Creating a Bedtime Routine
Sleep is a learned behavior. Meaning, you can learn how to sleep well and you can learn how to sleep not-so-well. Having a healthy bedtime routine can help you unwind mentally and physically to prepare your body for a good night’s sleep. Finding out where to start can be tricky so we’ve got some healthy tips are tricks to help you learn all the positive sleep behaviors.
Why Do I Need a Healthy Bedtime Routine?
People who don’t usually have trouble falling asleep may not need a very long bedtime routine. It could be as simple as brushing your teeth and washing your face. Those who suffer from sleep disorders, like insomnia, or have trouble falling asleep right away, may need a longer bedtime routine. However long it is, maintaining a healthy bedtime routine before you drift off, helps your body prepare itself for a good night’s sleep. Keeping your bedtime and bedtime routine on schedule every night, including weekends, will help maintain your body’s internal clock. By doing so, you’re promoting healthy sleep habits which can help you feel more awake during the day. One way to promote a healthy bedtime routine is to eliminate stress throughout your day. If you’re prone to stress, some studies suggest that if you take time to meditate and/or clear your mind throughout the day, you will sleep better at night.
When creating your bedtime routine, consider what is most relaxing to you. For some, starting their bedtime routine outside of the bedroom is best. Take the time to get ready for bed – wash your face, brush your teeth – and then do something relaxing outside of your room. You could try reading, or taking a bath. For others it may include meditation, stretching, or drinking hot tea. One of the most important things you can do for your body and your sleep, is to reserve the bedroom for sleep and sex only. This can help train your brain that your room is a place for rest. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, leave your room to do something relaxing for 20 minutes or less, then return.
You’ll want to make your space comforting and relaxing. Turn your thermostat to cooler temperatures, like those around 60-67 degrees, to keep yourself cool. Then, try freeing your floors of clutter and making the bed each morning. Coming into a room that is already put-together can take away stress and help you feel more at-ease in your own space. Make sure your bed and pillow are the right type for you. Having comfortable sheets and pillow cases will also be crucial to your comfort, and therefore, your sleep. Another way to promote relaxation is to burn incense, use essential oil diffusers, or candles before bed. For those who enjoy listening to soothing music before bed to help them fall asleep, we recommend spa music or guided meditations. Here are some of our favorite Spotify playlists for bedtime routines: Deep Sleep; Relaxing Massage & Spa Treatment.
The Do Not’s
In today’s world, electronics play such a large role in day-to-day life, but the one place they shouldn’t be? You guessed it – the bed. Eliminate all stimulating technology from the bed/bedroom. By bringing those electronics to bed, you distract your mind and make it harder to fall asleep. Most studies suggest ending all video games, computer games, stimulating TV shows/movies, and stimulating phone activities at least one hour before bed. It’s also recommended to eliminate day-time naps. Napping can throw off that internal clock and make sleeping at night harder.
Limit your food and drink intake – especially when it comes to caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine after 12:00pm can keep you awake when taken later in the day. Alcohol may make you sleepy, but it can disrupt your sleep. As the affects wear off, you can become restless due to dehydration, sweating, headaches, and other symptoms. If you feel plagued by worrisome or anxious thoughts, try keeping a journal. You can write down anything you might be worried or anxious about so that you can come back to it in the morning. As you’re trying to fall asleep, try re-framing your way of thinking by replacing those thoughts with positive self-task and reaffirmations.
Listen to Your Body
Finding the perfect bedtime routine for yourself may take trial and error. The most important thing is that you are patient as you learn this new behavior. As you start to find what works and does not work, keep track of the positives and stick to your routine. Keeping yourself accountable by sticking to your healthy bedtime routine will help make you happier and healthier. Who wouldn’t want that?