Are you tired of, well ... feeling tired all the time? If you answered yes, you might need to revamp your nightly relaxation routine. The way you unwind after a long day directly impacts how well you sleep. Get a good night's rest on a consistent basis and you'll feel much healthier and more energized during the day.
Your nightly routine will be one of personal preference, but there are some proven methods of sleep and relaxation you should consider. This guide will outline six nighttime routine tips and tricks so that getting a great night's sleep becomes a more regular occurrence.
1. Level up your sleepwear.
Many people don't give very much thought to their sleepwear when planning their evening routine. However, upgrading your sleep attire is one of the best things you can do. After all, the better you feel, the better you'll sleep. Just the routine of dressing for bed sends an unspoken signal to your body that the time to relax is at hand.
The preferred material of the sharp-dressed sleeper is silk. The soft, sleek feel of silk pajamas lulls you into a state of relaxation the moment you slip them on. Dressed appropriately for slumber, easing into a good night's sleep should be easier and feel more natural than ever.
2. Put your phone to sleep, too.
It can be difficult to put the smartphone down, even at night time just before bed. We can easily fool ourselves into thinking that there's nothing more relaxing than some phone time. We often check for any final messages and scroll through news feeds or social media right before getting into bed.
However, staring at your smartphone screen right before trying to fall asleep is one of the worst things you can do. Electronic devices emit blue light. This spectrum of light triggers the human brain into full alertness, even after you've settled into bed after a relaxing nighttime routine. You can ruin an entire evening's worth of sleep preparation by turning on your smartphone once the lights are off.
Keeping your smartphone out of arm's reach from your bed is the single best way to avoid the temptation of using it at night. Set an alarm and plug it in on the other side of the room where you'll be woken up by your tone of choice. You'll fall asleep much more quickly without blue light as a disruption.
3. Make a plan for tomorrow.
How many times have you been lying in bed when suddenly you remember something important about the day to come? Jumping out of bed to jot down a reminder or send an email will disrupt your nightly routine, no matter how restful it was. To prevent last-minute disruptions such as these, hold a daily planning session at least an hour before bedtime.
During these sessions, review your plan for just the following day. Double-check all of your commitments, such as project deadlines, meetings, random errands, and events. Doing this will give you a chance to clear everything out of your head. Make sure no detail is left out, or it might be recalled to memory just as you're on the edge of sleep.
Your nightly routine is also a good time to make a journal entry if you prefer. Journaling is a good way to improve your memory or simply compartmentalize the different events of the day. If thinking about the day keeps you awake longer than you'd like, give journaling a try.
4. Pay attention to what you eat and drink.
If you eat too much right before bed, you run the risk of experiencing indigestion and acid reflux throughout the night. Trying to relax and fall asleep is more difficult when your body is simultaneously engaged in the digestive process. It's best to plan your final meal at least a couple of hours before your nightly routine really gets started.
On the other hand, going to bed on an empty stomach can also make sleep difficult. A grumbling tummy can be uncomfortable. It might also fill your head with thoughts of snacks and treats rather than the sheep you should be counting. If you're feeling famished before bed, stick to a light, healthy snack. This will fill you up just enough to wind down easily without incident.
What you drink before bed is also important. Hydration is key to a good night's sleep, but it's better to drink water throughout the day than right before bed. Otherwise, you'll be up throughout the night for frequent bathroom breaks. Stay away from late-night caffeine and alcohol as well, as both of these interfere with REM sleep.
5. Ease into bedtime.
Your transition from daytime mode to night mode should be as smooth as possible. Abruptly shifting into your nighttime routine isn't a particularly effective method. Taking steps that ease your mind and body toward sleep are likely to generate more consistent results.
For starters, turning off the lights as it gets later in the evening helps your brain transition into sleep mode. If you keep all the lights on right before bed, your body won't settle down as easily. Some sleep experts have even recommended installing automatic dimmer switches in the home to create an artificial sunset indoors.
Steering clear of rigorous activity such as heavy exercise will also help you ease into a nighttime routine. Unwind at night with a book or a bath instead. Even taking 10 minutes to meditate will do you a lot of good. For the workaholics, try to steer clear of stressful projects in the late evening, as you'll have a harder time relaxing.
6. Maintain consistency.
No matter which combination of these tips you select, try to implement them consistently. When you stick with the same routine every night, your brain has an easier time switching into night mode. Each part of your routine will act as a trigger that will move you toward sleep.
An important part of consistency is doing your best to tuck yourself in at the same time every night. Once you get into a rhythm, sleep will come more naturally. Your brain will recognize when it's time to go to sleep and when it's time to wake up. This will help you tackle those pesky mornings when all you want to do is snooze your alarm again and again.
Using the tips outlined above, start building and tweaking your ideal nightly routine today. Then stick to it. It may take a little time, but soon enough you'll have developed the healthiest sleep routine you've ever had. Your waking hours will reap the rewards.