Many of us have encountered difficulty in getting a good night’s sleep at one time or another. Insomnia is one of the most common sleep problems most people may have experienced throughout their lifetime. This is usually due to stress, anxiety, jet lag, diet, environmental issues, or other health conditions that affect your sleep.
While there are some lucky few who can hit the sack in no time, there are others who still struggle to fall asleep no matter how physically and mentally exhausted they feel. If you have experienced this, you know how disappointing it is to toss and turn throughout the night without making any progress getting some sleep.
Creating a regular bedtime routine will help condition your mind that it is already time to sleep. People who suffer from insomnia should avoid irregular sleeping hours as it will only worsen their condition. Although some people find it challenging to stick to a regular bedtime routine, those who really try their best reap its benefits of getting better sleep.
Here are six effective bedtime routine tips to get better sleep:
1. Avoid Eating Within 2 Hours Before Bedtime
Hitting the sack while your body is still digesting the food that you recently ate is not a good idea. This may lead to acid reflux, heartburn, and dyspepsia (indigestion or upset stomach). Acid reflux and indigestion may cause difficulty falling asleep. These conditions can also make it harder for you to stay asleep, affecting the overall quality of your sleep.
It’s best to eat your heavy dinner at least four hours before bed. Light snacks should be taken within two hours before sleeping. Just make sure you don’t go to bed hungry, as this too can affect the quality of your sleep. After all, preparing to sleep with an empty, rumbling stomach can occupy your mind and make it more difficult for your body (and brain) to relax.
2. Take a Warm Shower or Bath
A warm shower or bath can help you relax both physically and mentally. Because your body temperature tends to drop after a warm bath, this can induce sleep. It’s recommended to take a warm bath one to two hours prior to bedtime for around 10 minutes for better sleep. This is because a warm shower or bath improves your body’s circadian rhythm, which can help you fall asleep more quickly and improve your sleep quality.
Another helpful tip is to use relaxing scented body wash or shower gel, such as lavender or chamomile.
3. Have A Warm Milk or Caffeine-Free Tea
Another relaxing bedtime routine is to have some warm milk or hot tea at least an hour before bed. If you prefer to drink tea, make sure to choose the caffeine-free variety. Chamomile tea is known for its calming benefits and it can aid anxiety and insomnia. Chamomile tea is rich in an antioxidant known as apigenin, which signals the brain to slow down and initiate sleep.
Other types of tea that can improve your sleep include passionflower tea, magnolia bark tea, and valerian root.
4. Do Some Light Stretching
Before hitting the sack, try to condition your body that it’s time to calm down and relax by doing some light stretching. This is definitely not a night workout routine or exercise — this is just a series of restorative poses that will help prepare your body for rest.
Simple restorative poses such as child’s pose, reclining bound angle pose, and easy twists can help condition your body and mind to surrender to sleep. Try these restorative poses and yoga sequences right before bedtime and see if they help improve your sleep.
5. Power Off
One of the most common reasons people stay up late at night is because of technology. Some people don’t notice the time when they are doing a movie marathon, while others are just wasting their time scrolling their phone absentmindedly until midnight. Many get addicted to playing mobile games or chatting online that they still have a strong burst of energy even when it’s already time to rest.
If you really want to improve your sleep, it’s necessary to power off before bedtime. Try to bring your gadgets away from you at least an hour before bedtime to allow yourself to do some light stretching or drink some tea. Use this time to really condition your brain to doze off.
6. Set the Mood
Environmental factors can affect how fast you can fall asleep, including the quality of your sleep. Set the mood of your room before bedtime. Make sure the temperature is comfortably cool and the lights are dimmed or turned off. It’s also a good idea to humidify the room and use relaxing essential oils, like lavender, eucalyptus, or peppermint.
Playing soft calming music in the background may also help. Sound vibrations like 432 Hz and 528 Hz will not only help you fall asleep quickly, they will also improve your sleep quality while restoring your energy, making you feel extra rejuvenated when you wake up.
The 21-Day Sleep Routine Challenge
It takes approximately 21 days for people to get used to a new habit. If you want to improve your sleep by incorporating these pre-bedtime routine tips, we recommend that you try this and stick to it for at least 21 days straight and see the difference.
While it’s true that many people find it difficult forming and sticking to a new habit, having the right attitude and determination will help you achieve your goals — yes, including your sleep goals.