Sleep. We all need it and we often see it as the miracle cure for everything. Hangovers, stress, colds, you name it. So why do so many of us slip up when it comes to having a good nighttime routine? These days because we all have busy lives and we’re constantly hooked on social media, often getting a good night’s sleep is fairly low on our list of priorities. However, if it’s the miracle cure for everything, shouldn’t we all be putting a little more thought into our bedtime routine? If you’re struggling to get the balance right, or you simply want to enjoy a better quality snooze, read on for five ways to create the perfect bedtime routine!
Schedule in Sleep
One of the main steps to creating a good nighttime routine is to actually schedule when you’re going to bed. While you don’t want to force sleep when you’re not tired, plan into your day when it’s time to wind down. So many of us don’t prioritise sleep because we’re too busy, but experts advise that prioritising your sleep is the key to getting the adequate amount. We all know that sleep is a time when our bodies repair themselves, which contributes to a healthy immune response and good cognitive functioning, so make sure you catch those Zs if you want to perform at your best!
Create a Comfortable Sleep Space
Your bedroom should be used for the two S’s only: sex and sleep. Which means you need to create a relaxing environment which your brain can associate with sleep. Your bedroom should be an adequate temperature, and free of any distractions like your TV, computer or workspace. Too much light or noise can also be a distraction when it comes to sleep, but of course we all live in different areas where this is variable. If you live in a noisy neighbourhood, consider wearing earplugs, and blackout curtains or blinds are useful if your bedroom tends to let in too much light or there’s a streetlight just outside your window! It’s also a great idea to create a space you love too, so that the thought of a cosy environment gets you in the mood for bedtime. Is there a better feeling than getting into a freshly made bed? We all have different preferences when it comes to this of course, however stores like Soak & Sleep have a wonderful range of bedding, furniture and accessories that will really help to optimise your bedtime routine.
Switch Off to Help Switch Off
In this day and age, we’re all glued to our gadgets. Unfortunately, this isn’t the best idea when it comes to helping us get a good night’s sleep. Mobile phones, tablets and laptops among others are known for giving off blue light, which can trick our bodies into thinking it’s daytime. The easiest way to avoid this? Switch them off at least an hour before bed. If this is a little too dramatic, put your phone on silent at bedtimes and perhaps even leave it in another room. If you really can’t bear to be without your phone, there’s apps that you can download to your phone or computer which will block out blue light. It’s not just the blue light aspect either, we’ve all seen that work email or Facebook notification that could have waited until morning. Instead we’ve either stayed up late to deal with it, or we’ve gone to bed with it on our minds which in turn keeps us awake. Switching off your notifications after a certain time in the evenings is a good way to wind down before bed and will allow you to relax so that you can “switch off” yourself when your head hits the pillow.
Do Something Relaxing
As part of your nighttime routine, incorporate a few tasks that you know will calm you down and prepare your for sleep. Curl up with chamomile tea and a good book, listen to some calming music, or download a meditation app such as Headspace to help you unwind. If you’ve got a lot on your mind or you’re feeling stressed, you could even try journalling to get things off your chest. It doesn’t even need to make sense, a simple “brain dump” on a scrap piece of paper will do just fine. Unfortunately, watching TV before bed isn’t a great idea, no matter how relaxing you find it! It will have the same effect as scrolling through your phone or sitting on your laptop, in that it’ll trick your brain into thinking it’s awake. So as tempting as it is to let that next episode play on Netflix, turn the TV off and grab a book instead!
While caffeine helps many of us to function on a daily basis, drinking it too late in the day can affect the quality of our sleep. If you’re particularly sensitive to caffeine, drinking it from just 3pm can mean it has an impact on your sleep. In this case, it’s a good idea to either switch to decaf drinks in the afternoon, or at the very least in the evening. Herbal teas are a great alternative, especially chamomile tea which has relaxing properties and will help you feel relaxed before bed.