Best Bedtime Routine For Better Sleep

bedtime routine
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We give our children bedtime routines to promote healthy sleep and instil some structure into their lives, so why not our own?

A bedtime routine cues your body that it’s time to power down for the night. Patterns like dimming the lights, putting on pyjamas, and reading a few pages from a book help to signal that it’s time to get some good-quality rest.  

With this transition period, you’ll find it much easier to doze off quickly – and even easier to wake up no matter when your alarm’s set. 

How poor sleep affects you

Poor focus, memory, and concentration 

A lack of sleep can disrupt memory and other cognitive functions by slowing signals in the hippocampus. Brain fog is another common side effect of sleep deprivation, making it impossible to get things done.

Brain fog, sleep deprivation.

Caffeine and sugary drink cravings

A lack of sleep stimulates the hunger hormone ghrelin to increase and decrease levels of the appetite-suppressing hormone leptin, making you crave sugary drinks and foods and leading to bad dietary choices. 

More likely to take part in risky behaviour 

Poor sleep affects decision-making by increasing rashness and decreasing self-control. You might drink, gamble, and buy things you wouldn’t otherwise buy. You might also make personal relationship decisions you regret. 

More likely to suffer from colds and infections 

Sleep deprivation lowers your immune system.

People who sleep properly get sick less often, with short sleepers being four times more likely to catch a cold. Studies also show that a lack of sleep affects the immune system and how fast you recover if you do get sick.

Less able to manage stress

Stress is a leading cause of insomnia, a common sleep disorder affecting two-thirds of adults. And here’s the kicker – poor sleep also fuels stress – creating a nasty loop where you sleep less and get more stressed. Nasty stuff. 

Creating a bedtime routine

Set your times

Try scheduling three time periods before bed:

  • One to start getting ready for bed. 
  • One to get into bed.
  • One to turn everything off and close your eyes. 

You want at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night, so the time you close your eyes should give you 30 minutes to nod off. Here’s an example:

  • You need to rake up for 7 am, so you close your eyes at 10:30 – this will give you 8 and a half hours, minus any bathroom trips.

Consistent bedtimes have spiralling effects on sleep behaviour, helping you feel tired at the right time and wake up refreshed. 

Create rituals to build a bedtime routine.

Your routine needs a few rituals to prime your body for bedtime. You could:

  • Take a warm shower. 
  • Read a book for 20 minutes. 
  • Have a cup of warm drink, but avoid caffeine. 
  • Stretch and do some light exercises. 

The best rituals are those that take your mind off daily stresses – we love reading and light exercise to achieve that. 

Turn off that mobile phone. 

Blue light affects sleep.

Smartphones are dreadful for sleep – they stimulate your brain with pleasing content and give you endorphin releases that make you happy. But it’s all a façade – you aren’t satisfied; all you’ve done is feed your brain!

Blue light from smartphones is also a sleep killer because it suppresses the release of the sleep hormone melatonin (without it, you are not nodding off). 

If you must keep it on, set it to silent and commit to not picking it up—even when you’ve got an urge to look something up. 

Summing up 

It’s easy for sleep to slip by the wayside between the 9-to-5 grind, family obligations, and a million other responsibilities. Still, it’s crucial not to underestimate its impact on physical and mental health. 

Follow a bedtime routine, and you’ll wake up refreshed, energised, and focused instead of groggy and tossing your head for the snooze button.

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