Start your bedtime routine early enough, so you have time to incorporate relaxing techniques into your schedule. A habitual bedtime routine can help our brains recognize when it is time to sleep. It will also play an important role in reducing late-night stress and anxiety. Start your bedtime routine about 30 to 60 minutes before you intend to lie down to go to sleep.
Below are five things you can incorporate into your bedtime routine that will help you fall asleep and have a restful night’s sleep.
1. Have a set bedtime and waking time
Keeping yourself on a waking schedule will help to regulate your sleep cycle. Every individual has different needs when it comes to how long they should be sleeping. Some people need only 6 hours of sleep, while others need 9 hours. Be sure to adjust your sleep schedule based on your needs. Be consistent with what time you wake up and sleep all days of the week, including the weekends.
2. Put down your electronics
Electronic devices, such as cell phones, televisions, and laptops, emit Fluorescent and LED light (also known as blue light.) This blue light has been shown to reduce or delay the natural production of melatonin and decrease the sensation of sleepiness.
Blue light can also reduce the amount of time you spend in slow wave and REM sleep. These two stages of sleep are vital for cognitive functioning. Make your bedroom a “Screen-Free” zone and limit your screen time during the day. Set a curfew where you disconnect with your phone and/or laptop and stick to it. If you spend a lot of time on your phone or computer during the day, invest in “blue light glasses” to block this blue light from the screen.
3. Have a light snack or bedtime tea
While there are some foods and beverages to avoid before going to bed, other foods can assist with relaxation and promote better sleep.
Everyone is affected by caffeine differently. Caffeine should be avoided in the evenings.
However, the following snacks have supporting nutrition that will assist in restful sleep:
- Peanut butter on whole grain bread
- Lean cheese on whole grain crackers
- Cereal and milk
Tryptophan, found in turkey and fish, promotes serotonin production. Melatonin, found in dairy and cherries, makes you sleepy. Potassium, found in bananas, and magnesium, also in bananas and almonds helps with muscle relaxation.
There are also supporting sleep-inducing herbs. Mint and chamomile are two of these herbs commonly brewed into teas.
4. Take a warm bath
Taking a warm bath or shower sounds relaxing, but there is science to the nighttime trick. The body needs to drop by 2 to 3 degrees Fahrenheit to initiate good sleep and maintain deep sleep.
Taking a bath or shower at 104 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes improves sleep quality by bringing all the blood to the body’s surface. Your body releases that core heat through the outer perimeter surfaces of your body, namely your hands and feet.
In addition, this nighttime hack can be improved upon by incorporating bath bombs, Epsom salts, and scented extracted oils with relaxing scents such as lavender, eucalyptus, and jasmine.
Meditation is a lifestyle practice that has been practiced in Eastern cultures for thousands of years. Many have found that meditation relaxation techniques can help induce body relaxation and encourage sleep. Yoga Nidra (Yoga Sleep) is a style of guided meditation focusing on relaxing the mind and body. Many guided meditations on YouTube are free for individuals to try and explore.
If you or a loved one would like more information, contact our office today to schedule a free consultation.