If bedtime has become a battle, read on for some helpful tips to help you get to sleep. 1. Take a bath: Few things are more relaxing than getting comfortable in your own skin, and soaking in a tub is a great way to force yourself to slow down. Adding soothing ingredients like lavender and oatmeal literally rinses away the day while releasing muscle tension and softening skin. 2. Follow a soothing routine: Planning ahead can help when developing a routine for better sleep. Try dimming the lights, changing out of your daytime clothes, and slowing things down in general. By creating a consistent routine, your body will become more responsive to the cues that lead up to bedtime and trigger relaxation. 3. Sip some herbal tea: Although “herbal” tea is not a true tea, these caffeine-free concoctions are warming and soothing, and help to calm your nerves before bedtime. Another benefit is that most are safe for children (always read the instructions and refer to a medical professional if you have questions regarding safety for your child). Some of the more popular teas are California poppy, valerian, kava kava, and chamomile; there are also many organic blends available at most grocery stores. 4. Eat to sleep: Avoid caffeine, alcohol, sugar, or large amounts of protein before bed. Avoid these for at least 4 hours before bedtime to fall asleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night, keeping insomnia at bay. If that’s not enough, try adding extra (healthy) carbs, calcium, magnesium and tryptophan in the evening for natural sedative effects to promote relaxation both mentally and physically. Check this list for healthy sources of these natural sleep boosters. 5. Slip on a sleep mask: An eye mask filled with organic wool, cotton, buckwheat or herbs can help to block disturbing light and relax tense facial muscles after a long day. For sore, red, or burning eyes, most masks can be chilled in the freezer or (my favorite) slightly warmed to relieve sinus congestion or seasonal allergies. 6. L-Theanine: This awesome amino acid appears to elevate alpha-brain wave activity in the brain (say that five times fast), which is a sign of deep relaxation. By easing physical and emotional stress l-theanine helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night, and can also ease anxieties during the day. Since this soothing ingredient, typically found in green tea, is an amino acid, it is considered safe for most people and doesn't have any significant side effects. It is available in chewable tablets that have a great fruity flavor and work extremely well for children. 7. Slow your mind and body with some relaxing yoga: Think calming with deep breaths – not sweaty, hot, “pretzel” yoga. Yoga increases blood flow to your muscles and brain, and deep breathing sends the “relax” message to your central nervous system. The act of simply being still with eyes closed is often enough to slow your body and mind before bedtime. If you are a beginner or tend to gravitate toward intense yoga, this blog by OMI walks you through basic poses to prep for sleeping safely. Enjoy, and sweet dreams!