Bedtime routines aren’t just for kids. In fact, people of all ages can benefit from having a consistent routine before bed.
How a Bedtime Routine Can Help You Sleep
Humans are creatures of habit. So when you go through the same routine each night before bed, your brain (and body) will start to associate the activities in your routine with sleep. That means once you begin going through your routine, you can start winding down for bed and feeling sleepy. Basically, it primes you for getting to sleep — instead of lying awake at night.
A bedtime routine can be especially helpful if you include activities that help you feel relaxed and settled. For example, if you’re taking a bath and reading a book rather than wrapping up work or scrolling through social media.
Making a Bedtime Routine Work for You
The most important part of a bedtime routine is simple: just do it. Even if you’re following a simple routine, just the act of going through a routine can help spark to notion that it’s time to get ready to sleep.
In fact, a simple routine could be just what you need. If you try to follow an overly complicated, ambitious routine each night, you might be too tired to go through with it every night and abandon your routine. Dropping out of that consistency doesn’t help you sleep well, but sticking with it does.
Bedtime Routine Activities That Work
Need some inspiration for things to do to wind down before bed? Try some of these activities that can help you relax and send you off to sleep:
- Basic hygiene tasks, like brushing your teeth and washing your face
- Setting out clothes and other important items for the next morning
- A five-minute yoga session with relaxing, stretchy poses
- Meditation, such as deep breathing, counting meditation, or guided meditation
- Journaling or otherwise reflecting on your day
- Reading a book
- Taking a warm bath
Other Ways to Support Healthy Sleep
Establishing a relaxing bedtime routine is just one thing you can do to improve your sleep quality. Ideally, you can make your bedtime routine part of your overall good sleep habits, like sticking to a regular sleep schedule, making time for sleep, and avoiding pitfalls that can make it tough to get to sleep at night. Try these other tips for healthy sleep, too:
- Make time for sleep — at least seven hours each night
- Stick to a consistent sleep schedule
- Get outside in the sunlight during the day
- Avoid screen time at least one hour before bed
- Avoid caffeine in the afternoons and evenings
- Steer clear of bright lights in the evening
- Manage stress throughout the day — and be sure you’ve shaken it off before bed
- Exercise, but not too late in the day or you might be too energized to sleep
- Create a healthy, comfortable sleep environment
- Address health concerns, including painful conditions that can interfere with sleep
- Talk to your doctor about treatment for sleep disorders such as insomnia or sleep apnea
With healthy sleep habits and a regular bedtime routine, you can improve your sleep quality and train yourself to go to bed on time. Getting adequate sleep can help you feel better each day and avoid increasing your risk of chronic physical and mental health conditions.
This guest post was graciously provided by Amy Highland. Amy is a sleep expert at SleepHelp.org. She loves taking naps during thunderstorms and cuddling up with a blanket, book, and cats.