Are you struggling to sleep? Going to bed at irregular times and finding yourself awake, no matter how tired you are?
It’s time to take charge. Having a bedtime isn’t a juvenile decision – in fact, a regular routine can eliminate unnecessary stress and help your mind relax after every day.
Read on to discover both why you should create a bedtime routine, and how to do it...
What is a bedtime routine?
Simply put, a bedtime routine is a series of calming actions you run through every evening, usually around an hour before you go to sleep. The actions themselves can be anything from having a hot bath to journaling or cosying up with a good book – it's up to you!
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that anyone over 18 years old should be sleeping between 7-9 hours per night – but there is far more to a good night’s sleep than just the hours you track.
Why are bedtime routines important?
Whatever actions you choose, your brain will begin to associate them with sleep over time, essentially training you to feel more relaxed as you continue to do them.
A bedtime routine is also a great way to rid your mind of any stress from the previous day before you go to sleep – whether you do this by setting out tomorrow’s clothes in advance or preparing breakfast, your mind has one less thing to be stressing over as you fall asleep.
Main benefits to having a bedtime routine in place
There are a number of reasons as to why you should introduce a bedtime routine into your lifestyle – here are just a few to consider...
- Overall stress can be reduced
- If you suffer from insomnia, a bedtime routine may be the solution to help you relax
- Relaxation sessions have shown to increase your body’s grey cells – the thinking part of the brain.
How do I implement a routine when the seasons and the clocks change?
It’s no secret that the clocks changing can affect many of us. Shorter hours of daylight, going to work and coming home in the dark, and hardly seeing sunlight can take a real toll - especially for those who suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
As Sleep.8’s Sleep Expert Ana Brito explains: "Light has a great impact on our sleep. In fact, our body clock is regulated by light exposure, directly influencing the production of our sleep hormone, melatonin!
With autumn and winter coming up, our daytime light exposure gets less and less - and with that come challenges for our sleep, energy levels, and alertness. Light therapy can be extremely useful during this period, especially for shift workers or those suffering from sleep disorders such as insomnia and circadian rhythm disorder.
Building a bedtime routine when you have dependents
As a parent, building a bedtime routine for yourself may be easier said than done. However, there are some simple tricks to gently incorporate a routine...
Depending on what time your little one goes to bed, why not consider creating a joint routine? Whether this is no electronic devices an hour before bed, reading together, or simply setting a time for you both to switch off, creating a joint routine doesn’t just give you both time to relax, but be together whilst doing so. A bedtime routine has shown to be an important aspect of child development, so ensuring this is set should be a key goal.
If your child goes to bed too early for a routine to take place, it might be best to save it for after you’ve tucked them in. This way you can enjoy time that is fully yours, without any distractions.
What’s an ideal bedtime routine for adults?
So, how do you create an ideal bedtime routine? Here are our suggestions:
- Choose a wind-down time that you can stick to. Saying you’ll go to bed at 9pm every day might feel like the best option, but will you really sleep then? Consider picking a time just before you normally sleep to begin your relaxation ritual that you can viably stick to at least 5 out of 7 days per week.
- You have probably been told it time and time again - but turn off all electronic screens an hour before bed. Using your phone before bed isn’t just going to keep you awake for longer but has also shown to have several effects on your wellbeing in the long run.
- A staple for many – relax and enjoy a warm drink. It is recommended you avoid caffeine, but drinks such as decaf or herbal tea, warm milk (or milk alternatives!), or even lemon and honey can be a great option to help you unwind.
- Lower the lights. Harsh lighting before bed is never ideal, and blue light (from technology specifically) should be avoided. We recommend lowering the lights and listening to calming music – in fact, Spotify has just the playlist to pop on in the background.
- As we touched on in a previous blog, gadgets are also a great way to relax in the comfort of your own home. The Sleep.8 Head Massager Power Mood is a perfect example of this - a head massage tool that can help to improve blood circulation and work against fatigue and the afternoon slump. Essential oils such as lavender, ylang ylang or chamomile are also natural sleep aids to help you rest while using gadgets such as these.
Relaxation is just a bedtime routine away!
Ready to give relaxation a go? Whether you incorporate all these options or just one or two, creating a routine can drastically improve your sleep schedule and hopefully improve the quality of the sleep you get, too.
We’ll leave you with one final piece of advice – if all else fails, letting your mind wander as you fall asleep naturally is a simple way to unpack any stresses and prepare you for the day ahead of you. A great mattress also never hurt!
If you have any queries or would like to get in touch with our Sleep.8 sleep experts, we’re always here to help and offer any advice. Happy resting!