A proper bedtime routine can help one sleep better and feel more relaxed. It helps to unwind after a long day and reset your mind and body for tomorrow.
In this article, you’ll learn how to build your routine and stick to it.
Why Does It Matter?
According to the CDC, one-third of US citizens don’t get enough sleep. A lot of people struggle with falling asleep or waking up.
Probably, everyone had that night when they were lying in bed, unable to stop worrying. Students think, “should I write my paper tomorrow or should I get some help with it” and workers overthink tomorrow’s meetings and upcoming reports.
If it is a one-time thing, there is nothing terrible about it. But lack of sleep on a regular basis can be detrimental to both mental and physical health.
Creating a bedtime routine and sticking to it is one of the most effective ways to increase the quality of your nighttime rest.
Here are some fundamentals you need to know:
- The body starts preparing for bed a couple of hours before you get there;
- A routine usually takes 30-60 minutes, but there are no set regulations; you can take as long as you need;
- A high level of stress can cause sleep anxiety and other issues, so it is crucial to unwind;
- The human brain loves habits and routines: they help to go into a resting mode quickly and effectively;
- A good regime helps to align with your circadian rhythms. It also has a good impact on cognitive functioning, memory, and mental health.
Working on your routine is one of those psychological hacks that can help significantly improve well-being. The rule is simple – choose the techniques that work for you and focus on your needs.
Bedtime Routine in Steps
Here are the proven activities that help sleep better. You don’t have to do all of that; select the ones that fit your lifestyle.
The best way to manage your time is to go to bed and wake up on the same schedule every day. Create a plan that suits your needs and keep it constant. Remember to set the alarm to start the routine.
Take Care of Morning Tasks
To prepare yourself for rest, you can tackle all the things that you often do in the morning. It will take the stress from the mind as you no longer have to think about it. For instance, you can:
- Prepare lunch;
- Prepare clothes for the day;
- Pack a bag for work/college;
- Wash the dishes;
- Gather essentials like wallet, keys, or glasses.
Now you can focus on getting ready to relax. And the mornings will also be easier as a lot of deciding is already done.
Avoid Stimulating Activities
Some things stimulate the body and brain to stay awake. It is better to avoid them after a certain time.
For instance, cut your caffeine intake after 4 pm at least. Leave heavy and enduring exercises for mornings and afternoons. And try to avoid alcohol and nicotine at night as they interfere with the sleep cycle.
Set Devices Aside
A lot of people are used to watching a show in bed or checking the feed on a smartphone. But it is an unhealthy habit.
First of all, all the screens emit blue light. This suppresses the melatonin production and makes you stay awake.
Secondly, it is not helping in relaxation. Browsing social media too much can lead to anxiety, stress, and lower self-esteem.
When the alarm for the bedtime routine goes off, set all the devices aside.
If you are hungry, it is better to eat something light and healthy. Trying to sleep while hungry is difficult and harmful to your stomach.
When you feel like you’d eat something – try yogurt, fruits, nuts, or oats. These foods have high melatonin content, which is a great thing.
It is also quite great to have a warm drink. But select tea that has no caffeine in it (or has a low level of it). Or one can try warm milk or cocoa, like in childhood.
Create a Playlist
The majority of people like to listen to music in their routine. It helps reduce stress and decompression. Studies recommend classical music, but one can choose whatever they like as long as it is calming.
If music is not your thing, try white noise, ASMR, and audio aids like color noises (the white or pink ones).
Take a Bath
A warm bath is one of the most effective ways to relax and get ready for bed. A shower can also be a good idea if you do not have time or desire to take a bath.
There is a scientific reason behind it. Naturally, when you are preparing for sleep, and the melatonin level rises, the core body temperature drops. So, when you get out of the warm bath, you mimic that process and set the body on the right path.
Choose Right Lights and Temperature
Your bedroom should be your oasis. Make sure that it is calm and welcoming. Block out the noises, make it pitch dark, or use dimming lights. The most comfortable temperature for a body is about 65 degrees, so adjust your thermostat.
Make Hygiene Your Ritual
Instead of doing it all on autopilot, take a conscious approach to washing up. Complete every ritual with mindfulness, be it cleansing, moisturizing, or brushing teeth.
Good Bedding and Pajamas
Make sure that the fabrics are comfortable and natural. Make sure your bedding is appropriate for a specific season. Try a weighted blanket. It can do charms.
Sleepwear also needs to be comfortable before anything else.
Do Relaxing Activities
Several things will help one to relax faster, namely:
- Light yoga;
- Simple stretching;
- Breathing exercises;
- Foam Rolling.
Try them out and choose what shows the best results.
For some people, writing is one of their favorite steps. One can try gratitude journaling or creating a to-do list for tomorrow. You can let all the worries on the paper or prepare for a new day.
A proper bedtime routine can help you sleep better, wake up easier, and feel more content. Choose the steps you like and follow them every day. The power of the habit is what makes it even more effective. And remember to get into a bed only when you are done with everything and ready to sleep.