All of us would have something that we love to do before hitting the bed at night. This could be drinking a glass of water or reading a book. We may do these things without realizing that these little things are part of our bedtime routine. Bedtime routines are not just for kids. In fact, a good and consistent bedtime routine helps adults achieve quality sleep every night.
If you are wondering how to start your pre-bedtime routine, these tips will come to your aid:
1. Set a time for bed
A set time for sleep enables us to maintain a consistent bedtime routine. It’s important to consider the sunlight outside to set a proper bedtime in accordance with the body’s circadian rhythm. Following a scheduled time to go bed helps in preparing our body to go to sleep and therefore, we are more likely to fall asleep faster.
2. Avoid using electronic devices before sleep
This is common advice when it comes to archiving restful sleep at night. When we use devices before bedtime, the blue light emitted from the screen suppresses melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone, making it hard for us to sleep. This blue light can hence be quite damaging to our sleep.
Therefore, it is advised to turn off your devices at least 1-2 hours before your bedtime routine to ensure deep slumber. Cutting on screen time before bed helps our mind and body to relax and in turn, induce sound sleep.
3. A healthy snack before bed
Avoid heavy meals before going to sleep as it may lead to indigestion, acid influx, and disturb your sleep. This digestion process at night can make you stay awake. In the same way, going to bed feeling hungry can also keep you awake.
It is suggested that you avoid large meals 2 hours before your bedtime. If you are feeling peckish, try to have a light snack or bedtime tea to fill your stomach. You have a warm cup of milk, an apple, peanut butter, or cheese, but try to avoid sugary treats as they can make you stay awake at the night.
4. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine
Alcohol may make you feel sleepy initially but in reality, it affects your quality of sleep. Once the effect of alcohol wears off, the alcohol in your system makes your sleep fragmented. Nicotine and caffeine are stimulants that will give you a hard time falling asleep. It’s best to have caffeinated drinks in the morning or evening and avoid at least 4 hours before bedtime. In order to follow a good sleep routine, avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine before hitting the bed.
5. Lower the room temperature
Ambient or chilly temperatures preferably make you sleepy easily. The temperature should be cool for you to sleep well and not cold. In order to lower the temperature while sleeping, choose bedding and a mattress that does not trap too much heat. Look for lighter fabrics, especially for the summer season.
6. Warm or cold showers
Warm or cold shower before sleep helps in relaxing the body. A shower helps in lower the body temperature and prepares it for sleep. A relaxing bath 1-2 hours before going to bed leads to better sleep.
7. Follow a relaxing ritual
Having a relaxing evening ritual usually relaxes and prepares us for a sound sleep at night. Do something calming to relax your mind – yoga, reading, listening to music, and spending time with family.
Source: Bedtime Routines for Adults, April 29, 2022, Sleep Foundation
7 Essential Elements of a Great Bedtime Routine, November 10, 2020, sleep.com