Healthy Sleeping Habits

The 7-Day Plan That’ll Make a Nightly Ritual Out of Your Transition to Sleep Mode

Arianna Huffington

Photo: Getty Images/Dean Mitchell; Graphic: W+G Creative
This isn’t your standard New Year’s plan. No restrictive diets, no weekly weigh-ins, no “whole new you” for this new year—because, hey, you’re pretty great already. These four expert-led plans—designed to help you move your body, eat more veggies, get a better night’s sleep, or show yourself some loving care—are all about developing healthy habits that better align with your goals. Get the Program

Walking through the door of our bedroom should serve as a symbolic moment that marks leaving the day, with all of its problems and unfinished business, behind. When we wake up in the morning, there will be plenty of time for us to pick up our projects and deal with our challenges, refreshed and recharged.

Because of this boundary I have between sleep time and wake time, I treat my transition to sleep as a sacrosanct ritual. Before bed, I take a hot bath with Epsom salts and a candle flickering nearby, and if I’m feeling anxious or worried about something, I soak longer. I don’t sleep in my workout clothes the way I used to (think of the mixed message that sends to the brain) but have pajamas, nightdresses, even T-shirts dedicated to sleep. Sometimes I have a cup of chamomile or lavender tea for something warm and comforting before going to bed.

Because of this boundary I have between sleep time and wake time, I treat my transition to sleep as a sacrosanct ritual.

Each step I take helps me transition to bed. Each of this week’s tips for shifting into sleep mode are designed to help you shed more of your stubborn daytime worries.

Day 8: Rid your bedroom of unwanted noise

Sound is one of the simplest and most direct impediments to sound sleep. Identify any sources of unwanted noise (starting with your devices) and either remove them from your bedroom or silence them. And if white noise or another soothing sound helps you to block out unwanted disturbances and ease your transition to sleep, that’s great!

Day 9: Keep your bedroom cool (between 65°F and 69°F)

Open a window, switch on a fan, or set your thermostat to your preferred cool temperature. Research shows even a small drop in our body temperature sends a sleep signal to our brains.

Day 10: Wear dedicated sleepwear to bed

When you get dressed for sleep, whether it’s in pajamas or a special T-shirt, it sends a sleep-friendly message to your body. We’re all living in comfy clothes these days, but still make a point to change into something else before climbing into bed.

Day 11: Sip chamomile or lavender tea to ease yourself into sleep mode

Drinking something warm and comforting can put you in a calm frame of mind and help you shed your stubborn daytime worries. (Just skip the green tea, please, it has caffeine!)

Day 12: Transition yourself into sleep by meditating in bed

Even a few deep breaths will help ease your transition to sleep. If you don’t meditate, try playing a guided sleep meditation on your device.

Day 13: Take a hot bath or shower before you go to sleep

The ritual of taking a bath or shower can ease the transition to bedtime and helps you symbolically wash the day away.

Day 14: Declare an end to the day, even if you haven’t completed your to-do list

It’s almost impossible to do all you could have done in any single day. Effectively prioritizing means being comfortable with incompletions and taking the time to recharge, so you’ll be able to return to your to-do list the next day ready to seize opportunities.


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