A night of refreshing, restful sleep is the best way to begin each morning on a fantastic note. And when you wake up well-rested, it’s easy to be productive throughout the day!
Research has shown that adults need seven to nine hours of sleep for optimum brain function. However, one-third of adults in the United States do not get the required amount of sleep on a regular basis.
Morning routines and caffeine are often hailed as sure-shot mantras for success, and it can be easy to take the benefits of sleep for granted. The truth is, a good night routine is one of the effortless ways of improving your sleep quality and your overall health.
Read on for some pre-bedtime tips and habits to help you sleep better.
Replace Your Bedding
To get a good night’s sleep, your bedroom must be equipped with a comfortable mattress and pillows.
If you’re looking for the best pillowcases, duvet covers, and blankets, Southshore Fine Linens has a wide range of plush luxury bedding and linen products made from high-quality, durable materials. They are crafted to perfection to meet all your sleep preferences and needs, and they will not break the bank!
Take a Warm Bath or Shower
Few things are as effective as a warm, soothing bath to ease your stress and get a full night of restful sleep. Studies have shown that a hot water bath an hour or two before bedtime can significantly reduce the time it takes for you to fall asleep and improve the quality of that sleep.
Maintain a Sleep Schedule
One of the simplest ways to create an effective night routine is sticking to a consistent sleep schedule each night. This may be relatively easier to follow on weekdays—it’s the weekends that can make or break your cycle.
Try your best to establish a fixed time to wind down for the day and fall asleep at the same time each night. Consistency can help ensure a good night’s sleep each time!
Set an Alarm
You likely already have alarms set up for your morning routine. But did you know an evening alarm can boost your productivity as well?
Setting up a fixed bedtime alarm can help you maintain a consistent sleep schedule and tackle revenge bedtime procrastination. This is the tendency to postpone your bedtime for other leisure activities like Netflix, texting, or scrolling through social media.
A nighttime alarm can serve as a signal to tell your brain that it’s time to unplug and begin your bedtime routine. This will help you prioritize your sleep and enjoy your post-work nightly activities in peace!
Take Charge of Your Morning
The thought of hectic mornings can affect your peace of mind at night. To set yourself up for success, be proactive with your daily chores.
Dedicate 15 to 20 minutes every evening to settle everything you need to: decide on the next day’s outfit, empty the dishwasher, and prepare what you need for the next morning so you can begin your day with a pep in your step!
Prepare a To-Do List
The best way to take control of your tomorrow is to prepare a to-do list the previous evening. Writing everything down can prevent the urge to run everything through your mind as you try to fall asleep.
Give yourself the gift of peace of mind in the evening—write everything down and set it aside until you wake up.
Write In a Journal
A journal can serve as a safe space to unburden your mind of the stress and concerns that tend to plague you at night. While it cannot treat chronic stress or anxiety, journaling can significantly help reduce anxious thoughts and promote a sense of calm.
No one type of journal will help you fall asleep at night. You can go with the classic “dear diary” recap of your day or doodle your thoughts and feelings on a blank page.
You can maintain a gratitude journal to record all the highlights of your day and list the things you’re grateful for. Studies have shown that practicing gratitude can improve your overall sense of wellbeing by increasing positive emotions, enhancing mood, and improving overall sleep quality.
Avoid Caffeine Before Bed
Your craving for chocolate and coffee may increase tenfold at night. However, it’s best to stay away from caffeine after four in the afternoon, as its stimulating effects can take hours to wear off.
If you’re used to having tea in the evening, it’s best to switch to herbal or caffeine-free tea to avoid sleeplessness and jitters.
Avoid Alcohol and Nicotine Before Bedtime
Alcohol is supposed to make you drowsy, right? Wrong.
Though alcohol can make you sleepy and weary, once the effects wear off, it can act as a stimulant and prevent restful sleep. It lowers your melatonin levels and delays REM sleep by disrupting your circadian rhythm. If you’re out with your friends at night, try to avoid drinking within three hours of your bedtime.
Nicotine is also a stimulant that increases feelings of arousal and restlessness.
Reduce Screen Time Before Bed
Reducing screen time in the evening is vital for good sleep. No matter how tempting your favorite TV shows are, you must resist binge-watching them at night.
A few seconds of exposure to a blue light-emitting device like a phone or tablet one hour before bed can disturb your circadian rhythm and cause sleeplessness and restlessness. Hence, it’s recommended to shut off screens at least 30 to 45 minutes before sleep.
One of the best ways to wind down at night is by reading a book. Aside from calming your nerves and easing your stress, it’s also a great way to increase your knowledge. If you’re not a fan of reading, try coloring activities or solving a crossword or puzzle books.
Don't go to bed hungry, and avoid eating spicy, fatty, or sugar-packed meals for dinner. They can cause indigestion and discomfort, leading to sleep disruption. Schedule your final meal of the day a few hours before you go to bed and not right before your designated bedtime.
If you experience midnight food cravings, keep some light and healthy snacks ready. Opt for fruit, oatmeal, yogurt, cheese and crackers, or a handful of walnuts. Walnuts contain melatonin—it helps maintain a healthy sleep cycle.
Few things in life are as life-changing and beneficial as meditation. It will help you quiet your mind at night, get a good night’s sleep, and improve your focus and awareness.
Meditation is also great for controlling your anxious thoughts and managing insomnia. Meditating before going to bed can be very beneficial, but you can incorporate this habit at any time of the day.
Listen to Music
Listening to music before going to bed can be therapeutic, and it can help you relax and sleep better. Any type of music can be like a lullaby and stop you from thinking unpleasant thoughts.
Research suggests that music can be an excellent aid for better sleep as it helps improve emotional, physical, and psychological states. Music can reduce stress and release happy hormones, making it easy for your body to relax before sleeping.
Some specific genres like R&B, bossa nova, and jazz are popular as sleep music, but there’s no hard and fast rule on the type of songs you should listen to. Just make sure the music can help you wind down.
Listen to Sleep Noise
Many people find uninterrupted sounds highly therapeutic for sleeping. These low-key sounds help mask unexpected noises that can interrupt sleep. There are several types of colored noises like pink noise, white noise, and brown noise that you can use to improve your nightly routine.
Avoid Strenuous Exercises
High-intensity exercises promote better sleep, but it’s best to save them for mornings or afternoons. Strenuous workouts right before bedtime will increase your heart rate and body temperature, making it hard for you to fall asleep.
Opt for low-intensity exercises like stretching, walking, light yoga, or breathing exercises to relax your body and mind. Wrap it up at least an hour or 90 minutes before bedtime.
The therapeutic benefits of aromatherapy are numerous. Studies have shown that calming fragrances like cedarwood, lavender, chamomile, and jasmine can help promote restful sleep, enhance sleep quality and help fight sleep disorders by lowering heart rate and blood pressure.
Just pour a few drops of your favorite essential oil into a diffuser and let its calming scent fill your room at night.
Prepare Your Bedroom
One of the crucial processes of setting up a nightly routine is transforming your bedroom into a sleep oasis. Make your room as quiet, calm, and dark as possible, and use a thermostat to set your ideal ambient temperature.
A good nighttime routine can significantly improve your sleep quality and set you up for a refreshing morning.
Go easy on yourself when you incorporate new habits into your day, as it can be challenging to stick to them in the beginning. Just don’t give up—once you are consistent with your nightly routine, it can prove to be life-changing.