These Pre-Bedtime Habits Can Set The Stage for a Better Night's Sleep

Running bath water

November 10, 2017

Our responsibility-packed schedules make it tough to get a good 8 hours of sleep every night. So when you do get to bed, you don't want to waste any time struggling to fall asleep.

Emily Day, APRN, in the integrative medicine clinic at The University of Kansas Health System, says the body needs 30-60 minutes to wind down and transition from the stresses of the day to sleep.

She said if you find yourself struggling to sleep, consider trying some of these things before bedtime.

Epsom salt bath

Day suggests pouring a cup or 2 of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) into a warm bath and soaking in it for 15-30 minutes. In addition to experiencing the relaxing properties of warm water, the body will also absorb the magnesium, which will help ease tension.

Tea time

Day says a warm cup of calming tea after dinner might be helpful. Lavender, chamomile and mint teas all have relaxing properties. They'll also help hydrate you in the process.

Stretch your body and mind

Spend 10 minutes doing light stretching, yoga, prayer or meditation. You can meditate on your own, but some people prefer the help of guided exercises. The Headspace app has programs to help guide you into a better night's rest.

Switch off the TV

Not only can intense television drama fuel anxiety instead of easing it, the screen's blue light can slow the body's production of melatonin, which helps promote restful sleep.

Instead, try journaling or reading just before bed. If you use an e-reader, switch the device to a setting that blocks blue light or wear blue-blocking glasses. Consumer Reports recommends the wraparound Uvex Skyper model, available online for around $10.

Go dark

If you live in an area where the lights and sounds of the city flood into your bedroom, try blackout shades for maximum darkness. Inexpensive foam earplugs also offer protection from outside noises or snoring bedmates.

Consider supplements

Consult your integrative medicine provider for supplements that might help you sleep. 200 mg of magnesium glycinate or magnesium citrate are a safe option and dosage for most adults, but check with your provider before adding any supplements to your regimen.

The University of Kansas Health System integrative medicine team can help you find lifestyle changes to improve your sleep. Call 913-588-6208 to make an appointment with Emily Day or another member of our team.

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