As the evening turns into night it’s always best to have a wind-down routine prepared in order to get the best sleep possible. When your mind is relaxed enough for bed, it can do a wonderful job of signalling the body to do the same. Avoiding physical stimulants like caffeine and nicotine before bedtime is just as effective in bringing restful sleep as shying away from mental stimulants like video games and fast-paced films.
A good relaxing book before bedtime (or if you really must, a TV programme that isn’t too exciting) can get your brain further ready for sleep, but when you turn off the light, the process of relaxing the mind doesn’t have to end there. Aside from your favourite classical composer or singer-songwriter, there is a wide range of music available both on CD and online which is created specifically to help promote relaxation and bring a better, more restful sleep.
A recently-released smartphone app called Brain Shift Radio claims to be able to shift a user’s mood by playing music that best bridges the gap between how they feel now, and how they want to feel. Selecting from a range of statements such as “anti-anxiety mix” allows the app to pair two rhythms – one for now, one for the end result – and gently plays music to adjust the mood. The creators of the app claim to have produced over 65,000 pieces of music for use on the app, and with so much positive feedback on the site it’s not hard to see why it remains so popular.
Another popular choice for getting to sleep is classical music; with radio stations like Classic FM basing their late-night programming around music from the gentler side of the spectrum, these stations receive regular airplay on the DAB radios and alarm clocks of many a sleeper.
There are even some alternatives that don’t feature music. Sleep machines are devices which come pre-packaged with a range of soothing sounds such as a babbling brook or the ambience of the rainforest. Even white noise serves as a useful function to take a sleeper’s mind away from the sound of traffic or trains that might regularly disturb them otherwise. The key is to give you something to focus on at night that still allows you to drift off – this is why something like talk radio or an audiobook might not be advisable!