Many people leave the notion of bedtime routines behind once they surpass adolescence. Establishing a bedtime routine may seem like a process that is better suited to the needs of youths. But the truth is that adults can benefit from healthy bedtime routines just as much as children can—if not more so.
Creating a healthy, relaxing bedtime routine for yourself is one of the smartest and most nurturing things you can do for your body and mind. Most adults spend their days in a state of mental and physical overdrive. By establishing a proper routine, you’ll give yourself a chance to slow down, unwind, and refocus your attention on what matters the most to you.
One of the biggest advantages of creating your own bedtime routine is that it’s personalized to you and your specific needs. Many scientific studies have revealed the widespread prevalence of sleep disorders like insomnia. They’ve also linked work and home-related stress as some of the primary drivers of sleep anxiety. Establishing a nightly routine will help to address your stress levels by relaxing your body and your mind and preparing you for a great night’s sleep.
Here are 5 essential bedtime routines that you should add to your nighttime preparations:
1. Set a Bedtime Preparation Alarm
Consistency is the key to success, particularly when you are trying to establish a new routine or habit. You can help to establish a regular bedtime routine by starting it at the same time every night.
Set a notification or alarm on your smartphone to remind you of your routine at a set time, from Monday to Sunday. This alarm will act as a signal that it’s time for you to unplug from your blue light-emitting devices and start winding down for the night.
2. Dim Your Lights and Lower Your Thermostat
Our circadian rhythms regulate our core body temperature, which usually runs at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Interestingly, humans tend to sleep better in rooms at significantly lower temperatures than their own body temperatures. Lowering your thermostat to 65 degrees may help to induce sleepiness and promote longer, more restful sleep cycles.
One of the core pillars of the Wim Hof Method is cold therapy. Proper exposure to the cold can offer many health benefits, including the build-up of brown adipose tissue and fat loss, reduced inflammation levels, a strong immune system, more balanced hormone levels, and improved sleep quality. Exposure to cool temperatures also assists your brain in producing feel-good endorphins that naturally elevate your mood.
It’s important to dim bright lights or turn them off altogether while you’re preparing for bed. Exposure to blue light from smart devices, and any other bright lights will affect your circadian rhythm and keep you awake for longer. Your sleeping space should be cool, comfortable, and dark to help prime your circadian rhythms for sleep.
3. Limit Blue Light Exposure Before Bed
The screens of our televisions, smartphones, tablets, laptops and computers emit powerful blue light that stimulates your body’s circadian rhythms. Exposure to blue light keeps you awake long after it’s time to settle in for the night by tricking your brain and body into believing that it’s still daytime.
Various sleep studies have documented that exposure to high levels of light at night can lower our melatonin levels, delaying our REM sleep cycles and promoting restlessness. We recommend turning off all screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime, but preferably 45 minutes to an hour before sleep.
4. Enjoy a Relaxing Warm Drink
Warm drinks are soothing and comforting, and have the power to promote better sleep. Try a drink with notable sleep-promoting benefits, such as chamomile tea, which has been used for centuries to alleviate insomnia and sleep issues.
Many people swear by turmeric to promote better sleep at night. This curcumin-packed superfood reduces inflammation and pain in the body while supplying it with the antioxidants it needs to fight free radicals and regenerate tissues overnight. Add the spice to a delicious bedtime drink like golden milk, and remember to use a low-carbohydrate sweetener in place of sugar so you don’t receive an unwanted energy boost!
5. Take The Time To Unwind
Everyone’s work-life balance is different, but even if you have a frenetic lifestyle, getting a good night’s sleep regularly is essential to your wellbeing. Following a healthy bedtime routine should form part of your schedule, just as much as eating and exercise should.
According to sleep specialists, your bedtime routine should last between 30 minutes and one hour. This time frame will give you enough time to relax, unwind, and prepare for bed without feeling rushed or stressed. Plus, it will give you plenty of time to practice proven routines like the Wim Hof Method to ensure that you enjoy the highest possible quality of sleep.
Prioritize being consistent with your routine and you will effectively train your body to anticipate sleep at the same time every night.