Maybe we think bedtime routines are for children or something we followed when we were young. A bedtime for a 50 year old?....hmmm haven’t thought much about this idea? Well, I can assure you, it’s important and incredibly helpful for our wellbeing’s to get a restful sleep each night. And as you know, a restful sleep carries you into a productive and motivated state to tackle and enjoy the day ahead. Without proper, deep sleep, our daily tasks and routines become compromised as we do not have enough energy to dedicate to the activities of the day. Well, I have some excellent news! We can change this! You can change this!
With a bedtime routine!
Over the years I have found the tips below incredibly life-changing when it comes to getting a better night’s sleep.
Set a timer
Putting a timer on your phone to go off the same time every night is the first step to ensuring you follow a routine. For me, I try to be asleep by 10 pm, 11pm at the latest every night. While your timing may be different than mine, adopt the appropriate times to fit your needs. How do I make this happen?
I set 2 timers. I like one to go off at 8 pm and one to go off at 9pm. At 8, I know I have an hour left before I turn all technology off by 9 pm. If you have young children, try to have them asleep by 8 which gives you an hour to wrap up emails, finish up anything online you need to do or prepare for the next day by doing things around the house.
Turn off all technology 1-2 hours before bed
At 9 pm, after I have followed up on emails. I turn off all technology. I encourage you to pull out a book, meditate, talk with your spouse, journal, etc. Just stay off any screens. The blue light from devices inhibits the production of melatonin, which is what helps us to naturally fall asleep each night. It’s a hormone made by the pineal gland, which is a pea-sized gland located just above the middle of your brain. Melatonin production actually happens 2-3 hours before bed which is why staying off devices is so important for your natural cycle!
Refrain from eating too close to bedtime
Aim to eat your last snack or meal 2 hours before your ideal bedtime. This allows your body to properly digest before trying to sleep. You want your body to start to prepare for sleep, not digest food, as this can mess with the body’s natural cycles and processes. Eating before bed can cause or further perpetuate digestive issues.
If you do want an evening snack, choose a smart option. Some healthy ideas include foods such as fruit, a handful of nuts (almonds are best), homemade popcorn, etc. Refrain from reaching for anything processed, high in sugar or anything too dense. Think lite and easy to digest. Further, having a cup of warm tea is a wonderful way to end the evening. Having an herbal tea provides soothing benefits for the tummy and induces relaxation. Chamomile or peppermint tea are my go-tos!
Create a calming environment
If you want to watch TV or engage in some activity on the computer before bed, do that in a living room or someplace other than the bedroom. When you go to bed, keep it tech free, leaving your devices in another room. That way when you head to your bedroom, your mind knows it’s time to calm down, no tech included. By keeping them out of the bedroom, it takes away the ease of reaching for the phone before bed or when you wake up in the mornings to check email. If you do feel the need to keep tech in the room, move them to the other side of the room, making it harder for them to be reached.
Additionally, in creating a calm environment, keep the lights low in the room, maybe sip on some herbal tea and cozy up with a good read. If you feel your mind is still spinning with thoughts or some pressing ideas you know will be weighing on you the next day, try meditating and doing some deep breathing exercises, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Breathing has tremendous, proven benefits that lead to calming the mind.
Further, I like to keep a notebook by my bed for any last minute thoughts I have. By writing them down, they are out of my head allowing for a more peaceful, deeper sleep. I can look at the notes in the morning and carry on with my day. No need to obsess or worry about them before bed.
Set a consistent wake up time
While this concept isn’t necessarily part of a bedtime routine, waking up the same time every day will actually help you keep a consistent bedtime, allowing you to fall asleep more easily at night. Keeping your body on a schedule is so beneficial for staying healthy and happy. Not to mention well-rested, too!
A night time ritual can have major benefits, allowing you to reap the rewards from feeling your best! I encourage you to think about some ways you can change or modify any current routines, implement new ideas mentioned here and get rid of any habits that may not be serving you well when it comes to getting a good night’s rest. We often neglect how important sleep really is, but I encourage you to make it a priority. Try a new routine for a week and see how you feel!
“The minute anyone’s getting anxious I say, ‘You much eat and you must sleep.’ They’re the two vital elements for a healthy life.”- Francesca Annis