This is a collaborative post.
Creating a nighttime routine is a great way to prepare your body and mind for rest. Following a consistent set of structured steps will build a habit that signals the need to relax and unwind as the evening progresses. Many parents create nighttime routines to help children fall asleep; it’s also something we should do for ourselves.
If you’re on a mission to improve your sleep, try adding these proven steps to your nighttime routine.
Prepare Your Room for Quality Rest
First, ensure your room is set up to promote high-quality rest. Create a comfortable place to sleep, with breathable blanket options and supportive pillows. You should also make sure to find a good mattress based on your preferred sleeping position and physiological needs.
Studies have shown that humans sleep better in cooler temperatures. You can use a programmable thermostat to drop the temperature by a couple of degrees while you rest. This practice will help you sleep better and save you money over time!
Next, block out any disruptive lights or sounds. A white noise machine or fan will cover any creaks and cracks that could disrupt your sleep throughout the night. Black-out curtains will help block the long daylight hours during the summer or any nearby streetlights.
Practice Mindfulness Before Bed
If you’ve laid awake at night ruminating over the things causing you stress in your life, you’re not alone. 43% of people aged 13-64 have reported stress as a common disruption to their sleep at night. As sleep deprivation can also increase stress levels, this issue can create a vicious cycle that has long-term adverse effects.
Practicing mindfulness before bed can help reduce stress and relax your mind. Mindfulness can come in the form of meditation, journaling, or walking in nature. For some people, reading, having a bath, or listening to music is helpful in unwinding.
Unplug and Disconnect
Technology has a way of disrupting mindful practices, increasing stress, and disrupting natural sleep patterns. One of the best things you can do to sleep better is cut off technology use well before bedtime— at least an hour beforehand.
Consider making the bedroom a phone-free zone or placing your phone on silent across the room. If you use your phone as your alarm in the morning, this practice can also help you avoid hitting snooze and get your sleep patterns back on track.
Create Consumption Limits
It’s essential to nourish and hydrate your body to encourage rest. However, doing so close to bedtime can cause more harm than good. Eating within two hours of sleep will trigger your digestive system, which could cause heartburn when lying down. Drinking excess amounts of water may cause you to wake up and venture to the bathroom throughout the night.
Try cutting your intake off at least two hours before bedtime, limiting your caffeine intake to at least four hours before bedtime.
Stick to a Timeline
The more consistent your sleep and wake-up times, the better your quality of sleep will become. Creating a timeline and sticking to it will help you create the structure you need to develop better sleep hygiene.
With these small changes, you’ll see significant changes in your stress levels, productivity, and sleep quality.