By Haris Aamir
4 November 2022
A bedtime routine is a series of activities that you conduct in the same order every night, 30 to 60 minutes before bed. Bedtime rituals vary but typically include relaxing activities such as taking a warm bath, reading, journaling, or meditation.
People are creatures of habit. Bedtime rituals, like any other routine, build habits that assist our brains to identify when it's time to sleep. By repeating the same things in the same order every night, your brain learns to associate those activities with sleep.
Bedtime rituals are important in lowering late-night tension and anxiety – the type of worrying thoughts that keep you awake at night. Anxiety and rumination stimulate your mind and sympathetic nervous system.
Bedtime routines help people reconnect with their natural circadian rhythms, learn how to relax, and practice healthy sleep habits. Bedtime rituals have also been shown to have a significant good impact on other aspects of children's lives, such as improved memory, mental health, and attentiveness. Bedtime habits assist your brain in separating the day from the night, clearing your mind and body of the stressors of the day, and relaxing into sleep.
Maintaining a steady sleep schedule every night can be difficult, particularly on weekends when people tend to stay up later. Establishing regular times to sleep and wake up each night is a crucial first step toward developing an efficient bedtime routine.
As enjoyable as a nightcap before bed is, drinking can actually degrade the quality of your sleep. Sure, it makes you drowsy, but having alcohol in your system can lead to interrupted sleep when the effect wears off. Caffeine and nicotine, on the other hand, are both stimulants that might make falling asleep more difficult. The Sleep Health Foundation suggests that you avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine for at least four hours before going to bed. If possible, limit your intake of caffeinated beverages to the morning or afternoon rather than the evening.
Blue light is emitted by electronic devices with screens, such as cellphones, tablets, laptop computers, and televisions. This light can suppress the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone, making it more difficult to fall asleep. According to recent research, utilizing screen devices for two hours or more in the evening can have an impact on your sleep.
Workplace stress, family life stress, and other issues have all been connected to difficulty falling asleep. Finding strategies to relieve tension, whether through meditation, a bedtime yoga routine, or a warm evening bath, may help you fall asleep more easily. If your mind races at night, jot down your thoughts on paper so you may mentally postpone your obligations until the morning.
As part of your regular sleep cycle, your body temperature dips. Although some people may be tempted to boost the temperature of their bedroom or wrap up in comforting blankets to stay warm, studies have shown that an extremely hot bedroom atmosphere can interfere with sleep and produce weariness the following day. A few degrees lower on the thermostat often promotes better sleep. A warm shower or bath before going to bed might also help you relax by producing a natural cool-down effect.
Our circadian rhythms, which govern our sleep-wake cycles, are mostly determined by our exposure to natural light. This is why we feel more awake during the day and fatigued after the sun goes down. Artificial light in the evening confuses your brain into believing it's daytime, which can interfere with melatonin production. As a result, keeping light levels low and removing electronic gadgets from your bedroom can assist you in preparing for sleep in the hours before night.