Get inspired by these soothing ways to drift off to dreamland.
The right bedtime routine can not only help you fall asleep faster, but also help you sleep more soundly all night long so you wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day. Get inspired for bedtime bliss with these soothing nighttime rituals from busy professionals who savor every minute of sleep—just like you do.
Write Down What’s Causing You Stress
“The most important thing that I do to help myself sleep is that I make a new list of all the things that I am worried about. Making a new list instead of reviewing and adding to an old list is part of my process of letting go of what is on my mind. This usually includes things I need to do, problems I need to solve, or someone’s birthday that I don’t want to forget. Then, I prioritize the list. If there is something really urgent, I take care of it right then and there. When I see that the rest can wait until the next day without any consequences, I can fall asleep easily.”
—Misty Hyman, a former competitive swimmer who won the gold medal in the women’s 200-meter butterfly in the 2000 Summer Olympic Games
Read a Book
“My favorite thing is to read a novel on my Kindle for 10 to 15 minutes. I do it with the lights off, since my Kindle is visible in the dark, so it’s very much a transition from wake to sleep. (And unlike iPhone screens, the Kindle screen isn’t supposed to keep you awake.) As soon as my eyelids get heavy, the Kindle goes on my nightstand and I slip into sleep.”
—Rachel Hofstetter, co-founder and CEO of guesterly
Do Relaxation Exercises
“I am very active throughout the day, so I make it a point to stretch every night about an hour after dinner. Right before I get into bed I read my daily devotionals and then I begin my Micro Bead Therapy Pillow routine. With soft music playing in the background, I lie down and place the pillow in the center back of my head. With my eyes closed, I inhale and exhale slowly, drawing a circle on the ceiling with my nose a few times in each direction. Then, I inhale and roll my head slowly to one side and then exhale and roll it to the other—repeating this a few times. Next, I nod my head up, inhale and nod it down slowly and exhale. Finally, lying still, I take a few deep breaths (inhaling through the nose and out through the mouth) and I am relaxed and just about ready to fall asleep. Before falling into a deep sleep, I say a prayer of thanksgiving.”
—Kara Thomas, fitness and wellness director at Sanctuary, a resort and spa on Camelback Mountain
Take a Warm Bath
“I drink a cup of chamomile tea and eat a string cheese. If I don’t eat something in the evening, I have trouble falling asleep. Then I take a warm bath with sea salts and a splash of lavender essential oil. I take two capsules that contain five milligrams of melatonin, 300 milligrams of magnesium, and herbs such as chamomile. This really helps relax me with no residual sluggishness in the morning. I change into my flannel PJs and jump into bed, making sure my bedroom is sufficiently cool. If it’s too warm, I can’t sleep.”
—Amanda North, founder and CEO of Artisan Connect
Turn off Technology
“Not drinking too much water before bed is important, otherwise I’m up to use the bathroom once or twice. I also turn all technology off at least 30 minutes before bed, which includes all sources of light (even the little ones!). My bedroom is dark as a cave and I have sound machines (three of them) on so that no outside beeping or honking wakes me.”
—Belisa Vranich, PsyD, a psychologist, TV personality, author, founding member of the advisory board for philosophy’s hope & grace initiative, and creator of The Breathing Class.