Do you have a bedtime routine? Many of us have not had a set bedtime, let alone a routine since we’ve made it out of middle school. We’ve even passed on this habit to our kids, being less structured and more flexible with when and how they go to sleep.
It may be time to revisit going to bed at a regular time and developing a routine around it. This is true if you find that you have a hard time getting a full night’s sleep (7 to 9 hours), or if you feel that you don’t get enough quality sleep.
Sleeping through the night in a way that leaves you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated is what I would consider quality sleep. If you have a hard time getting up in the morning, or often wish for an afternoon nap, you could enjoy a bedtime routine and the improvement in your sleep quality that it brings.
A bedtime routine will ensure that you have plenty of time to sleep. When you attempt to go to bed by 10 PM for example, you won’t be tempted to stay up late to finish your book or watch another movie. Getting into this habit isn’t always easy, but once you’ve established it, it becomes easier to resist the temptation to stay up late.
Our bodies thrive on routine.
We get hungry around lunchtime and we crave coffee at 2 PM. Why should it be any different with sleep? If we stick to the same bedtime night after night, and wake up at the same time each morning, falling asleep, staying asleep, and getting up in the morning become easier.
Most of us already have a wake-up routine in the morning during the work week. That’s an impressive start. Adding in a regular bedtime shouldn’t be too hard and it will help you to get out of bed in the morning easier. Set a time and make yourself stick to it. Now comes the hard part.
Creating and Sticking to your bedtime routine.
You have to do your best to stick to the same routine on the weekend. Resist the temptation to stay up late and sleep in on Saturday and Sunday. You’ll mess up the natural waking and sleeping rhythm you’re getting yourself into.
Next, let’s talk about creating an entire bedtime routine around the regular bedtime. With little children this usually involves calming down, changing into PJs, brushing teeth, and reading a bedtime story. For adults, it’s not all that different. Stay off the computer, tablet, TV and even smart phone for the hour before bedtime. Instead, find something calming and relaxing to do. You could take a warm shower or sip a hot cup of tea while reading a book. Do something that relaxes you and helps you wind down. Change into PJs and keep your bedroom a distraction free zone that’s meant for sleeping. Brush your teeth, turn down the lights, and read a few pages or listen to some soothing music or an audio book before turning everything off and going to sleep.
By sticking to a simple and fairly short routine like this, you’re signaling your body that it’s time to go to sleep. After a few weeks of sticking to this new bedtime habit, you’ll find it easier and quicker to fall asleep. Your overall quality of sleep will improve as well as your body gets used to this rhythm. Try it and see if you can’t improve your quality and quantity of sleep. A bedtime routine can, also, improve your quality of life.
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