There’s nothing more frustrating than feeling tired but being unable to fall asleep. There’s a reason why we try to get babies and children into a bedtime routine – it makes falling asleep easier, yet somewhere on the way to adulthood, we forget the importance of a bedtime routine and end up taking whatever sleep we can get whenever we can get it.
What is the importance of a bedtime routine?
Routines, in general, are a great way to stay consistent and train our minds and bodies to do certain things, including going to sleep. Bedtime routines in particular can:
- Help to calm our overactive minds
- Help us prepare for the following day
- Train our bodies to sleep at a certain time
- Help us get a better quality nights sleep
- Help us to relax, reducing stress
How can you get back into a bedtime routine?
So we’ve established that bedtime routines are important to help us get a regular amount of sleep, to unwind and destress and plan for the next day, but how do we get into one? Here are 3 things to try.
- Set yourself a bedtime
Having a regular bedtime is not just important for kids but for adults too. People who have a consistent and regular bedtime are found to perform better, have enhanced cognitive abilities and have a better quality of sleep. When you go to bed will depend a little on your daily routine but it’s recommended to try and get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night, so work out when you need to be up and then work back from there.
- Got to bed and wake up at the same time every day
Setting a bedtime is a great start but you will also want to set a time to wake up too. Once you have set a bedtime and a wake-up time you then need to stick to it 7 days a week – that’s right, even on the weekends, because your body will find it easiest to adapt to a new sleep schedule if it is maintained consistently throughout the week.
- Give yourself a wind-down window
Winding down before bed is an important part of a bedtime routine and it should be a quiet, relaxing and enjoyable time. How long your wind-down window will need to be will depend a little on how long you have available and how long it typically takes you to relax. Try to aim for between 30 – 60 minutes of wind downtime a night, and as with your bedtime and wake up time, stick to it wherever possible.
Ways to get a better nights sleep
Now that you’ve set yourself a wind-down window, a bedtime and a wake-up time that you will stick yo every day it’s time to make sure that you make the most of these to get the best night’s sleep possible. Here are a few things to consider.
- Disconnect from digital devices
Digital devices, be it your laptop, television, phone or tablet, stimulate your brain in effect undoing all the hard work you are putting in to help you fall asleep. Digital devices also emit blue light which can affect your internal body clock and confuse your natural sleep schedule. Using technology in the bedroom has also been found to be addictive and can eat into your valuable sleep time, so disconnect during your wind-down window, find an alternative such as reading a book, or listening to a podcast and then go to bed without that last check of your emails.
- Promote the production of melatonin
Melatonin is the important hormone that signals to your body when it’s time to sleep. Temperature can play a big part in melatonin production and so it’s advisable to sleep in a colder room at around 15.5 and 19.4 degrees Celsius. This is because the temperature tends to naturally drop at night and this is one of the signals for your body to go to sleep. Natural melatonin production can be affected by digital devices, your age, changes in time zones and stress and in these cases taking a melatonin supplement can help.
- Have a relaxing drink or a small snack
Being thirsty or hungry before bed can influence the quality of your sleep. Avoid stimulants such as caffeine alcohol and sugary sodas, instead, try sipping on a relaxing drink such as a herbal tea to hydrate and relax you during your wind-down time. If you feel hungry before bed then eat a small snack to keep you going, try to avoid a huge meal before bed as you may feel bloated and uncomfortable.
Newly middle-aged wife of 1, Mom of 3, Grandma of 2. A professional blogger who has lived in 3 places since losing her home to a house fire in October 2018 with her husband. Becky appreciates being self-employed which has allowed her to work from 'anywhere'. Life is better when you can laugh. As you can tell by her Facebook page where she keeps the humor memes going daily. Becky looks forward to the upcoming new year. It will be fun to see what 2020 holds.