Do you ever find yourself lying awake in bed fighting to go to sleep? Do you run over everything that happened that day in your head and worry about what’s coming the next day? If so, you could benefit from a night routine.
A night routine can help signal your body that it’s time to go to sleep. Read on to discover your perfect night routine and how every step can help you get your best sleep.
1. Why You Should Have a Night Routine
Humans are creatures of habit, right down to the biological pattern of our circadian rhythms. Our brains and our bodies respond to signals to change how we feel. If you need an example of this, think about every time you’ve looked at the clock, realised it was lunchtime, and suddenly felt hungry.
Having a night routine will signal your body that it’s time to start winding down and going to sleep. That way, instead of fighting against your body to try to get to sleep, you can have your body on your side and drift off easily. You’ll fall asleep easier, stay asleep longer, and feel more well-rested in the morning.
2. Stop Caffeine and Alcohol Early
The first step in your nightly routine should be to stop caffeine and alcohol early. Caffeine lingers in your system for as long as five hours after you drink it, even if you don’t feel the effects as strongly for that long. So you should aim to cut off your caffeine intake by 4 p.m.
You may have heard before that alcohol makes you fall asleep faster, and it can. But it also messes with your sleep cycles so you wake up in the middle of the night more and don’t feel as rested in the morning. It’s fine to have a drink or two with dinner, but try to cut off alcohol consumption within two hours of the time you go to bed.
3. Set Work Boundaries
How many nights when you’ve lain awake staring at the ceiling have you been thinking about something to do with work? With the advent of the internet age, work goes everywhere with many of us. It can be hard to put it down, so to speak, and let your brain drift worry-free into sleep.
One way to make this easier (and to avoid burnout at your job) is to set a specific time limit on your work. After that time limit, you don’t check work emails, you don’t bring work home, and if something doesn’t get done, it’ll be there tomorrow. Over time, you’ll find thoughts of work creeping into your brain outside work hours less and less.
4. Have a Healthy Dinner
It’s an urban legend that what you eat can affect what you dream about, but it can affect how you sleep. Overeating or eating a heavy meal can lead to indigestion that can make it hard to get to sleep. Instead, opt for healthy foods and light snacks later in the evening if you need them.
After dinner is also a good time to go ahead and pack your lunch for the next day. As we’ll discuss more in a minute, taking care of tasks for the next day can head off any worries that may run through your mind while you’re trying to go to sleep. You’ll also make healthier choices about your food when you have time to think and aren’t staring down the sandwich case at the coffee shop.
5. Tidy Up
After dinner, take a few minutes to tidy up around the house. You don’t have to do a full-out deep clean of your entire house; just take fifteen or twenty minutes to do some basic tidying. Take care of the dishes, wipe down the counters, put away any clutter around the house, and take out the trash.
There have been studies that have proved you relax better when you’re in a tidy environment. Being in a more relaxed state will help you wind down before sleep. It will also keep you from laying in bed making a mental inventory of every single thing on your coffee table and how you should have put it away.
6. Prepare for Tomorrow
Once you’re done tidying up, sit down and take a few minutes to prepare for your day tomorrow. This is the only time you’re allowed to spend outside of work thinking about work. Start by setting out clothes for tomorrow, including gym clothes, your work clothes, and anything you need to get a head start on a good breakfast.
Also, take a few minutes to jot down a schedule for the next day. Even if you don’t wind up sticking to it to the letter, it will help you organise everything you need to do and when it will get done. You also won’t lay awake in bed reminding yourself not to forget about your dentist or counseling appointment or to pick the kids up from gymnastics.
7. Take Time for Yourself
With the house and your day prepped for the next day, take some time to do what you want. Scroll through social media, watch a movie, play a game with your family, get a foot massage, or take a nice, long bath. This is the time to allow yourself to do whatever you want with no worries about other responsibilities.
We all need some self-care time where we can set down the burdens of being an adult in the world. Taking this time every evening will improve your mood, lower your stress levels, and serve as a reward for checking everything off your to-do list. But do be sure to set a time limit on these activities; you don’t want to be up till midnight playing Destiny 2.
8. Switch to a Book
About half an hour before bed, switch off the screens, put your phone on sleep mode, plug it in, and pick up a book. Some studies have shown that just six minutes of reading can help you relax and lower your stress levels. Reading can also help raise your IQ and improve a number of other factors in your life.
Avoiding looking at a screen for the last half hour before you go to sleep can also help you fall asleep and stay asleep better. Screens put off blue light that signals our circadian rhythms that it’s time to wake up and get moving. So shut off Twitter and pick up a book instead.
9. Reflect on Your Day
A few minutes before bed, take some time to sit down and reflect on your day. Think back through everything you did, what worked well for you, and what didn’t. Start by focusing on the things you wish had gone better, and wind up by dwelling on the victories you had that day.
This sort of reflection will do a few things; for one thing, it will make every day feel more significant. By reflecting on what you accomplished each day, it will make each day stand out instead of being a blur of to-do lists. Having this dedicated time to focus on your day will also keep you from ruminating on that when you go to bed.
10. Focus on Gratitude
Towards the end of your reflection, take some time to focus on what you’re grateful for. Choosing to spend time focusing on gratitude is one of the biggest things that has been shown to increase life satisfaction. And it can help raise your mood a bunch.
Going to bed in a good mood can help you get to sleep easier. Instead of ruminating on that irritating thing your boss said to you, you’ll be thinking about how grateful you are for your bed, your family, your home. Start a gratitude journal if you like, but just take a few minutes to focus on what you’re grateful for in your life.
11. Do Some Yoga
Before you hit the sack, do a few yoga poses. Some light stretching and focused breathing before bed can help release some positive endorphins that can make it easier for you to sleep. Take a few minutes to run through a basic yoga flow designed to help you sleep better.
12. Stick to a Bedtime
One of the most important things you can do in your night routine is to stick to a regular bedtime. Remember that routine we were talking about? The closer you stick to a regular bedtime, the more your body will learn that it’s time to go to sleep and the less you’ll have to fight it.
Set Up Your Night Routine
Having a solid night routine can help your sleep time feel less like a battle and more like a welcome refuge at the end of the day. You’ll be better rested, have an easier time falling asleep, and stay asleep longer. Plus, you’ll find that in the rest of your life, you’re healthier and happier, too.
If you’d like to do more to relax and take care of yourself, visit the rest of our site at Osim. We’ve been inspiring wellbeing for more than forty years with our massage chairs and air purifiers. Discover some more of our wellness tips and start improving your life today.