It’s no secret that there are some bad habits that can ruin your sleep—like eating right before bed, drinking alcohol too soon before sleep, and exercising late in the evening—but did you know that good bedtime routines can actually improve your sleep? It’s true! Bedtime rituals aren’t just for your kids. A good bedtime routine can result in a reduction of poor sleep and even teach your body a set of cues that will tell it when to start getting sleepy.
Here are our five suggestions to add to your bedtime routine:
1. Keep a sleep schedule
While not necessarily a routine in itself, setting a bedtime for yourself and sticking to it is the foundation of a good routine. Aiming to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day means that your body will start to get tired at the same time every day. This will enable you to plan your daily schedules accordingly, and if you record the data, you can keep track of how much sleep you’re getting.
2. Gentle activities
It’s always useful to pick a soothing action that you enjoy doing and that will relax you in the evenings. Whether it’s reading a book, meditating, or just listening to music, pick something that you find pleasant but not mentally stimulating.
3. Prepare for the next day
While this sounds like a cute thing you do for your kids, laying out your clothes for the next day helps you get in the mindset to wind down this day and prepare for the next. While you’re at it, you could prep your lunch and stick it in the fridge, check the next day’s weather, and overall just prepare yourself for the following day.
4. Turn off electronics
You thought this one was going to be the first one on the list, didn’t you? Turns out, you really only need to watch your blue light absorption for the hour or so before bed. Turning off your phones and computers should be one of the last steps in a successful and productive bedtime routine, not necessarily the first. This is good news for anyone who likes to watch Netflix before bed!
5. Take a moment to breathe
After everything has been turned off for the night, let your mind relax. Sit outside on the porch under the stars, journal if you have a lot on your mind, make a cup of tea in the silence and let your mind unwind. Taking the time to process your day before you go to bed lets you approach sleep with a clear mind and means you’re more likely to sleep deeply.
As you can see, there are a myriad of ways that you can implement a bedtime routine into your evenings. And unlike many new habits, it doesn’t require you to add anything to your nights if you don’t want to. Really, most good bedtime rituals involve choosing to not do things and to instead slow down and take time to be quiet in your mind before going to sleep. By taking allowing your mind the space to relax in the 30-40 minutes before you sleep tonight, you may be able to improve the quality of your sleep all night long.
Still having trouble sleeping? Sleep Science Clinics can help. Give us a call, or sign up for one of our personalized sleep studies today!