A bedtime routine is a series of activities that you conduct in the same sequence every night, 30 to 60 minutes before bed. Bedtime rituals vary but typically involve relaxing activities such as taking a warm bath, reading, journaling, or meditation.
Why Are Bedtime Routines Important?
Bedtime routines help you wind down after a busy day and prepare you for a good night’s sleep. They also get your mind in the mode of sleeping, which helps your body wind down.
How to Setup a Bedtime Routine
Are you ready to plan your ideal nighttime routine? Try out these suggestions.
1. Set a Bedtime
Your brain begins winding down for sleep a few hours before bedtime as part of your natural sleep-wake cycle. You may improve the effectiveness of that procedure by including it in your night routine. To begin, set your bedtime and wake-up times and stick to them every day, even on weekends. Maintaining a consistent sleep habit trains your brain to naturally feel sleepy when it’s time to sleep.
Next, set a timer for 30 minutes to 2 hours before bed to begin your sleep ritual every night. Set an alarm if necessary. Prioritize your bed time just like you would eating and exercise.
2. Leave the Electronics Alone
In addition to planning your nighttime routine, you should avoid electronics right before bed. You may want to read on your phone or watch a late-night show on TV, but the light they shine can interfere with your ability to fall asleep. You should dim your lights, shut down your computer and phone, and reach for a calming podcast, playlist, or hardcopy book to read.
3. Read a Book
Reading is a good nighttime ritual to practice before bed because it can help you wind down and distract your mind. There are also e-readers that do not have a traditional backlight, like certain Kindles and Nooks, that do not emit light the same way a phone or tablet does. Many people feel sleepy right after reading for more than 10 minutes. It’s different for everybody but setting a book on your bedside table will signal your brain that it’s time to wind down.
- Take a Bath
Taking a bath is a calming activity you can do to end your day. You can either run your bath water and add bath salts, a bubble bath, or a scent of your choice. You can also take a shower or soak in a hot tub. Hot baths and showers actually help lower our internal body temperature as the brain reacts to being in a warm environment. This is one of the steps your body naturally does as it goes to sleep, so you are helping to initiate that through a warm bath or shower.
- Practice Meditation
Meditation can help you relax and encourage sleep. There are several types of meditation. You can use guided meditations, or read books that help you meditate. You can also focus on your breathing or think about a word or phrase.
Another great nighttime ritual is deep breathing. Try to practice deep breathing in a sitting or lying down position for best results. Breathe in deep through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to breathe in a specific rhythm. For example, you can count to three while you breathe in and count to six while you breathe out. If you struggle with this exercise, try counting by threes.
If you’re having trouble falling asleep, writing in a journal can help you calm down and relax. If you find you have busy brain that is preventing sleep, even writing out a to do list for the following day can help reassure your brain that you will not forget about those things if you go to sleep. There are also things you can do the night before to help prepare for the following day that may seem unrelated to sleep but can make a big difference if you find you have a brain that tends to worry. Things like meal prepping, sticking to a schedule for cleaning/shopping and making sure appointments are written down in an obvious place so you don’t worry about forgetting them.
Bedtime routines can help us relax and fall asleep faster. The more you include the activities above, the better your routine will be.
Maintaining a healthy body and a positive mind can help you sleep longer and better. Whether you include a bedtime routine or not, incorporating healthy habits into your life can help you sleep like a baby!
Get a better night’s sleep with the help of Sleep Better Live Better. We are a sleep clinic in North Vancouver that has helped thousands of patients find healthy sleep solutions. Book a consultation today!