How To Set Up A Before Bedtime Routine To Ensure You Get A Well-Rested Sleep
by Beatrix Kang |
Sleep is a process that we all need to have to have a better life. However, rest has become more of a luxury as more anxieties of modern life, and sleep is not as easy as it sounds. Sleep is one of those healthy habits where you need discipline and time to fix and is not impossible with modern technology and medication. Here are a few steps to achieve a more well-rested sleep at night.
1. Lower the lights about 2 hours before bedtime
Our body is pretty sensitive to light, which plays a significant role in the production of melatonin. That is the hormone that signals and induces sleep in your body. Due to this, exposing yourself to a lot of bright lights before bedtime can reduce melatonin production, which makes it harder for your body to prepare for sleep.
Therefore, about one or half an hour before you are about to go to bed, dim the lights if you have a light dimmer, or switch on only certain lights that are warm toned instead of cool-toned. Doing these things allows you to sleep better because warm-toned colours emulate sunsets, which is the signal for rest, in ancient times, that our biological clock recognises.
If you are used to sleeping in the dark, switch off the lights and (if possible) invest in blackout curtains or a sleep mask when you sleep; if you are used to having lights on, try to keep it as dim as possible.
2. Drink something hot or take a warm shower
Heat allows our bodies to relax in general, which is what our bodies intend to do to sleep. Hence, heating your body with either a shower or a drink induces your body to release heat easier from its system because by making your body temperature more than the surrounding temperature, your body instinctively will cool off to adjust. So through releasing heat like this, you are starting the process of sleeping earlier.
You can do this ten or fifteen minutes before bedtime so that the relaxation process will be closer to your rest time instead of a premature process. Furthermore, it also can ease some muscle tension in your body so that it’s easier to relax.
3. Lower the Temperature in the Room
As mentioned in the previous point, we tend to sleep better in cold environments because our body temperature drops when we sleep. So through cooling the environment around us, we are also invoking that process faster.
You can do this by switching on the air conditioner for one or two hours before bedtime, or if you want to opt for a more environmentally friendly example, switching on the fan and providing proper ventilation by cracking open a window works too. An additional option would be to maintain the humidity within the room with humidifiers or air purifiers; this also helps ease your nasal issues that allow for better breathing.
4. Reduce Anxieties through Mindfulness Activities
One of the reasons why it’s hard to sleep sometimes or even most of the time is because there is a lot of anxiety, worry and stress leftover from the day. These thoughts can feel quite intrusive and inhibit us from calming our mind so that sleep can take over.
Hence, calm your mind by avoiding using your phone. Try to shut down your phone 15 minutes before bedtime and avoid messages or scrolling social media on your phone. Besides the fact that the phone emits blue light that can wake you up, seeing posts can also raise your anxiety about bad news in the world or induce fear of missing out when you see posts from friends.
If you’re the introspective type, you can also journal and write out your feelings about the day; or if you do not have time for that, you can write three things that you are thankful for so that you can focus more on the good things in life over the bad things that are happening. You can even start a nighttime yoga stretching and meditation routine before you sleep by following online yogis like Yoga With Adriene on YouTube.
Though good sleeping hygiene is hard to develop in times where we find it hard to rest easy, it is possible through discipline, hard work and consistency while readjusting. That being said, if you find that your restlessness persists for more than a month, it is possible that your sleep is being disrupted by some form of sleep disorder, in which it would be best to consult medical help to find the best possible treatments.
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