Who knew sleep could be so complicated? It’s something we’ve done our whole lives, but drifting into Lalaland isn’t always as easy as it sounds, right? And there’s nothing worse than a night of tossing and turning that ultimately leads to grogginess and grump the next day. The key to avoiding it? A consistent nighttime routine. Just like children, adults need to mentally prepare for bedtime with ritualized behaviors. That’s because our sleep system likes predictability and consistency, and these carving out time for a little “me-time” prior to going to bed allow us to calm down, both physically and mentally, and prepare for a deep slumber. Here are seven easy ways to create a sacred bedtime routine that will have you waking up feeling better rested and ready to take on the day.
Create a cozy atmosphere
Make your bedroom as peaceful and inviting as possible. Keep it quiet, cool and dark. If this doesn’t come naturally, look to things like earplugs, noise machines, eye masks and shades to set the perfect ambiance.
Give yourself time to decompress
Many of our days are rushed and we often make the mistake of failing to take time for ourselves. Put work and responsibility aside at a certain hour to do something you enjoy. Perhaps it’s cooking, calling a good friend or reading a book on the couch with a warm cup of tea.
Unplug from technology
On that same note, tune out from all electronics at least 60 minutes before bedtime. Yes, that includes your precious cellphone, too! While we’re often tempted to put on Netflix or scroll through the latest Instagram feed as we doze off, the blue light from these screens can majorly disrupt melatonin rhythm and negatively affect general sleep quality.
Take a warm bath
According to research from Cornell University Medical College, a drop in core body temperature at night can increase the chances of falling asleep. One of the easiest ways to do so is by taking a warm bath 1-2 hours prior. After a quick soak your body will cool down and melatonin levels will rise. Add in a bath soak or fizz for extra relaxation!
Write down reminders for the next day
If you’re the type of person who crawls into bed and immediately starts thinking about allllll of the things you have to accomplish once the sun rises, a simple and effective trick to ease this anxiety is to start writing down a to-do list or little reminders for the next day. Keep a notepad or journal on your nightstand!
Practice a little self-care
An evening hygiene/self-care routine should absolutely be a part of your ritual – even if it’s a really simple one. Perhaps it just involves washing your face, moisturizing, flossing and brushing your teeth. On special occasions perhaps you can splurge with a face masque! There’s no exact science here, just anything that makes you feel rebalanced, centered and of course clean!
Go to bed at the same time every night
Our sleep system revolves around the 24-hour day. For this reason, it’s important to try and stick to a consistent and regular schedule. That goes for the weekends, too! While it may be tempting to stay up later and hit the snooze button as many times as humanely possible, this can be a major cause of sleeplessness and insomnia in the days to come. Set an alarm as a reminder if needed!
Give these your own flair and stick with it for a couple of weeks – remember that it takes 21 days to form a habit. Sweet dreams!