Sleep. It’s something we all need, but rarely ever get enough of. With busy lifestyles that carry on into the late hours of the night, and late night screen time at an all time high, a solid eight hours of uninterrupted REM is a rare thing these days.
How often have you woke up in a bad mood after a night of tossing and turning? It’s no secret that sleep plays an important role in our well-being. Sleep is an essential function that allows your body - and mind - to recharge. Without it, your body cannot function at its highest potential, leading to low performance in daily activities, reduced concentration, imbalanced appetites, and mental and physical exhaustion.
How much sleep should you be getting each night? For most adults, at least seven hours of sleep each night is needed for proper cognitive and behavioural functions. Ideally, try to aim for between 7-9 hours sleep each night.
So, how can you get a better night’s sleep? A healthy bedtime routine could be just the ticket to help lessen those sleepless nights and those grumpy, anxious days.
Creating a bedtime routine, a set of activities you perform in the same order, every night, in the 30 to 60 minutes before you go to bed, is one of the easiest steps you can take to enjoy better sleep. Bedtime routines are a simple lifestyle change that can help your mind and body relax before bed.
Here are some tips on how to create a healthy bedtime routine:
- Decide on a set bedtime
Decide on your bed, and wake-up times, and stick to them every day - yes, even on weekends! Following a consistent sleep routine helps train your brain to naturally feel tired when it’s bedtime. Next, schedule a time to begin your bedtime routine every night, anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours before bed. Set an alarm if you need to.
- Switch off your electronics
Say goodnight to your electronics at the beginning of your bedtime routine. Electronic devices, including computers, televisions, smartphones, and tablets, all emit strong blue light, which can trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime. As a result, your brain suppresses melatonin production and works to stay awake. Instead of playing on your phone, or watching Netflix, try journaling or expressing gratitude for your day. Reading is also a great way to wind down the mind.
- Have a warm bath or shower
The warm water can help relax your muscles and help wash away any stresses or worries of the day. Studies have found that dropping your body temperature via a warm bath or shower can trigger a sleepy reaction. Your body will heat up from the water, and cool down quickly as the water evaporates, creating a sensation that makes you feel tired and relaxed.
- Practice mindfulness
Relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises can allow you to let go of physical and mental tension. And, a regular meditation practice can improve your sleep quality. Mindfulness meditation teaches people to allow their thoughts and manage emotions, enabling sleep onset, rather than stressing about not falling asleep. You can find many guided meditation exercises and breathwork cycles in the new Flourish & Fulfilled App.
- Listen to ambient sounds
Types of audio, like ambient sounds and white or pink noise, has been shown to improve sleep quality, and may help you fall asleep faster by masking other sounds. Find ambient sounds, like rain and waves, to help you relax into a deep sleep in the new Flourish & Fulfilled App.
Sleep can be seen as the action that keeps your body running at its fullest potential, and it should not be taken lightly. So try and get plenty of it!
What does your bedtime routine look like? Leave a comment below.