Build A Better Bedtime Routine With These Four Steps
One-third of Americans don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis, according to the CDC. If you’re one of them, creating a bedtime routine is one of the easiest steps you can take to enjoy better sleep. Bedtime routines are a simple lifestyle change that can help your mind and body relax before bed.
What is a Bedtime Routine?
A bedtime routine is a set of activities you perform in the same order, every night, in the 30 to 60 minutes before you go to bed. Bedtime routines can vary, but often include calming activities like taking a warm bath, reading, journaling, or meditation.
What Is a Good Bedtime Routine For Adults?
Decide on a set bedtime
As part of your natural sleep-wake cycle, your brain starts winding down for sleep a few hours before bedtime. You can use your bedtime routine to make that process more effective. First, decide on your bed- and wake-up times, and stick to them every day. Following a consistent sleep, routine helps train your brain to naturally feel tired when it’s bedtime.
Next, schedule a time to begin your bedtime routine every night, anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours before bed. Set an alarm if you need to.
Leave your electronics alone
Despite what you may think, your favorite Netflix show does not help you relax, nor does scrolling on Instagram. Electronic devices, including computers, televisions, smartphones, and tablets, all emit strong blue light. When you use these devices, that blue light floods your brain, tricking it into thinking it’s daytime. As a result, your brain suppresses melatonin production and works to stay awake.
Don’t play tricks on your brain. Say goodnight to your electronics at the beginning of your bedtime routine. If you can, avoid using electronics in the evening as much as possible. Be sure to turn on your phone’s red-light filter well before your bedtime routine even begins, so if you accidentally look at it, it won’t be as disruptive.
Have a Light Snack or Bedtime Tea
Heavy meals and drinking before bed can lead to indigestion, acid reflux, and middle-of-the-night restroom trips that disrupt your sleep. However, going to bed hungry can also upset your stomach and make it hard to fall asleep.
Find a healthy middle ground by calming your stomach with a light snack, like a piece of fruit or yogurt. Cherries, grapes, strawberries, nuts, and oats all have high melatonin content. Non-caffeinated herbal teas, especially ones with chamomile or lavender, are another nice way to calm the mind and induce sleep. Just make sure to use the restroom before bed!
Take a Warm Bath
As part of your sleep-wake cycle, your body experiences various hormonal changes throughout the day. One of these is melatonin production, which begins in the evening to prepare you for sleep. At the same time, your core body temperature drops.
Scientists have found that mimicking that nighttime drop in body temperature via a warm bath can trigger a similarly sleepy reaction. Consider taking a warm bath about an hour before you go to sleep. Your body will heat up from the water, and cool down quickly as the water evaporates, creating a sensation that makes you feel tired and relaxed.