Best Nightly Routines For Better Sleep
Sleep. When we are young, we fight the need for sleep constantly, hating even the thought of naps and early bedtimes. As adults though, we crave sleep, but never have the time for it. Our lives are crammed with long to-do lists that never seem to get shorter and even when we try to get a good night sleep, worry and stress come to call in the middle of the night. It can seem like a constant battle to get the recommended amount of sleep each night, but it is important that you do so. Lack of sleep has been linked to increased risk for several diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and falling asleep at the wheel of the car is one of the highest causes of accidents.
Try changing your nightly routine slowly with some of these tips and you will be on the road to better zzz’s. While you probably feel the need to make sure the house is tidy and all the laundry is folded neatly and put away before you let yourself sit down, what you need more is some downtime before bed. Even if you have a big work deadline looming and you are working after hours, you shouldn’t work all the way up until you collapse on the bed in exhaustion.
By setting up a routine that you follow every night where you relax and read a book or take a long bath, away from the glare of electronics, you are allowing your body to release stress and prepare for sleep. You should relax at least 30 to 60 minutes before climbing into bed. The more you follow your new routine, the more you will condition your body and your mind to know when it is time for some shut eye.
Here are 9 nightly routines for better sleep:
Ban electronics from bedroom
This is probably one of the hardest for people to stick to. We are all so tethered to our electronics with our cellphones and social media, especially if you are on them for work as well as fun. Even if it is a part of your livelihood to stay connected 24/7, it is better for your health if you set aside time each day away from electronics. Not only will it help you sleep better, your fingers will thank you for the break. Carpal tunnel syndrome is becoming more common with everyone constantly on electronics.
Do some relaxation exercises
Stress and anxiety are probably the biggest reasons people have trouble falling asleep at night. And while not all worries can be easily resolved, practices like yoga, meditation and mindfulness can help you manage them better and keep them in perspective.
Read before bed
It is recommended that you keep your bed just for sleep and sex, but many of us love to snuggle in bed with a good book before falling asleep. If it works for you to fall asleep in bed while reading then enjoy! If you tend to want to read just one more page which eventually leads you to finishing the book all in one night, then you probably want to read on the couch downstairs and come to bed when you start to feel sleepy.
Listen to music
One exception from the electronic ban could be music. Whether it is a clock radio or a stereo, if music soothes you and helps shut your brain off, then there is nothing wrong with listening to music to fall asleep. It can be just as effective as the lullabies parents play for their babies at night. One caveat is to not use headphones. You do not want music pumping into your ear all night long. Try a CD on the stereo instead that will eventually shut off. Having music play all night could potentially wake you up mid sleep cycle so figure out what works best for you.
No caffeine and alcohol
Drinking caffeine or alcohol right before bed can interfere with your body’s ability to relax. Everyone is a little different, but try to make your last cup of coffee or glass of wine a few hours before you are ready to head to bed. A cup of tea or a warm glass of milk though are good ideas if you are looking for something to drink before calling it a night.
Prepare for the next day
Prepare. Prepare. Prepare. A lot of our nighttime worrying stems from all the things we have to remember to do in the morning. Be kind to yourself and prepare your schedule for the day the night before so you know exactly what you need to do and when. It is also a good idea to have your clothes all ironed and set out and your lunch made so you have less running around to do when you first wake up. Incorporating these things into your nightly routine will help you get a better sleep.
Exercise not only helps you maintain a healthy bodyweight, it keeps your muscles toned and helps battle stress and anxiety. If you are all knotted up over the stresses in your life, going for a run or a walk or heading out to the gym might actually help you sleep better at night. This is especially crucial if you sit in front of a computer all day long. Both your body and your mind will thank you if start making exercise a priority.
Set a sleep schedule
Our bodies can be conditioned to go to sleep and wake up at a set time. Stay tuned to your body for a few days and try to track the times your body naturally starts to feel sleepy and when your body naturally wakes up even without an alarm clock. When our sleep patterns are erratic, our bodies don’t know which way is up. Even if you like to sleep in longer on the weekends, it is a better idea to stick to the same sleep schedule all week long. If you have to be up by 6 am during the week, but sleep in until noon on the weekends, your body will be constantly adjusting. A consistent nightly routines for better sleep are always more effective.
Evaluate your mattress
Mattresses usually only last for up to 10 years so if you find that your bed is just not comfortable anymore, it might be time to replace your mattresses. Comfy pillows and an uncluttered, inviting bedroom can also set the mood for a good night’s sleep.
Hopefully these nightly routines for better sleep will be just what you need. However, if you are still having trouble falling asleep, get out of bed and do something else for a little while until you start to feel sleepy. If you stay in bed, you are just going to toss and turn and you want to avoid that at all costs. Insomnia can be a serious issue so if after trying a new bedtime routine, you still are not getting enough sleep, you should consult a physician for possible medical reasons that could be preventing you from getting a better night sleep.