I haven’t always had trouble sleeping—in fact, I was known all my life for my somewhat magical ability to fall asleep anytime, anywhere. I could nap with abandon, get a full eight hours, and then wake up and do it all over again. I’d fall asleep after drinking espresso post-dinner, the works. That said, as I’ve gotten older, the ease with which I’d drift off at a moment’s notice has, well, ceased to exist. Now, I have to plan to get a good night’s sleep, and, even then, it doesn’t always work out that way. I’ve had to get serious about my sleeping habits, and even spend time researching various rituals that can help.
With that in mind, I reached out to Karen Lord, a pilates instructor who knows her salt in wellness as much as she does fitness. She offered up comprehensive, actionable tips that have helped endlessly since I first began practicing them. Below, find her five most effective ways to fall asleep.
Since sleep doesn’t come easily to her, Lord created a restorative Pilates stretch routine as a pre-bed ritual, but you can do it anywhere, anytime to calm your mind and soothe your body. “It helps to stretch your muscles before bed,” she says. She instructs, “One classic move that’s helpful for pretty much everyone to lie in bed with your legs up on the wall (or headboard).” However, she laments, you can do it on the floor too. “Take five minutes to some deep breathing, as it helps to calm your nervous system, stretch your hamstrings, and open up your lower back.” Afterwards, according to Lord, you’ll feel a palpable calm move through your body—often, you’ll feel it during the stretch too—and it’ll help prepare your body for sleep.