If you’re a stranger to long, dragging nights and heavy eyelids accentuated by deep purple bags, then consider yourself very lucky. A majority of adults must reluctantly wear the telltale signs of insomnia and exhaustion throughout most of their daily activities, only to then return home and slip back into the same old nightly routine and get next to no sleep. Again.
For those who do empathize with this constant uphill battle, know that there are many others experiencing the same struggles with sleep as you. Of course, that doesn’t really do much to help the issue at hand, but I’m here to tell you not to give up on your sleeping goals. In fact, there’s a lot you can personally do to improve the quality of your nightly sleep.
Behaviors and habits have a profound impact on how you sleep, and there’s plenty of useful wind down activities that you can incorporate into your bedtime routine that will significantly change the way you sleep for the better.
Prepare to venture into a rabbit hole of proactive sleep advice and stop living life like a zombie. Some topics this article will discuss more in depth include the following:
- Why a bedtime routine is vital to sustaining good health
- How your daily habits affect the quality of your sleep
- Simple wind down activities to integrate into your nightly routine
Why You Need to Establish a Bedtime Routine
As a fully grown adult capable of making their own decisions without the supervision of others, there’s a good chance the phrase “bedtime routine” is something you associate with young children. While it’s entirely true that parents should establish effective sleeping routines for their kids to ensure they develop healthy sleep habits, the notion that a bedtime routine is only reserved for young children couldn’t be any less accurate.
Adults, just like children, depend on getting a quality night of sleep in order to feel rested and rejuvenated for the next day. We as a society have become much too invested in promoting an always available mindset, orienting our culture around work to such a high degree that it becomes the main focus of our lives. People forget to exist outside of being productive, and that can end up being a negative influence on your health, especially when it starts costing you sleep.
Rather than busy yourself with work and other stress invoking tasks that make your head throb up until you sink into the mattress, introduce an adequate amount of time prior to going to bed that is reserved for the purpose of winding down. Though you might feel that you don’t have enough time for it, you’ll soon realize just how non-negotiable an appropriate bedtime routine is for sustaining good health.
Your Well-Being Depends on Including Wind Down Activities Before Bed
Every second of every day, our lives seem to be bombarded with work. It’s all we do, all we worry about, and even what’s on our mind when we go to bed after a long day. With all the various demands and stressors of life constantly plaguing our thoughts, it makes sense that we need time to catch our breath and relax.
Make time to wind down at the end of the night with low effort or passive tasks that don’t require a ton of concentration on your part. The goal is to help assist your mind in powering down after the day’s work by participating in activities that don’t stimulate excess brain activity, allowing your mind to unravel and your body to relax.
As tempting as it is to stay up and watch one more episode of your favorite show or finish one more assignment for work, the negative effects on your body are not worth the payoff. Prolonging brain activity will make falling asleep much more difficult and put you in a state of restless fatigue, where you can feel your eyelids drooping from exhaustion but everything else is racing like you just completed a marathon, making sleep impossible. Queue the hours of tossing and turning.
The next day isn’t going to be any easier, either. Not getting enough sleep will immediately result in experiencing the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation the following day. These low energy levels will impact your ability to work and overall attitude, so it’s imperative that you take the steps necessary to implement an effective bedtime routine with activities devoted to winding down.
Keeping your sleep quality in check will drastically influence how you feel the next day, boosting your daily energy levels and helping sustain good health. If you aren’t sure where to start when it comes to establishing a nighttime routine that works for you, determine the optimal time for winding down based on your needs. Here’s how to begin:
- Start with the typical amount of sleep you need per night (such as 7 or 8 hours) and add an extra hour of buffer time to account for sleep latency and sleep fragmentation.
- Combine your required sleep time with the buffer time and work backwards from when you need to wake up. This means if you need to be awake at 6:30 the next morning, you should be in bed no later than 9:30 p.m.
- You ideally should be winding down about an hour before your actual bedtime, which works out to be around 8 p.m.
How Your Entire Day Affects Your Bedtime Routine
Establishing a wind down routine that works for you is essential to getting a quality night of rest. It’s preferable that you begin winding down an hour or two before your actual bedtime, giving your body enough time to relax and destress from the day’s activities.
However, working out a good bedtime routine depends on more factors than what you do during the evening. Your daytime habits influence how you feel at the end of the day, meaning quality sleep only comes as a result of making proactive choices when you are awake.
Structure Your Day and Evening to Promote Sleep
From sunlight to sundown, you should be considering your habits and how they might affect your sleep hygiene. Let’s go over some important behaviors that play a key part in improving the quality of your sleep:
During the day:
- Light exposure is crucial to restarting your circadian rhythm; help regulate your sleep-wake cycle by exposing yourself to light right when you wake up.
- Exercise in the morning to expend energy, making it easier to fall into a deep sleep later that night.
- Use the beneficial effects of caffeine in the morning to help wake yourself up, but limit its consumption in the afternoon since it can stay present in the system for ten hours.
- Napping in the early afternoon can help you catch up on rest and give you enough energy to keep going until it’s time for bed.
During the evening:
- Use your remaining energy to be productive and accomplish challenging tasks.
- Don’t eat too close to bedtime and avoid large meals. If you’re hungry, opt for a light snack or small meal.
- Exercising in the evening is just as beneficial as it is in the morning, and it can help get your body prepared for rest.
- Certain substances like alcohol and nicotine should be avoided in the late evening, as they can interfere with your ability to fall asleep.
Activities to Help You Wind Down and Establish Healthy Bedtime Habits
Now that you know there are certain behaviors to avoid before hitting the sack, it only stands to reason that some activities accomplish the opposite by promoting a restful night’s sleep. There are simple, low effort methods you can utilize to help your body unwind before sleep time; even sipping on a cup of hibiscus tea an hour or so before bed can help you relax and slip into a nighttime mindset.
Let’s discuss some sleeping tips and wind down activities that will drastically improve your quality of sleep.
Turn Off the Tech
This is a big one, and pretty well known at this point. It’s become habitual to scroll through your phone at night and check different socials, emails, or anything else that’s bugging your mind before settling down once and for all. But even when the phone is put down, your mind is as active as ever. Why is that?
It turns out that the artificial blue light emanating from the small screen in your hand interferes with our natural sleep cycles, causing your brain to confuse night with daytime. We sleep and wake by way of our internal clocks, otherwise known as our circadian rhythm. Since technology can disrupt this natural cycle, it’s recommended to limit screen time before bed by at least thirty minutes.
Separate Work From Bed
Do not take your job to bed with you. Seriously. This is one of the biggest factors that determines your ability to sleep in undisturbed silence. Going to bed with emails on your mind and tasks buzzing inside your head isn’t conducive to a good night’s sleep, and it’s important you keep it away from the bedroom. Put the phone, laptop, notebooks, and everything else work related away and focus on unwinding instead.
Simple physical activities such as stretching and light yoga can relieve tension from your muscles after a strenuous day, helping to loosen your body and prepare it for sleep. It isn’t just a sleep aid either – mindful activities like yoga and meditation can affect your quality of life overall and reduce depression.
While it’s ideal you avoid blue light from electronic devices, the act of reading in and of itself is a gateway to a pleasant slumber. A significant number of individuals read before going to bed, some even in bed, though that has the potential to interfere with falling asleep. Despite the risk, many folks are able to bypass it and obtain a quality night of sleep.
Give Supplements a Try
Supplements aren’t meant to undermine the beneficial effects of healthy habits and bedtime routines that run like clockwork; it’s quite the opposite, in fact. Relying on supplements to completely fix your sleep schedule is a faulty line of thought, as only tangible effort will make a lasting impression.
So, what are the point of supplements then, if not to be your magical solution to good sleep? Supplements exist to assist you in your sleeping endeavors, so long as you realize they aren’t any more special than other types of medications. It’s also entirely possible for some supplements to achieve different effects for different individuals. There’s a lot to consider before hopping aboard the supplement train, though that isn’t to discourage you from giving them a try if you feel like they might be helpful.
The Bedtime Burn supplements from Dr. Emil Nutrition offer a great starting point for anyone experiencing sleep difficulties who wants to make a positive change. Calm mind and body with these supplements and get the rest you deserve!
Better Days Are Ahead When Your Prioritize Your Bedtime and Get Better Sleep
After reading this article, I hope you realize exactly how fundamental a good bedtime routine is to leading a healthy life. You can’t expect to have a great tomorrow if you don’t set yourself up for success the night before, which is why it’s important you take the time to wind down and destress so you’re mentally and physically prepared for sleep.
Many factors contribute to your well-being and, in order to sustain good health, it’s vital you pay attention to them all and treat them with care. Better sleep will come with time as long as you promote healthy behaviors!