If you have difficulty falling asleep, adjusting your bedtime routines could help you get back on the sleep track. Good quality sleep is essential to maintaining a healthy immune system, mental welling, and physical health. If you have fallen into a bad bedtime routine (which we’re all guilty of), watching Netflix in bed, staying up late playing video games, eating in bed, and not winding down well before sleep, establishing a healthy bedtime routine for adults could restore your sleep patterns and help you gain more daytime energy.
How Your Bedroom Environment Affects Your Sleep
Mattress, Bedding, and Pillows
You could establish the most healthy bedtime routines but if you’re sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress, pancake-flat pillow, and itchy bedding, your bed will be the last place you want to be. A pressure-relieving mattress that supports every muscle, breathable, cooling, and durable provides long-lasting sleep comfort. Good sleep hygiene starts with a pressure-relieving mattress.
Ambiance, Sound, and Lighting
Your circadian rhythm is partly controlled by natural light. If you have bright lights in your bedroom it could trick your brain into thinking it's daytime, the same confusion occurs with the light of electronic devices. Consider switching your light bulbs to a softer ambiance and use bedside lamps instead of the ceiling light. Use a reading lamp or book light when reading in bed, as a dim light will cause eye strain. If your bedroom is placed in a noise-polluted area, noisy neighbors, or busy street below, a white noise machine could drown out any noise and help you sleep better.
The ideal bedroom temperature for good quality sleep is 60–75°F (15–23°C). The temperature of your bedroom could mean the difference between sleeping like a baby or shivering all night. If you’re a hot sleeper, consider upgrading to a breathable mattress. If you’re a cold sleeper, try a hot blanket that goes under your sheet. It warms the bed before you get in for a toasty cozy sleep space.
Bedroom air ventilation is not only good for keeping your mattress fresh, but it also keeps your bedroom and closets fresh too. If you leave your sweaty gym clothes piled up in the corner, don’t change your bedding often enough, or never open a window, your bedroom could be harboring some nasty smells. Get into the healthy habit of opening your bedroom window at the same time every day, preferably after you get up. A burst of fresh air will ventilate the room and clear out any lingering odors.
Are Your Scheduling and Habits Causing Sleep Disturbance?
The average American works almost 9 hours per day, that’s almost 45 hours per week. Technology and finance professionals can work up to 60 hours per week. If you’re working more than 40 hours per week, that leaves little room for your household chores, family time, hobbies, and social life. An imbalance in your work/life schedule can cause you to burn out and bring sleep disorders. To regain a healthy balance take a look at your schedule, can you delegate some responsibilities? Can you ask your teammates for help? Are you bringing work home? Create a space at home to work that is not in your bedroom and never work on your laptop in bed.
If you have sleeping problems exercise is a great way to feel better and help you fall asleep as soon as you get into bed. You don’t need to lift weights at the gym or run hundreds of kilometers. Find an exercise that you enjoy, it can be gentle yoga, walking in the park, aqua aerobics, whatever raises your heart rate and makes you happy. Sports clubs are a great way to meet like-minded people, learn a new sport, and get more active. Exercise is great for the body and mental health.
Exposure to Natural Light
Natural sunlight helps you absorb vitamin D. The sunshine vitamin can reduce bone loss, heart disease, prevent cancer, and help you lose weight. It can ease symptoms of seasonal depression and help you fall asleep quicker. Fluorescent lighting can make some people feel stressed and cause eye strain and headaches. Put some mirrors up by your windows to get additional light bouncing off the walls. Use window blinds instead of curtains, enjoy walks in the daylight as much as you can. If your workplace is devoid of natural light, spend your lunchtime outside for a daily refreshing boost of vitamin D.
Diet, Caffeine, and Alcohol
The basis of how to sleep better is diet and exercise. A diet heavy in processed food, high sugar, high carb, alcohol, and caffeine puts you at risk of health issues. Heart problems, diabetes, and other diseases can lead to sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea. Ask your doctor for a healthy eating plan and to check your vitamin levels for deficiency.
Pre-Bedtime Routines for Better Sleep
Fixed Wake Up Time
Your body loves routine and your body will be grateful for a sleep routine that includes a set wake-up time. Getting up at the same time every day improves sleep and resets your circadian rhythm. As your body becomes accustomed to sleeping and getting up at a regular time, your eating habits will naturally become more predictable. You will feel better and sleep better when your body knows when to expect sleep and food.
Sleep Budgeting, Alarms, and Naps
If your sleep habits include banking sleep at the weekend to use mid-week, unfortunately, this is not a viable option to enjoying good quality sleep. Healthy sleep needs healthy bedtime routines. If you feel sleepy during the day, nap for a maximum of 20 minutes so you don’t suffer insomnia that night. A short nap can boost energy, creativity, and learning abilities.
Adjustment and Weaning
Creating and sticking to a sleep schedule can take some getting used to. It involves many elements, looking at your work schedule, diet, exercise, and adjusting so much in a short space of time can be overwhelming. Start small, if you typically fall asleep with the TV on, limit TV to 1 hour per night and decrease over time. If you typically go to bed very late, give yourself a set bedtime and adjust little by little. Making big sudden big changes will be harder to stick to. Start small and go slow for a better chance of sleep schedule success.
Winding Down and Disconnecting
Winding down from your busy day is an essential component of healthy bedtime routines for adults. A relaxing bedtime routine for 30 to 60 minutes before bed prepares your mind and body for restorative sleep. Listening to music, enjoying a hot bath or shower, reading, doing light yoga, or meditation helps you to release stress and anxiety. Sleep disorders can be greatly alleviated by stress-relieving activities and routines.
Grooming and Bathing
Feeling clean and hopping into a bed that has fresh sheets is relaxing and sleep-inducing. Grooming and bathing are relaxing too and perk us up when feeling down. Enjoy a hot bath, put on some fresh pajamas, and put clean sheets on the bed, for a super fresh sleep space.
Thought Journaling and To-Do Lists
Avoid waking up in the middle of the night in a panic by creating to-do lists and fact checking your schedule to ensure you get the most out of your day. Keeping a diary of daily activities keeps you in control of your time. Journaling at night can help you get better sleep by releasing negative thoughts and emotions. Create a bedtime routine chart that fits your schedule and lifestyle, keep to-do lists and journaling for a sense of control of your time and bring consistency.
A relaxing playlist could prepare you for sleep. To keep electronics out of your bedroom, use a Bluetooth speaker in your bedroom so you’re not distracted by your phone or tablet. There are many free sleep sounds and playlists online. Nature sounds are soothing to a tired mind and body.
Chamomile tea is widely known to be the best sleepytime tea. A warm drink a couple of hours before bed is hydrating and relaxing. Avoid drinking anything right before bed as it could cause you to wake up in the middle of the night for a pee.
Bed for Sleep and Sex Only
Your sleep space is your sanctuary from the world, a place for rest and recuperation. It’s easy to develop bad sleep habits and use the bed as a multi-work/relaxation surface. Keep your bed for sleep and sex only. This will help you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer as your bed will be your trigger for sleep or amorous activity.
How Long Should My Bedtime Routine Be?
A bedtime routine of 30 to 60 minutes is ideal as this gives you plenty of time to wind down well. Incorporating relaxing techniques without electronics or distracting TV can be an adjustment. Find sleep techniques that suit you, if you enjoy reading magazines and not books, put a magazine rack by your bed. If you enjoy exercise before bed, aim for low-impact gentle yoga and meditation. Stick to your sleep schedule and do activities before bed that make you feel sleepy.
Adopting a sleep routine that involves relaxation techniques before bed could alleviate sleeping problems. Sleeping on a pressure-relieving mattress is a good place to start but to take your quality of sleep to the next level, enjoy fresh air and exercise every day, create a schedule that you can stick to and fits your work and lifestyle. Find ways to relieve stress and anxiety as these are major sleep disorder triggers. Good quality sleep is life-changing but it starts with removing bad habits and replacing them with better choices. Start by deciding that you deserve better healthy sleep because you do.