Your bedtime routine can do a lot to improve your sleep. Many of us are under a great deal of stress and struggle to wind down at night. By making small changes to your evening, you can prepare your body and brain for sleep.
Be Kind to Yourself Tomorrow
What are you wearing tomorrow? Invest in a few suit hangers so you can prep your outfit before you go to bed. Do you like to work out in the morning? Set out your clothing, shoes, and fill your water bottle, so you’re ready to go as soon as you get up. Calm your nighttime brain by making life easier for your morning brain.
Lower Your Light Exposure
Look for ways to lower your electric light exposure once you’ve eaten dinner. For example, you may decide to
- turn off overhead lights after dinner cleanup
- only use candlelight for an hour before bed
- use low watt bulbs in your bedroom
- turn your e-reader screens to black with white text instead of a bright white background
Use solar lights in children’s rooms that you can turn off once they’re tucked in instead of using a bright reading bulb or an overhead light. Keep ceiling fans blowing for air movement and a bit of noise.
Quiet Your Brain
Carefully review what you’re consuming before bed. In the 30 minutes before bed, turn off televisions and computers; listen to an audiobook to quiet your visual field and calm your brain down before bed. If you prefer to read, use a dark screen on your e-reader or use the dimmest bulb you can still see to read a paper book.
Keep Things Cool
Consider starting your bedtime prep right after dinner. Pajamas such as nightgowns can be an excellent way to lower your body temperature as they don’t fit too snugly around your tummy. Wear a loose, lightweight robe if you prefer another layer or a bit more warmth.
Keep your sleeping space cool, and consider keeping a fan blowing near your bed. Avoid having it blow directly on your face if you have sinus problems; a breeze on your face could increase drainage and lead to a tickly nighttime throat.
What to Eat and Drink
Many of us are trying to eat a bit healthier. If your nighttime routine includes a snack or an alcoholic beverage and you have a family history of obstructive sleep apnea, consider wrapping up all eating and drinking except water an hour before bedtime.
Go ahead and clean your teeth and make it in routine, put on your pajamas and relax before bed. Sip water if you are worried about nighttime hunger. Avoiding food and alcohol right before bed can lower your chance of reflux, as well as tooth damage and throat irritation caused by stomach acid backup.
Fragrances to Consider
Many people like the scent of lavender in their sleeping space. For those who don’t care for a floral aroma, cedar and sandalwood are also a lovely night time treat. An electric candle warmer can be a wonderful tool to scent your sleeping space without the hazards of lighting a candle; simply switch it on when you put on your pajamas and turn it off while going to bed.
Invest in the Right Bedding for You
A side sleeper needs a softer mattress. Back sleepers need a medium plush mattress, while tummy sleepers need the firmest bed. Accordingly, side sleepers need a taller pillow to support their head without twisting their neck.
Hot sleepers may struggle on a foam mattress; consider adding a gel-infused cooling memory foam or a cooling mattress protector to reduce the risk of waking up hot and sweaty. Make sure that your summer sheets are both soft and breathable. In the winter, you may be more comfortable with flannel or tee fabric sheets. If you have long hair, you may be more comfortable on a silk or satin pillowcase; cotton and flannel fibers can lead to tugging on long hair.
Monitoring your intake before bed is critical to quality sleep. It can be tempting to watch something funny or light-hearted right before bed, but laughter can be agitating. If you can listen to something you’ve heard repeatedly and bore yourself just a bit, you will fall asleep easier and stay there and routine gets better.