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A Bedtime Routine for Better Sleep
Restful sleep in sufficient quantities is one of the most important keys to caring for your body and achieving good health. Unfortunately, many people are not getting all the hours of sleep they need to be sufficiently well rested.
According to the American Sleep Association, about 10 percent of adults suffer from chronic insomnia, and about 30 percent suffer from occasional short-term problems with insomnia. In Australia, the problem is even worse, with nearly 15 percent of adults suffering from chronic insomnia and nearly 60 percent suffering from one or more sleep disorder symptoms.
Global data on sleep deprivation indicates that many of the world’s citizens are habitually not getting sufficient amounts of sleep.
There isn’t a single solution to the problems of sleep deprivation and insomnia. However, a bedtime routine is one possible way you could improve the situation if you aren’t sleeping well. The following are some ideas for creating and implementing a workable bedtime routine that promotes better sleep:
Prepare for the Day Ahead
Update Your To Do List
Writing a to do list is one of the essential tenets of good time management – but, beyond that, the simple action of writing down your intended future task list can actually help you to get to sleep faster. According to research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, people frequently experience difficulty falling asleep when they worry about incomplete future tasks. The researchers concluded that writing a to-do list right before bed can help you to unburden your mind from this type of worry, which frees you to relax and get to sleep quicker.
Choose Clothes to Wear Tomorrow
Similarly, choosing and preparing tomorrow’s clothing can help to alleviate another potential stressor. If you know your clothing is washed, dried, pressed and hanging in your closet, ready to go, it’s one more thing you can scratch off your list of things to worry about. You might also wish to ensure that your phone, wallet and keys are also together and ready to take with you.
Pack Tomorrow’s Lunch
In the same vein, you can pack tomorrow’s lunch ahead of time. You could make a sandwich, pack a bento box or freeze a homemade meal.However you approach the task of making lunch, the important thing is to scratch this task off your to do list; this will make for a more relaxing morning tomorrow – and give you assurance that could hopefully result in more restful sleep tonight.
Set Your Alarm Clock
Complete the above tasks before you set your alarm clock. Then, after you know that all these things have been taken care of, you’re free to choose the best possible time to awaken. You’ll be empowered with the peace of mind necessary for winding down and sleeping peacefully, right up until the alarm sounds in the morning.
Unwind and Relax
Spend Some Time Reading
There are numerous benefits to reading at bedtime. One study suggests that the simple act of reading can help you relax, de-stress and dissolve tensions in the short space of only six minutes. Furthermore, according to research published in the Journal of Healthcare Communications,cultivating a habit of reading at bedtime can assist your body with regulating its internal clock. After your habit is firmly established, reading will send a signal to your brain that bedtime is near; that cue can help your body to get even deeper into relaxation mode.
Take Care of Personal Hygiene
- Wash your face.
- Brush your teeth.
- Groom your fingernails and toenails.
- Take a soothing bath or shower.
- Comb out your hair.
- Slip into comfortable pajamas that prepare you to sleep restfully.
Banish Blue Light, Bad News, Caffeine and Exercise
Insomnia can have multiple causes, and it’s prudent to avoid all of them right before bedtime.
Avoid Blue Light from Synthetic Sources
According to science, light has the power to reset the human circadian rhythm. Blue light can accomplish this most efficiently by inadvertently tricking the brain into thinking it’s daytime. During daylight hours, blue wavelengths of light from the sun contribute to the blue appearance of the sky. Blue light from television sets, LED light bulbs, computer screens and cell phones can artificially mimic this. It can block melatonin and interfere with your natural sleeping-waking patterns.
This is problematic because research suggests that out-of-balance circadian rhythms appear to play a role in various health problems including not only insomnia, but also diabetes, obesity, and depression.
To avoid insomnia, it’s best to minimize use of blue-light-emitting electronics after sunset and to banish them from the sanctuary of your bedroom all together.
Avoid Worrisome News
While it is never a bad idea to stay informed about current events, the ideal time to do that isn’t immediately prior to getting into bed. Much of the news you see on TV and read about online can have the effect of being stressful and anxiety provoking. It could literally keep you awake at night if you were to allow it to do so. To avoid this, it’s preferable to choose an earlier time in the day to watch or read the news.
Mind Your Exercise Schedule
Exercise is one of the pillars of human health; it is essential – so ideally, you’ll want to be sure of scheduling some exercise each week. Lack of exercise is correlated with insomnia, so your exercise sessions are likely to help you help you avoid sleeplessness at night.
However, it is possible to sabotage your sleep by exercising too close to bedtime. This is because exercise can trigger a release of endorphins that boosts your energy and alertness levels. If you take care of exercising earlier in your day, it can help to promote better sleep at night.
Avoid Late Afternoon Caffeine
Of course, caffeine is a known stimulant. Drinking it in the early evening can result in insomnia later that night. It’s therefore best to limit caffeine consumption to the morning and very early afternoon hours if you partake at all.
Personalize Your Bedtime Routine
You don’t have to do all of the things on the list above to have an effective bedtime routine. You might also want to add some things to this routine that more fully reflect your own preferences and interests. For example, you might wish to add a spiritual component to your routine such as meditation or prayer. If there are any other actions that you personally find relaxing, such as listening to music, practicing aromatherapy or doing deep breathing exercises, it would be beneficial to add them to your routine.
Commit to a set time for beginning your bedtime routine each night. It’s ideal if you sleep and wake at the same time each day. Establishing these habits can help to set you up for maximum success with achieving healthy sleep patterns.
About the Author
Andrej is an entrepreneur, a digital marketer and an avid internet technologist. Throughout his career, Andrej has combined his passion for cutting-edge technology with a keen eye for emerging industry trends to deliver customised marketing solutions to businesses and clients around the globe.
He believes that the key to modern marketing excellence is a constant willingness to learn and adapt to the ever-changing digital world.