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The 5-Minute Bedtime Routine You Need to Try Tonight

Catch better ZZZs by doing these four things before hitting the hay.

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By Olivia DeLong

Good-quality sleep can help control your weight, boost your mood and keep you alert. Plus, snuggling into a comfy bed is one of the best feelings in the world. But if your mind continues to race once your head hits the pillow, that much-needed slumber can quickly go out the window.

In addition to powering down your phone, turning off your TV and enjoying a relaxing bath, you may get better ZZZs by creating a simple, pre-bedtime ritual. Here are four fast things to help you relax before turning in for the night. 

#1: Embrace the lavender herb

2 / 5 #1: Embrace the lavender herb

Good news, lavender lovers: when inhaled, the herb’s scent may make you feel calm and sleepy, and may ease symptoms of anxiety, depression and fatigue. And while studies have had mixed results, some show that a massage with essential oils like lavender can boost your mood, improve concentration and promote better snoozing.

The bottom line? Using different forms of lavender is worth a shot when it comes to sleep.

Try burning some lavender essential oils, lighting a lavender candle on your nightstand or keeping lavender-packed sachets by your bedside. Not only is it possible you’ll sleep easier, your room will smell nice, too.

#2: Write down your to-do’s for the next day

3 / 5 #2: Write down your to-do’s for the next day

Once the sun goes down, family plans, long lists of tasks and daunting assignments may keep you awake. That's because worrying about upcoming events can contribute to both anxiety and insomnia.

If you’re having trouble getting to sleep at night, spend a minute or two before bed writing down to-do’s or thoughts you have about the days and weeks to come. Clearing your mind of these tasks can help you feel more organized and prepared for times ahead. 

#3: Do some quick yoga stretches

4 / 5 #3: Do some quick yoga stretches

Practicing yoga can ease tension and put your mind at ease, helping you doze off sooner. Here are three moves to try before you hit the hay:

Supine twist: While lying on your back, bring your knees to your chest. Lower your knees to the left side, while keeping your shoulders, arms and hands on the ground. Turn your head to the right and stay in this pose for 10 to 15 breaths. Switch sides. You can repeat the sequence a few times.

Child’s pose (pictured): Begin by sitting on the floor. Tuck your legs underneath you so you are sitting on your knees. Lean forward until your forehead touches the ground; spread your knees a bit wider for a deeper stretch. Be sure your arms are extended straight out in front of you. Breathe deeply for a few minutes.

Legs up the wall: Lie on your back and push your buttocks as close to a wall as it can get, extending your legs straight up the wall. With your arms by your sides and your palms up, hold the position for up to 20 seconds.

#4: Take five deep breaths

5 / 5 #4: Take five deep breaths

According to the National Sleep Foundation, just a minute or two of deep breathing can help soothe your nerves, which will leave you feeling more relaxed.

They recommend the following to beat stress: sit on the side of your bed with one hand on your lower belly. Count to three as you breathe in, and to three again as you breathe out, making sure you’re attuned to your breath. Allow yourself to feel the air as it makes its way in and out of your body. If you’re feeling any tension, release that tension as you exhale. Repeat the breathing cycle five times.

If you have extra time, try relaxation therapy techniques, which involve contracting and releasing your muscle groups from head to toe over a period of several minutes.