A good sleep routine is crucial to both physical and mental health. Even if you’re eating right, practicing good mental health habits, and keeping track of your weight, not getting enough sleep can leave you feeling too exhausted to take care of yourself—and it’s a slippery slope from there. For some, the best way to get a restful night’s sleep is to abide by a routine each night. If you’re interested in creating your own bedtime routine, you’ve come to the right place!
In this guide, I’ll show you how to create the best bedtime routine for restful, fulfilling sleep. You don’t need anything special (though, if your mattress is worn down to the springs, you may want to replace it) and it doesn’t require certain skills. Everything in this guide can be done by the average person. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s learn how to get better sleep starting tonight.
Set A Bedtime
First thing’s first—you need to have a bedtime and a wake-up time. Yes, that means you. You might be an adult, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t abide by a bedtime. Why? Because a consistent bedtime will help your body get into a natural rhythm. This is great for people who have trouble falling asleep. Once your body falls into that natural routine, it will expect to be tired around the time you’re supposed to go to bed, which will help you wind-down and go to sleep quicker.
Set your bedtime so that you’re getting at least eight hours of sleep. In fact, the recommended amount of sleep for an adult (18-60 years) is about 7+ hours. Keep in mind, of course, that everyone is different, and some people actually function better on more or less sleep. Find your sweet spot and set your bedtime around it. You should also be waking up at the same time every day, which will help your internal alarm clock set itself. After enough time, you’ll wake up without an alarm clock!
When you wake up will depend on when you need to be at work, when the kids have to be at school, etc. It’s always a good idea to at least leave some personal time for yourself in the morning to warm up to the day ahead. Take some coffee, do a crossword, or meditate before you face the world. How you wake up can improve or negatively impact the rest of your day.
Keep Your Room Free Of Distractions
Many Americans have a TV in their room, or, at the very least, take their phones to bed with them. Did you know that blue light from electronic devices can actually signal your brain that it’s time to wake up? This could be the reason you’re having trouble falling asleep at night. The solution? Turn everything off before bed. In fact, you should give yourself at least 30 minutes screen-free before you go to sleep. This will help your brain calm itself and realize that it’s time for rest.
If that means you need to take the TV out of your room, so be it! It’s always better to have a good habit like a healthy sleep cycle versus a bad habit like watching TV every night before bed. Not to mention, if you watch the news or some other disturbing program, you could very well experience troubled sleep! Turn off the TV, the phone, and any other electronic devices before you lay down. You’ll thank me later.
Read Before Bed
One of the best replacements for electronics before bed is a book. When is the last time you read a good book? The average American only reads twelve books per year. Just twelve. That’s one book per month or less. Reading before bed can help calm your mind, help you learn new things, and there’s even evidence that suggests reading fiction increases a person’s empathy for others. The bottom line? Reading can make you a better, more well-rounded person, and what better time to read than just before bed?
Pray, Meditate, or Focus On The Spirit
Your spirituality or faith certainly should have a place in your bedtime routine. Praying, meditating, or simply reflecting before bed can help you sleep better and feel more at ease with the day. You can say a prayer for sleep, or meditate on how you overcame the day’s challenges. Many people use this time to study scripture as well, or share their favorite stories with their children.
It’s best to allow yourself a calm and quiet environment during your spiritual time, just as you would for reading. Removing the distractions in your room is a great place to start. You wouldn’t want to be bombarded with notifications from your phone while you’re trying to pray!
Better Sleep For All
Americans aren’t getting enough sleep, and it shows in our performance at work, at home, and our addiction to caffeine. It’s time to take back control of our bedtime routines and get better sleep, for the sake of us as individuals and the health of our society. With new stressors arising everyday, new health threats just around the corner, and a general sense of unease in our current social climate, getting a good night’s rest is more important than ever.