I can tell when I have not gotten great sleep–I am less productive, sleepy and occasionally a bit cranky.
Sleep can be elusive to some and easy for others, but either way, having a great nightly routine is a benefit.
Why is a nighttime routine important?
According to the Mayo Clinic, doing the same things each night tells your body it is time to wind down. If you want to calm your body and brain down to get ready for quality sleep, you have to prepare your body.
Would you workout without stretching? Think of sleeping the same way, prepare your body for sleep to maximize its effectiveness.
How to improve your bedtime routine in 30 minutes:
This is the fun part! I will give you a few suggestions on how to improve your bedtime routine, but get creative and make these things work for you!
- Prep for the next morning. Most of the time I do this before really anything else, primarily because it requires the use of my brain ?. But I decide what I will wear the next day, or at least give myself a few options. I also lay out my workout clothes and think about what I will have for lunch. For me, this helps make my mornings easier and less stressful. And helps me to be on time to work.
- Turn your brain off. For me it is reading, but for you it may be coloring. Choose an activity that is calming for you and does NOT involve your phone or TV (this part is crucial). If you have a lot going on in your mind, you can use some of this time to write those things down.
- Meditate. There is a lot research about meditation in general (Ariana writes about this too), but doing it before bed can help with insomnia and fatigue. There are a few apps that can help with meditation (like Headspace). It can take a while to get used to it, but once you have done it a few times, it will be much easier.
- Relax your body and muscles. You can do this by taking a bath, or some nighttime yoga, but relaxing your muscles can help relieve tension and will make falling asleep easier.
- Unplug. Seriously. Now I have to admit I am bad at this. But for the last 30 minutes before sleep, don’t look at your phone. Whether you put it on do not disturb or put it in another room is up to you, but there is a good bit of research that says screen time immediately before bed negatively affects your sleep.
- Turn your thermostat down. It’s easier to fall asleep when the ambient temperature is slightly cooler. Try turning down your thermostat a degree or two and see if it helps you.
Once you decide what your nighttime routine will look like, try your best to stick with it. The consistency of your nighttime routine will help your body relax and fall to sleep more quickly.
Sleep affects our entire lives — if you don’t get enough of it, or enough good sleep, your quality of life will be affected. Try a nightly routine for a few months and see what happens. It may change your sleep, which can change your life.
What do you guys do to get ready for sleep? Do you think a nightly routine matters?
More on sleep:
- Creating a Nightly Routine For Less Stress and More Calm
- The Top 10 Ways to Fall (and Stay) Asleep
- Say “Yes!” To Sleep: The Problems With Sleep Deprivation
- How Sleep, Yoga, and Meditation Will Improve Your Life