Many people may think that getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night is enough to wake up truly refreshed. However, some are actually left wondering why they still feel groggy and lethargic despite sleeping the right amount.
Like most things, quality is actually more important than quantity when it comes to having a good night’s sleep.
In this post, we’ll discuss why night routines are essential if you wish to sleep with sweet dreams. You’ll also learn some tips that can help you establish a routine that works well for you.
Why Healthy Sleep Habits Are Important
The fast-paced lifestyle of the modern world has gotten everyone chasing after more sleep. Unfortunately, this has led to situations where people have to deal with multiple things at a time.
As a result, the various stressors that you face can make it doubly difficult to head to dreamland — even when you’re incredibly exhausted from the day’s events.
While we may think that we simply go to sleep when our body calls for it, we actually have to plan for it. This allows us to utilize sleep in a way that’s most beneficial for our overall health.
Creating healthy sleep habitsis vital for 2 primary reasons. These are:
- A night routine helps you relax before bedtime. A good amount of relaxation is key to preventing various sleep and behavioral issues.
- Nightly consistency, even during weekends, ensures that your body clock is working as intended. This allows you to easily follow through with your morning and evening routines.
Thus, if you’ve been stressed out about your sleeplessness, a sleep routine may be able to solve the issue once and for all.
How Long Should You Spend on Your Night Routine?
If you’re going to build a new night routine, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t rush into it. After all, it’s a dedicated time to help your mind and body relax.
That said, allotting 30 minutes to 1 hour for it should do the trick. This should give you enough time to go through the motions as patiently as possible.
Just like most fitness programs, a night routine is meant to be followed consistently in order to be effective. This will prime your body clock to recognize when is it night time, and therefore time to sleep.
6 Night Routine Tips to Sleep More Soundly
There are many factors that can prevent you from sleeping soundly at night. Examples include physical, mental, and emotional stress, anxiety, illnesses, or even medications.
Sometimes, it’s not exactly possible to control the sources of stress and anxiety. Health issues are also another matter that needs its own separate solution.
This is why we’re encouraging you to focus on what you can control, such as your sleep routine.
If you’re tired of not getting the sleep you deserve, listed below are 6 tips that can completely change your sleep experiences:
1. Set an Alarm for Winding Down
While alarms are generally associated with waking up, you can also use it to signify that it’s time to start doing your night routine.
As mentioned earlier, night routines are all about consistency. Set a specific time each night and make sure that you follow it daily.
Remember, your night alarm serves as a hard stop for any activity that doesn’t belong to your night routine. This means that you should be done with all your day’s responsibilities by the time your night alarm goes off.
If, by any chance, you haven’t finished what you’re supposed to do, you should leave it be and go back to it tomorrow, instead.
2. Limit Use of Electronic Devices
As mentioned in #1, the night alarm is a hard stop for all activities that are not sleep-related. This includes your being on your very stimulating electronic devices.
Studies show that the blue light from devices like computers, smartphones, and TVs can stimulate your body clock and decrease melatonin levels.
Melatonin is a hormone that’s secreted by the pineal gland. Its role is to keep your body clock consistent by sending signals for waking up and sleeping.
When you have too much blue light exposure, you’re more likely to stay awake even if it’s way past your bedtime. Experts suggest that you put away your electronic devices 30 to 45 minutes before your desired sleeping time.
3. Avoid Eating So Close to Bedtime
Make sure that you don’t stuff yourself full before going to bed. If you plan to eat dinner, keep your meals as light as possible. Additionally, it’s recommended to get it done at least 2 hours before your sleep time.
In the same vein, it’s also not recommended to go to sleep hungry. If you’re used to fasting, that’s great. However, intense feelings of hunger can distract you and keep you awake.
Additionally, Watch What You Eat!
Of course, you shouldn’t only take note of when you eat, but you must also consider what you eat.
If you wish to increase your melatonin levels at night, you can try eating melatonin-boosting food items like yogurt or oatmeal.
Additionally, it’s best to avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine when it’s nearing your bedtime. Caffeine and nicotine are very good at keeping you awake, and it can take a while before they wear off.
Alcohol, meanwhile, can induce sleepiness, but it can lower melatonin levels. Thus, it can mess with your sleep later on.
4. Engage in a Mind Dump Exercise
One of the main reasons why many people feel anxious at night is because they’re thinking of all the things that they need to do tomorrow.
Of course, your personal problems may also be taking up some precious mental space in your head.
To eliminate what’s cluttering your mind, journaling is a great way to dump onto paper whatever’s going on in your mind.
For instance, if you’re worried about tomorrow, writing a short to-do list at night can take your mind off of it. That’s because you’re already mentally sorting how the next day is going to look like.
It’s best to limit your to-do list to your 5 must-do’s that are non-negotiable. This will not only help you stay focused with your priorities, but it also limits what you really need to worry about.
The same thing goes for problems that are currently bothering you. Writing them down allows you to process them so that you can sleep with a lighter mental load later.
5. Make Your Sleep Environment Relaxing
It goes without saying that a relaxing environment is incredibly inviting for sleep. Thus, try to make your bedroom as ideal for sleeping as possible. Just being in it must serve as a cue that it’s already time to sleep.
A sleep-friendly environment is dark, cool, and silent. If you prefer listening to relaxing sounds, you can go for unadulterated nature sounds, ambient meditation music, or colored noises (ex. pink, blue, brown, etc.).
6. Include Physical Activities in Your Daily Routine
It’s already common knowledge that regular exercise can reduce the risk of serious illnesses like diabetes and stroke. Apparently, engaging in physical activities daily can also improve sleep significantly.
Research shows that exercise improves sleep quality by minimizing sleep onset. This refers to the time it takes to get yourself to sleep. Additionally, it decreases the time you spend lying awake and rolling on your bed at night.
And, even though exercise can initially seem energy-draining, it can actually keep you more awake and alert during the day. As a result, you’re more likely to retire early in the evening.
Hence, not only is exercise a great sleep solution, but an overall health improvement aid as well.
Stick to Your Routine Every Night
At this point, it’s really worth reiterating that the mind and body are both big fans of consistency. The more you repeat something, the more you’ll be able to keep your new cues ingrained in your system.
Thus, if you wish to teach your body to sleep at a particular time each night, consider incorporating at least 2 of the tips that we discussed here. If you can do all 6 of them right away, that’s even better!
Ultimately, the night routine that you’ll build for yourself must be relaxing enough to take your mind off all your worries. Besides, you’ll have plenty of time to think about them tomorrow if you still need to.
Follow Your New Night Routine to Wake Up Refreshed!
All types of stress can indeed prevent you from sleeping like you should. Fortunately, a few simple tweaks in your pre-bedtime habits can already reduce nightly restlessness.
The more your body recognizes that it’s time to sleep based on your routines, the easily you’ll fall asleep. Over time, falling asleep will come naturally to you once you’ve set a routine around a certain time.
Applying your new night routine for at least 3 days is usually enough to see a significant difference in sleep quality. You can just imagine how much more your sleep can improve if you stick with it long enough.