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Physical Wellness

Bedtime Habits Worth Adopting to Sleep Better

It’s no secret that many Americans don’t get enough sleep. Good sleep is vital for our physical and mental health. If you don’t sleep well, your body can’t function as it should, leaving you prone to making mistakes and even certain illnesses. Creating an effective bedtime routine is one of the best ways to sleep better and enjoy quality sleep every night. Bedtime routines involve making simple changes to help relax your body and mind before bed.

Over the past few years, more and more people have reported suffering from sleep deprivation which means that both the quantity and quality of their sleep have decreased. Family responsibilities, work stress, and illnesses can all wreak havoc on your schedule making quality sleep elusive. All those combined with unhealthy habits like binge-watching till late at night and endlessly scrolling phones can make it difficult to get to sleep.

What is the Importance of Good Bedtime Routines?

According to the CDC, one third of Americans don’t get enough sleep regularly. We cannot overlook the importance of sleep. Insomnia is a major concern for a majority of the American population, with 10%-30% of adults struggling with chronic insomnia at some point in their lives. As our lives become increasingly busy, you might find it hard to get enough sleep every night.

Sleep allows the body and mind to recharge, so you feel alert during the day. Healthy sleep habits also help your body remain healthy. That’s why it’s crucial to establish good sleeping habits. We are creatures of habit. Like other routines in your life, a good bedtime routine establishes habits that help your brain recognize when it’s time for bed. When you practice good sleeping habits, your brain and body can quiet down, preparing you for uninterrupted sleep throughout the night.

Girl with curly hair sitting in bed in the morning.
When you practice good sleeping habits, your brain and body can quiet down (Image Source: Shutterstock)

A bedtime routine is a variety of activities you perform, usually in the same order, every night thirty minutes to an hour before bed. Bedtime routines vary from one person to another. You need to find out what works for you and adopt that. It could be journaling, meditation, reading, or taking a warm bath.

Performing these activities every night helps your brain register them as a precursor to sleep. Bedtime routines also help reduce anxiety and late-night stress that might keep you awake. Usually, anxious thoughts activate the mind and the sympathetic nervous system. These thoughts can intensify and lead to the development of chronic insomnia. A consistent bedtime routine will keep your mind focused on other things rather than your worries helping you relax and sleep better.

How To Sleep Better: Creating a Better Bedtime Routine

You can’t control when you fall asleep, but you can control how you think about it. It starts with creating a better bedtime routine to keep your activation levels, sleep pressure, and circadian rhythm in check. Below are a few tips for sleeping better that you could add to your routine.

Keep All Electronic Devices Out of the Bedroom

Several factors affect sleep, including your circadian rhythm. This is the body’s built-in twenty-four-hour biological clock that regulates body functions like the brain and metabolism. The circadian rhythm also governs our sleepiness and wakefulness.

Electronic devices like TVs, laptops, smartphones, and tablets emit blue light, which interferes with our circadian rhythm making it harder to fall asleep. That’s why you might feel sleepy at nine, go to bed and find that you are still awake at two in the morning after scrolling from one app to another.

Here’s the thing about electronic devices: they can be highly stimulating. Stimulation is the last thing you need if you are trying to fall asleep. A good habit is to put away your phone, tablets, computers, and TVs for at least thirty minutes to an hour before bed.

Establish a Sleep Schedule

One of the things that can mess with your sleep is a sleep schedule that is all over the place. Set aside at least seven to eight hours of sleep. Most adults don’t need more than eight hours to feel well rested.

Ensure you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends and holidays. Establishing consistency helps reinforce your body’s sleep-wake cycle. As you get used to the routine, you may even find that you will start dozing off as that time approaches.

How To Fix Your Sleep Schedule – Reset Your Sleep Pattern ︱ Better Than Yesterday

But what happens if you go to bed but don’t fall asleep? Don’t stay in bed. Instead, get up, leave your bedroom and find something relaxing to do. Though don’t watch TV or pick up your phone because that will only mess up your schedule further. Try reading or listening to music.

Drink a Herbal Tea

Drinking chamomile, lavender, or valerian root tea can help you sleep better. Herbal teas, unlike black tea, are generally caffeine-free. These teas also contain compounds that help ease stress and anxiety, promoting a feeling of calmness. Herbal teas have been used for centuries as natural sleep remedies and can be a great addition to your bedtime routine.

Take a Hot Shower

Taking a hot shower before bed, especially when you’ve had a long day, is one of the best ways to relax. A warm bath or a shower one or two hours before bed will help heat your body, while the cooling process will prepare you for uninterrupted sleep.

Try Journaling

Journaling is a way to meditate and can help relax you. For many people, journaling in the evening before bed helps them sort out and process their feelings and thoughts. Create a simple to-do list if you don’t want to write in a journal. Whatever gets you to relax and look forward to the following day, do it.

Woman writes down some notes in notebook
Journaling is a way to meditate and can help relax you. (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Stay Light with Dinner

While you shouldn’t go to bed hungry, you also need to pay attention to what you eat and drink before bed. Avoid eating very large or heavy meals a couple of hours before bed. Instead, stick to a light dinner. That’s because heavy meals and excessive drinking before bed can lead to indigestion and acid reflux. This could cause you to wake up in the middle of the night for a bathroom break and disrupt your sleep.

Try Essential Oils Aromatherapy

Essential oils are in almost everything, including body lotions, massage treatments, and household cleaners. They have many benefits that include improving sleep, helping decrease anxiety, and fostering deep relaxation. If you have difficulties sleeping at night, try aromatherapy essential oils like lavender oil, tea tree oil, rosemary oil, and frankincense oil.

Stretch Before Bed

A simple yoga routine can be the difference between falling asleep fast and staying awake till the early morning hours. You can even try other relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation. These techniques help your body let go of any physical or mental tension by focusing on mindful relaxation. Yoga and other stretching exercises can help prevent cramping and help you sleep better.

Yoga For A Relaxing Night’s Sleep ︱ Jessica Richburg

Regular sports and physical activity can help regulate your body physically and mentally, which is beneficial for your sleep cycle. However, ensure you are not too active a few hours before bed. Spending so much time in the gym or outside in the evenings might do more harm than good. If you do work out in the evening due to commitments like work, take a supplement like Evlution Nutrition Z Matrix for proper recovery and better sleep.

Improve Your Nightly Sleep with a Consistent Routine

All these sleeping tips help to create a more effective bedtime routine. Something else you can try is investing in your comfort. The comfort of your mattress, pillow, lighting, and room temperature may work wonders in ensuring a peaceful sleep. Molecule cooling bed sheets, for instance, can help improve the quality of your sleep by ridding your body of excess body heat that might make it difficult to fall asleep. However, it all comes down to the routine you establish for yourself. Stick to a sleep routine that works for you, and never stay in bed if you are not sleepy.

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