Getting a full night of sleep is essential to feeling your best, as it gives your body and mind time to rest and recover from the day. Unfortunately, many people struggle to get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night. One way to help improve the quality of your sleep is to establish a bedtime routine.
This routine may range from a variety of activities, however, there are a few that are proven to improve your sleeping patterns. By consistently following the same steps every night before bed, your body will begin to associate those activities with sleep and help you drift off more easily.
Creating a bedtime routine can help improve sleep quality in several ways. First and foremost, it helps signal to your body that it’s time to start preparing for sleep. This cues your body to start releasing hormones like melatonin, which makes you feel sleepy. Additionally, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day helps to regulate the body’s natural sleep cycle and overall circadian rhythm.
Moreover, a bedtime routine can help reduce stress and anxiety, which can also interfere with sleep. By taking some time to relax before bed, you can clear your mind and feel more relaxed when you turn out the lights. However, it’s not as easy as picking a few activities and calling it a night. 30% of American adults have insomnia, and 10% have it as a chronic condition.
Not only can this lack of sleep make it difficult to function, but it can also lead to health problems such as:
While a routine can’t solve all of these problems, it’s a good place to start. Giving your body consistency can make a big difference in the quality of your sleep — and, in turn, your overall health.
Now that you know how important a bedtime routine is, you may be wondering how to go about creating one. As you begin putting your night-time ritual together, keep the following tips in mind:
Getting into a new routine can take some time, but it’s worth it. Along with these tips, consider the following advice to help you get started.
Both caffeine and alcohol can disrupt sleep and lead to insomnia. Caffeine is a stimulant that makes it more difficult to fall asleep. Therefore, even moderate caffeine intake up to 6 hours before bedtime may have significant sleep-disrupting effects. However, caffeine is not only found in coffee but also in tea, energy drinks, soda, and chocolate.
On the other hand, alcohol may help you fall asleep at first, but it will make it harder to stay asleep. If you consume alcohol before going to bed, you may not sleep deeply or long throughout the night. As alcohol metabolizes, the sedative effect dissipates. This can also lead to frequent trips to the bathroom and disruptive snoring.
To avoid these substances before bedtime, try:
Both caffeine and alcohol can also stain your teeth. So not only are they bad for your sleep, but they’re also bad for your oral health. Therefore, it’s best to avoid them before bedtime and brush well before sleep.
Exercise is an excellent way to improve sleep quality. Research shows that moderate aerobic exercise increases slow-wave sleep. This type of sleep refers to deep sleep in which your brain and body have a chance to recharge. Additionally, exercising is essential in stabilizing your mood, regulating body temperature and hormones, and mind decompression — a vital process that is key in naturally transitioning to sleep.
Exercising too close to bedtime can disrupt sleep by increasing body temperature and adrenaline. However, if you find that you can’t avoid working out at night, it’s okay. Keep in mind that experts recommend avoiding vigorous activity for at least one hour before bedtime.
Pre-bedtime rituals are key in helping you relax and transition to sleep. A bedtime routine can be anything that helps you wind down for the night. It should be something that you enjoy and makes you feel peaceful.
Common pre-bedtime rituals include:
Not everyone enjoys the same activities, so find what works best for you and stick to it.
One of the most important things you can do to create a sleep-friendly environment is to make your bedroom conducive to sleep. This means keeping the room dark, quiet, and cool.
Darkness helps promote melatonin production, which is crucial for regulating sleep. Conversely, even a small amount of light can disrupt melatonin production and make sleeping more difficult.
To keep your bedroom dark, try:
Similarly, environmental noise can decrease slow-wave and REM sleep. So if outside noise is keeping you up at night, try:
Lastly, keeping your room cool helps promote sleep since it lowers your body’s temperature before you fall asleep. During sleep, your core temperature is reduced as a way to store energy. Therefore, sleeping in a cooler environment lowers your body temperature faster, allowing you to fall asleep. To keep your bedroom cool, try:
Creating a sleep-friendly environment is key to falling asleep and staying asleep.
Good oral hygiene is vital for overall health, but it’s also crucial for a good night’s sleep. Oral health conditions like gum disease, tooth decay, and mouth sores can cause sleep disruption.
To practice good oral hygiene:
If you don’t keep up with your oral hygiene, it can lead to more complicated health problems. For instance, tooth decay from sleep apnea can cause sleep disruption and severe sores or gingivitis.
Because of this, it’s important to find a dentist you trust and feel comfortable with. They can help you maintain a good oral hygiene routine and catch any potential problems early on. Additionally, they can help you create a treatment plan that’s easily managed through transparent and accessible dental software and records.
With a healthy smile, you’re more likely to show off your pearly whites — and laugh more. In turn, you’ll reap all the additional health benefits that smiling brings.
It’s best to disconnect from electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime. This is because the blue light emitted from screens suppresses melatonin production, making it more difficult to fall asleep. Additionally, using electronics before has been linked to insomnia, as you’re constantly caught up in the never-ending scroll, making it difficult to fall asleep.
To avoid using electronics before bed, try:
If you must use electronics before bed, adjust the brightness of your screen or turn on night mode to help reduce the amount of blue light exposure.
Creating a bedtime routine is key to getting a good night’s sleep. By following the tips above, you’ll be on your way to getting the shut-eye you need.