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This is the ultimate wind-down routine to help you completely relax before bed

We all know how important finding time to relax is. But sometimes finding the time can become a stress in itself. Even when you make time, it’s knowing how to use it wisely to maximise your chances of total relaxation. Use this carefully curated guide using the advice of sleep experts and tried-and-tested methods and we can guarantee you’ll be feeling spa weekend fresh with just one evening.

A good nighttime routine is so important in making sure that once your head hits the pillow, you are ready and able to switch off. But before you do anything, make sure tomorrow is sorted and planned. Setting out what you will wear the next day will take away the possibility of any last-minute panic and start your day calmly and as you mean to go on.

Next… Run the perfect bath

It’s obvious and nothing new but a warm bath has really been proven to reduce anxiety and soothe aching muscles. Note: warm. If the water is too hot and makes you sweat then it could have an adverse effect and leave you wound up or even put a strain on your heart. Add a slather of lavender bath oil to kick off some relaxing aromatherapy. You could also invest in a lavender face mask, perfect for unwinding.

It might feel cliché, but lighting candles and playing relaxing music really will create an even more soothing experience. So whip out that Jo Malone that you got last Christmas, lie back and relax.

Get crafty

Craft is credited as being hugely therapeutic. Experts recommend projects that involve repetitive actions like knitting or colouring. Opt for activities like this over the temptation to flick on the telly and avoid the glare of blue light which can overstimulate your brain.

Stretch it out

Stretching and meditating even for just a few moments have been linked to better sleep and greater relaxation. Remember child’s pose from your yoga class? Poses such as this have proven to ease tension and promote relaxation. Try a simple forward bend followed by child’s pose. Controlled breathing can also help you reduce stress and reduce your blood pressure.

Belly breathing is easy to do and very relaxing. Try this basic exercise anytime you need to relax or relieve stress.
1. Put one hand on your stomach just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest.
2. Take a deep breath in through your nose and let your belly push against your hand. Your chest should not move.
3. Breathe out through pursed lips as if you were whistling. Feel the hand on your belly go in, and use it to push all the air out.

Repeating this 3-10 times should leave you feeling more relaxed.

Ditch the booze

Alcohol causes your body to spend less time in deep sleep, and more time in the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep which is characterised by more bodily movements, more dreams and a faster pulse. Basically, the type of sleep that will leave you feeling less than fresh. Try chamomile tea instead which will help you unwind. It contains apigenin, an antioxidant that binds to certain receptors in your brain that may promote sleepiness

Make your bedroom a sleep oasis

Turn your home into a sanctuary of relaxation by making sure your bedroom is only for sleep and sex. That means a phone and Netflix no go zone. As tough as this might be, it’s the only way to properly signal to your brain that this is a room for two things. Invest in rich cotton bedding to make yourself look forward to getting into your bed at night. If you like things cosy, try brushed cotton bedding for extra snuggle. Even better, consider investing in a weighted blanket. They’ve been described as ‘being hugged to sleep’ and we’ve already penned one on our Christmas list.

Write your worries down

When you're stressed, it can be tempting to try not to think about your worries. But this will only mean they resurface when you try to settle down. Try taking ten minutes before bed to write down everything that’s on your mind. Working through things on paper will help get them off your mind.

Get out of bed

It sounds counter-productive but if you’ve been lying awake for over 20 minutes, clock watching isn’t going to relax you into sleep. So get out of bed and try something not overly stimulating such as reading to get you ready for sleep. After 10-20 minutes you should feel better prepped to nod off.

Sweet dreams and see you in the morning!