How To Create a Bedtime Routine That Works for You
Human beings are creatures of habit. Most of us thrive on the patterns and routines that we’ve set out for ourselves. Unless it’s being imposed by a boss you hate, structure and routine are beautiful things that help us thrive and succeed.
This concept applies to more than our jobs and chores, though. Your sleep can also benefit from a healthy routine before bed. Not only will this feel good, but it will even help you wake up feeling even more rested and rejuvenated.
In this article, we’re going to talk about how to make your ideal bedtime routine. You’ll discover why a bedtime routine is essential and some things to include to help you fall asleep faster and get better sleep.
Why Do Bedtime Routines Matter?
Your body responds very well to habits you implement in your life. Right down to your hormones, your body will react if you give it the same routine every single night.
This is important for everybody, but it’s vital if you struggle with falling asleep. Lying awake for hours at night is not only exhausting and stressful, but it affects how you function the next day.
Here’s why nighttime routines can be so powerful:
Inside your body and brain, you have this thing called your circadian rhythm. Think of this as your body’s internal clock. It uses the hormone melatonin to tell your body when it’s time to be awake and when it’s time to be asleep.
If your circadian rhythm is off, you won’t feel tired when it’s time for bed, and you’ll feel drowsy and groggy during the day when it’s time to focus and be productive. It’s hard to get a good night’s sleep when the rhythm of your sleep-wake cycle is off.
A nighttime routine could change all that. Taking an hour before bed to slow down, do some calming activities, and get ready for bed can improve your sleep quality so much. Giving your body something to expect every night before bed will help your circadian rhythm get with the program.
A bedtime routine is a sleep habit that can also help improve your sleep quality. Falling asleep faster means spending more of the night in a deep sleep. It allows your brain to get more of those sweet, sweet slow brain waves that it needs during the deep sleep stages.
So if you successfully implement a sleep routine, you’ll wake up feeling more refreshed than normal. It could give you the best sleep of your life!
Supports Mental Health
Getting good sleep is a vital part of your physical and mental health. A well-rested person will have less cortisol in their system and be far less stressed. Prolonged stress can increase your risk of developing a mental illness. Sleep is an amazing preventative measure you can take that supports the health of your mind and brain.
So What Should I Do During My Bedtime Routine?
We know that bedtime routines are amazing, but what can you do to actually help your body and nervous system calm down to get you ready for sleep? It’s best to make your wind-down routine about an hour long.
Here are a few super easy, relaxing things to add to your to-do list during that hour to get you sleep-ready before you lay down on your comfy mattress pad.
Ditch the Phone
Phones, televisions, and laptops are the natural enemy of good sleep. Those screens in your pocket emit something called blue light. Blue light sends signals to your brain that it’s time to be awake, so it messes with your circadian rhythm and sleep schedule.
So, an hour before bed, put your phone and other electronic devices away for the night. No more scrolling on social media or watching Netflix as you fall asleep. This will help your nervous system to start to calm down so melatonin can do its thing in your brain and body.
Adjust Your Bedroom Temperature
We all love to cuddle up underneath the covers and turn up the thermostat to have a warm, cozy night. Believe it or not, this could be lowering the quality of your sleep and making it tricky for you to fall asleep — and get enough sleep.
The ideal bedroom temperature for sleep is about 65 degrees Fahrenheit. If that sounds a bit chilly, that’s because it is.
Your core body temperature is programmed to drop a bit while you sleep. Helping it a bit by having a cool room while you sleep can send signals to your brain that it's time to wind down. It can also improve the quality of your deep sleep. Before bed, lower the thermostat, turn on your fan, and let your body cool off.
Dim the Lights
This one may seem obvious, but it’s hard for your body to feel like it’s ready for sleep when the lights are on. Your circadian rhythm needs proper light and dark routines to function properly. If you have bright lights on in your house and bedroom before bed, you could accidentally tell your brain it’s still time to be awake.
So an hour before bed, dim the lights and darken up the house a bit. You’ll start to feel your nervous system cool off, and your body will get drowsy. This simple sleep hygiene practice will work wonders on your ability to fall asleep every night.
The inverse is also true. Darkness is important for falling asleep, and light is important for staying awake. Sunlight is the best form of light out there, so getting a solid amount of sunlight throughout the day can work wonders in helping you fall asleep at night.
Even getting outside for 30 minutes to an hour during the day can help. Your body will be more ready to fall asleep at night with this simple trick.
Get a Consistent Bedtime
It can be tempting to stay up super late on the weekends, but if you’re trying to improve your sleep and help your body fall asleep faster, changing your bedtime is shooting yourself in the foot.
Going to bed at the same time every night is one of the most important aspects of a consistent bedtime routine. If you do this, your circadian rhythm will be absolutely locked in, and you’ll get rock-solid sleep night after night.
It also helps to wake up at the same time every day (yes, even on weekends). You’ll be so surprised at what this can do. To an extent, sleep is about quality over quantity. Giving your body a consistent rhythm and sleeping the recommended seven to nine hours a night will help improve your sleep quality.
This way, you won’t feel like you need to catch up by sleeping in every Saturday.
Do Things To Help You Relax
A bedtime routine is about getting your body to relax, so do things that help to calm you down before bed. There are a million things you can do, depending on personal preference, but here are a few ideas.
White noise machines are taking the world by storm. There’s nothing better than drifting off to dreamland to the sound of the rain, the ocean, or a forest. Doing this consistently will also give your body an auditory stimulus to signal that it’s time for bed. You can even find a white noise playlist on your music streaming platform.
You can start to use diffusers with essential oils. Oils like chamomile and lavender have a natural calming effect on the body, so it’s perfect for your nightly routine. Keep in mind that some essential oils aren’t safe for pets.
Warm showers are another way to help your body calm down. Showering an hour before bed helps to cozy up your nervous system and slow it down, preparing your body for bed as you towel off.
No More Late Night Snacks
This one hurts to hear, but your late-night bowl of cereal or that cookie right before bed could be contributing to poor sleep. If your stomach has to spend energy digesting food while you sleep, your nervous system will also be more active.
Digestion is something that happens while you’re awake, so it can send the wrong signals to your brain if you eat a bunch of food right before bed. It may not be fun to give up your midnight snack, but your body will thank you when you wake up feeling super rested the next day.
Better Routine = Better Sleep
If you take an hour to follow these simple steps, you’ll be able to fall asleep faster and sleep better throughout the night. Getting your circadian rhythm locked in is everything, and a bedtime routine is the best way to do that.
If these tips work for you, tell us in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you! And if you want to learn more about sleep and see a selection of great mattresses, mattress toppers, and bedding, check us out at eLuxury.