How to Build a Bedtime Routine From Scratch
By Karen Heslop
You've heard the same sentiments echoed repeatedly, "You need to get enough sleep," but it's not that easy. Sometimes, people spend more time tossing and turning than actually getting the rest they need. One effective way to get to sleep faster and sleep longer is to establish a bedtime routine. Once that's done, you'll be logging those hours of sleep in no time.
The Essentials of a Bedtime Routine
When you're starting from scratch, these are some of the main areas that you need to focus on. As you get them under control, things will flow more easily.
Set a bedtime - Consistency is vital to an effective bedtime routine. Set a workable bedtime and stick to it. When deciding on a time, make sure to factor in your ideal waking hour and what you'd like to accomplish before bed.
Put away the devices - Phones, tablets, and televisions are known to disrupt the sleep cycle. Even if the light is dim, they're still keeping your brain too active to get ready for sleep. Putting them away at least 30 minutes before bed will get your mind in the right state.
Turn the lights down or off - Dimming the lights or turning them off altogether is the ultimate sign to your brain that it's time to go to bed.
Stay away from alcohol - While a sip of alcohol may make you drowsy or offer temporary feelings of relaxation, it can also disrupt sleep. The aim of the bedtime routine is to help you fall asleep and enjoy a good night's rest.
Keep snacks light - Heavy foods are another thing that can disrupt sleep as your body is struggling to digest what you've eaten. Ideally, your last full meal should be 2-4 hours before your bedtime.
Get comfortable - This can mean putting on your favorite sleepwear, stocking the bed with pillows, or drinking a cup of tea. It's up to you.
Start winding down - As you get ready for bed, it's important to relax. This is another area that's up to you. For some persons, listening to an audiobook, taking a warm bath, or even a short bout of meditation does the trick.
The great thing about bedtime routines is that they can be personalized. When you start out, it's best to find out what works well for you. Writing down what you did and the effect that routine had makes it easy to identify a pattern. Eventually, the ideal bedtime routine will emerge.
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