you need to manage the new day.

Below is list of ten easy steps to help you achieve peaceful relaxation at bedtime.

Try various combinations at first. The more you implement what works for you, the more effective it will become.

(1) Early Dinner

The recommendation1 for dinner time is at least two hours before bedtime; so first decide your bedtime hour and calculate the right time for dinner accordingly.

Remember that you are aiming for relaxation. Leave the phones and other media gadgets away from the table, and enjoy your food. Bedtime in two hours gives you enough time to move around after dinner (clean up the kitchen) and answer a few calls. It also removes the need to eat again, so both you and your stomach could relax.

(2) Warm Bath

Here is something you may not have heard about a warm bath and relaxation. It does not work if you go straight to bed afterward. Corrie Pikul, on-line health editor2 explains that a hot bath causes your temperature to rise and then cool down. It is the cooling down that helps you relax; but if you get into bed too soon, your temperature stays elevated. You need an hour between bath time and bedtime. So time yourself in the bubble baths and oils for the best relaxation benefits.

Ananda Spa, India.  Photo by elly

Ananda Spa, India. Photo by elly

(3) Reflection

You were too busy during the day to give due attention to all the thoughts that entered your mind. Some are likely to surface again when you sit down. Figure out the ones you can: for example, admit to what you could have done differently, forgive someone who provoked you; pat yourself on the back for something you did right. Jot down the thoughts you want to consider later; your mind will be satisfied that you listed them. Make room for thoughts of peace and contentment.

(4) Organization

You feel more relaxed when you are organized and you have de-stressed the known situations which could threaten your peace.

You may want to think ahead. Jot down the assignments which you intend to tackle the next day. Things seem more manageable when you see them on paper. Don’t begin them, just scribble any ideas which come to mind and then put your scribbling away.

Instead of worrying about what might present a problem, pray about it and express your expectation of divine help. Already you will feel happy about being in control.

(5) Cuddling

This is cuddling during the relaxation time before sleep time, not during sleep time. The research3 shows that gentle touching—holding hands, massaging, hugging etc.—makes you less anxious, happier and healthier. Blood pressure lowers; muscles relax; heart rate slows; levels of the stress hormone cortisol decrease, and the flow of oxytocin, the feel-good hormone increases. Cuddling with a child, a pet dog or cat produces similar results.

Cuddling with pets aids relaxation. Photo by Eduardo C.G.

Cuddling with pets aids relaxation. Photo by Eduardo C.G.

(6) Early Bedtime

Scientist agree that the ideal bedtime begins somewhere between 10:00 p.m. and midnight. If you are searching for peaceful relaxation, the earlier you retire the better. After a full day’s work, staying up late can mean that your capacity for reasoning, problem-solving and good judgment is diminished4. You may create problems for the next day, and retire frustrated. On the other hand, putting your need for relaxation above your desire to get everything done will feed your sense of self-control and save you some additional work and worry.

(7) Blank Television

You may fall asleep tired with the television watching you, and chances are you will wake up still tired.

Television watching can rob you of true relaxation because the light stimulates the brains and suppresses the production of melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy5.

In addition to the light, there is the matter of content. How does the subject matter lend to your relaxation? Even if you consider the story line peaceful, you still have to deal with the advertisements.

Better to listen to some relaxing music or to a soothing voice reading on an audio book.

(8) Gratitude Journal

The gratitude journal is also a good alternative for watching television in bed. This is a fairly easy habit to cultivate. Keep your writing tools on your nightstand, and as you get in bed, reach for it and begin to scrabble three or five (your decision) blessings that you experienced during the day. Chances are that you will find yourself smiling as you write. Don’t forget that some setbacks are also blessings. You will smile even more when you realize how adverse situations no longer threaten your peace.

Gratitude eases stress. Photo by mleonascimento0

Gratitude eases stress. Photo by mleonascimento0

(9) Dark Room

The dark room lends to the peaceful atmosphere as you lie in bed. Pull the blinds or draw the curtains to block out the street lights. Cover the light displays from electronic devices like the cell phone, the iPad, and whatever else may be charging. Or, cover your eyes with a sleep mask. Night lights spoil the ambiance. If you cannot reach the light switch when you wake up during the night, keep a flashlight handy.

(10) Meditation and Prayer

Meditate for a few minutes in the peaceful quiet of your room. Exhale whatever residue of stress still remain, and count your blessings.

Lift your heart, and soul and mind in a conscious prayer of gratitude. “Conscious” because the struggles of the day cause many people to live in an attitude of prayer—reflexively calling on God for help, and perhaps remembering to express thanks. That is spiritually healthy; but it may also be the reason that some consider a bedtime prayer unnecessary—been praying all day.

However, when that mood of peaceful relaxation is finally realized, a conscious prayer of thanks for the blessings of the day is most appropriate. We get more benefit from the gifts for which are grateful.

Poll on Relaxation Suggestions

References

1. Layne, Amy: Damy Health. Eating Before Bed – What to Avoid, (Copyright DAMY Health 2009-2014)

2. Pikul, Corrie: Oprah, Health and Wellness, 5 Things Never to Do Right Before Bed, (06/26/2013)

3. Dworkin Mc-Daniel, Norine: CNN Health, Health.com, Touching Makes You Healthier, (01/05/2011)

4. CoretanDigital: My World My Life, Disadvantages of Sleep Deprivation (04/10/2011)

5. Smith, M.A., Melinda et al: HelpGuide.org, How to Sleep Better, (04/2014)

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2014 Dora Weithers

Comments

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 11, 2018:

Margie, it's good that you know what works for you. Thank you for sharing

Margie's Southern Kitchen from the USA on April 09, 2018:

Dora, I usually play games on my iPad and that helps sometimes, other time I can be up all night. Thanks for your good advise!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on January 28, 2016:

Linda, thanks for reading this article and for sharing your experience with the YouTube video. I appreciate your input.

Linda McCullum on January 25, 2016:

Great article! What really helped me is watching ASMR videos on youtube. I don't know if you ever heard of that but it's basically a video that triggers a response in your brain that has a very relaxing effect. For example in this video https://youtu.be/uEtPs1AtxBI tinfoil is being folded and some people respond to the sound and get really relaxed. It may or may not work for you (it does for me) but I found it to be quite an interesting experience.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 12, 2014:

Patsy, that's a great idea. Thanks for your kind comment.

Patsy Bell Hobson from zone 6a, SEMO on September 11, 2014:

This was a good reminder. I am going back to keeping a gratitude journal. Thank you.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 29, 2014:

Emunah, implementing the gratitude journal is a great decision. Hope it works for you, and thanks for your input.

swilliams on July 29, 2014:

This was a great article Ms. Dora! I need to implement a gratitude journal at night. Some people worry a lot about things they can't fix, however if you reflect on the positive before bedtime that will ease your worries. Voted up and tweeted out!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 29, 2014:

Thanks, Lady E. Glad you are enjoying your gratitude journal. Glad you stopped by.

Elena from London, UK on July 29, 2014:

Beautiful Tips. I started using a Gratitude Journal last year after reading Rhonda Byrne's book "The Magic" which reveals so much about the power of Gratitude. Nice to see it on your list.

Enjoy the summer. :-)

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 22, 2014:

Jill, hope you find something helpful. As much as you do, you deserve a peaceful pre-bedtime relaxation, so you can really enjoy your rest. All the best!

Jill Spencer from United States on July 22, 2014:

Thanks for these tips, MsDora. I have always had difficulty getting to sleep, even as a child. It's difficult for me to stop thinking and let go. Trying several of these, the ones that don't involve thinking, might help. As always, a thoughtful and helpful article.--Jill

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 21, 2014:

Yes, Ologsinquito. Do try it at night, and I hope that the result is favorable. Thanks for your input.

ologsinquito from USA on July 21, 2014:

I do a few minutes of Catholic meditation (meditating on Scriptural passages) in the morning. Maybe I should try it at night sometime.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 04, 2014:

Bill, thanks for your comment. Hope you find something helpful here.

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on June 29, 2014:

Not getting my notifications again. Can't figure out why. A lot of practical stuff. I can hardly wait to go to bed to try some. Thanks again for well written practicality.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on June 27, 2014:

Faith, busy is good as long as you take time out to relax. It is always a pleasure to have you drop by whenever you do. Enjoy the grands and a happy summer to you all!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on June 27, 2014:

Erin, how badly do you need your peace? At least, you know what to do when your're ready to do it. Thank for sharing, and all the best going forward.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on June 26, 2014:

Wonderful suggestions here you have presented, MsDora. All are great. I have been trying to get to bed much earlier and it seems since my grands have been up, I have been conking out when they do. We say our prayers and off we go. When they are not up visiting, I like to get into bed and just have quiet time ...about 15 minutes to allow my mind and body to wind down in a completely darkened room. Then I begin my prayers. Once I cast all of my cares over to the Lord, then it is time for that sweet sleep. I am trying to catch up here reading as I have been so busy this summer. Blessings always

Erin Nichols from Montana on June 26, 2014:

Thank you for sharing these tips. I have a really hard time falling asleep at night. Sometimes I toss and turn for an hour before I fall asleep; and the longer I toss the more stressed I get. After I get done on Hubpages I think I will go in and run a warm bath, grab a book I have been dying to read, turn off all electronics and try to get to bed before midnight. This may be my lifesaver and lead to a less expensive coffee habit that I have due to sleep deprivation. Who am I kidding, I'm not going to slow down on my coffee intake! Haha! Have a great evening and thank you again!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on June 26, 2014:

Thank you very much Manatita. Great peace to you also!

manatita44 from london on June 26, 2014:

Beneficial and healthy advice. Quite useful for most of us, I would imagine.

Have a peaceful afternoon, Dora.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on June 26, 2014:

TheFedorows, hope you succeeded last night, and will every night in the future. You deserve a good rest. Thank you for your comment.

thefedorows from the Midwest on June 25, 2014:

MsDora, you wrote another great hub! I found it interesting in your poll that the most popular answer has been to go to bed early! It seems we often know what is best for ourselves....and just don't do it. I am going to make a conscious effort to get ready for bed 30 minutes earlier tonight.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on June 25, 2014:

ToBusiness, great that you have your routine worked out. No excuse from you for not being relaxed and peaceful. Thank you for sharing.

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on June 25, 2014:

Great hub, wonderful suggestions. For me, a hot cup of cocoa a warm bath with lots of bubbles, add some soft music and I'm floating on air. :)

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on June 25, 2014:

Thanks, Prasetio, for your comment. I appreciate you stopping by to read.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on June 25, 2014:

For daily activity we need relaxation, especially at bedtime. You come up with solutions. Thanks for writing and sharing with us. Voted up!

Prasetio

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on June 24, 2014:

Torrilyn, going to sleep without stress is exactly what we're aiming for. Thank you for your input.

torrilynn on June 24, 2014:

relaxation starts with finding peace with oneself and going to sleep without stress or having a lot on your mind. thanks for the hub. voted up.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on June 24, 2014:

Thank you, Nell. You're really strong to be pulling a regular 2:00 a.m. Hope you go earlier sometimes. Take care.

Nell Rose from England on June 24, 2014:

Hi, I always have my routines too, mind you I do tend to go to bed late, like about 2am! lol! but I do my meditation and prayers, and then read for a while, that always makes me tired. Great advice Ms.Dora, voted up and shared, nell

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on June 24, 2014:

Flourish, thanks for weighing in. I want to yawn myself thinking about such a book. A great suggestion!

FlourishAnyway from USA on June 24, 2014:

These are good recommendations to settle down and get read for a good night's slumber. I often find if I have trouble sleeping, a good boring book (such as government regulations) really helps -- never the tv. I'm yawning just thinking about it.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on June 24, 2014:

LoveDoctor, do yourself the favor and pursue your peace and relaxation. You deserve it. Thanks for sharing the negative consequences of the TV light. Take care.

lovedoctor926 on June 24, 2014:

Useful information, helpful tips. If I could implement one thing to make me relax, it would definitely have to be going to bed earlier. One hr b/w bath time & bedtime, good to know. Whenever I leave the TV on at night, I usually wake up w/ an eyestrain headache the following morning. Good research

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on June 24, 2014:

Frank, if you dunno about cuddling, you can still try it; nothing to lose. LOL. Anyway, it's not a must. Thanks for your kind comment.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on June 24, 2014:

Mona, you've got a plan. Hope you find a solution soon. You deserve some peaceful relaxation at the end of your busy, productive day.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on June 24, 2014:

Perspycacious, thank you for suggesting the supplement. I came across that in my research. I appreciate your input.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on June 24, 2014:

i dunno know about the cuddling.. but everything doable.. Im not a cuddling type of guy LOL love your hubs MsDora

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on June 23, 2014:

As a habitual insomniac, I will have to practice all 10 of your points. I especially love ending with the gratitude journal. As a result, this is going to my Pinterest account, where I file all the stuff that I refer to when I need them.

Demas W Jasper from Today's America and The World Beyond on June 23, 2014:

Good summary. Older folks should try a Melatonin supplement, as they may no longer produce what they need to attain deep, restful sleep.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on June 23, 2014:

Jackie, the touch is hard to beat. You are so blessed to have that privilege. Thanks for your input.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on June 23, 2014:

Denise, the right music will do it for you. Glad you found your relaxer. Thanks for sharing.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on June 23, 2014:

Sheila, glad I could add suggestions to things you already do. Thanks for the comment.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on June 23, 2014:

Thanks Dora; you have some great tips and I use most of them. Thank goodness I do fall asleep pretty easily. It helps getting a foot massage before bedtime! lol

Denise W Anderson from Bismarck, North Dakota on June 23, 2014:

These are excellent suggestions. I find that soft music relaxes me for a better night's sleep. It helps for me to go to bed earlier, that way, I fall asleep sooner, and get a better rest.

sheilamyers on June 23, 2014:

Most nights I seem to be able to relax before bedtime and go right to sleep. I'll have to give a few of your suggestions (ones I don't use right now) and see if they help me on those restless nights.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on June 23, 2014:

Marie, there's always something to work on. Take care to get the rest and relaxation you deserve. Thanks for your comment.

Marie from Canada on June 23, 2014:

Really great advice! Before bed, I am always thinking of what tasks need to be done the next day and it keeps me up longer than it should. Your suggestion on organization is something that I will try to apply.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on June 23, 2014:

Thank you, Word. Glad to write something you can use.

Al Wordlaw from Chicago on June 23, 2014:

Hey MsDora, 10 great tools to apply after a day of work and business. Great job my sister, my friend. I'll use them, you can bet on that! :-)

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on June 23, 2014:

Pamela, hope that you soon find the right combinations of rituals that work for you. Thanks for stopping by.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on June 23, 2014:

Bill, good for you! We all need to reach that level of commitment toward our peace of mind when the day ends. Thank you for sharing.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on June 23, 2014:

I have trouble sleeping and I have already adopted some of your suggestions. Some of the others I had not considered. I think this is a very helpful hub as so many people do not get enough sleep. Voted up!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 23, 2014:

We have our nighttime routine and it works well for us. I think it is very important to end the day in a relaxed state of mind. Nice suggestions here, Dora.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on June 23, 2014:

Eric, that's also in my ritual. I'm a tea drinker. Thank you for your kind comment.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on June 23, 2014:

Sima, the one you're working on is my strength; but then I have others to work on. Glad you like the article, and thanks for your comment.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on June 23, 2014:

Excellent hub. A great list of really good stuff. Thank you much. I add a ritual of relaxing tea making and drinking.

Sima Ballinger from Michigan on June 23, 2014:

This is a great hub with excellent advice for relaxation at bedtime. You explained all your points so well. What a good reminder for rest and peace at night. I am working on the "Going to Bed Earlier" one. This is indeed a keeper! Voted Up and Beautiful!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on June 23, 2014:

Devika, I appreciate your comment. Great that you have found what works for you.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on June 23, 2014:

I have an early dinner it is my best way of relaxing. On most days a warm shower to sleep well.Great tips here and always a useful hub from you.