It's the end of another day, and it's close to that time again to rest up and sleep. You realize that time has flown by fast that you wish you could just quickly settle for the night. You like the idea of doing more relaxing things before going to bed, but some nights you struggle to achieve that. Sure, you may have children to take care of or local community events to go to during the evening hours. Another example could be you have an essential work presentation the next day, and you're feeling a little anxious about it. This approach may result in getting a bad night's sleep, making you less energy to perform the best at your job.
It's frustrating not to get a good night's sleep when it matters the most.
Does this all sound familiar? I've been through this scenario multiple times over the years, and I realized that I was not using my time effectively. If you're like me, many people have been through this situation before ending up with sleepless nights. Fortunately, there are many ways to develop a bedtime routine that will help make your end of the day go much smoother. Not only practicing a calming bedtime routine benefits your health, but it helps you set aside time to relax and wind down before you call it lights out.
In this post, I will go over four effective ways adults can develop a better routine before going to bed. These tips include drinking no caffeine and having lighter meals, avoid using electronics at least 1 hour before crawling into bed, practicing meditation or listening to calm music, setting up your bedroom correctly, and making a list of quick reminders you may need to do the next day.
Approach # 1 Ditch Caffeine and Eat Light Meals
If there's one thing that I do not do before bedtime is drinking any caffeinated beverages, I am a huge coffee drinker, but I avoid it in the evening, so I won't struggle to sleep at night. If you drink caffeine, stop drinking at least four-six hours before going to bed. This allows plenty of time for your body to wear it off the caffeine. For example, I stop drinking caffeine after 2 pm, if I plan on going to bed between 9 pm-11 pm that following evening.
Along with avoiding caffeine, eat lighter meals two-three hours before going to bed. In my experience, eating heavy dinners or overeating would make my stomach uncomfortable some nights. Not only did I have trouble sleeping, but I would have that “I feel like garbage” feeling. Now I have lighter dinners consisting of little carbs, more protein, and more fruits and vegetables, which I feel much better and satisfied afterward. Also, never go to sleep on an empty stomach. I believe that you have to eat something before going to bed; otherwise, this will make it harder to sleep. More so, eating light at least two-three hours before going to sleep is an excellent approach to include in your bedtime routine.
Approach # 2 Shut Off Electronics At Least One Hour Before Bed
I generally start winding down about 30-60 minutes before going to bed. Setting a limit on your electronics is a must if you want to get the best night's sleep possible. As I mentioned in one of my earlier articles, holding off on electronic usage first thing in the morning, also means this should not be the last thing you do before turning off the lights. Electronics stimulates the brain to stay alert, particularly your internal body clock, that affects your feelings of sleepiness. If, for some reason, you have to use your phone or computer before going to bed, try dimming the brightness or contrast on the screen to make it easier on your eyes. As an iPhone user, I like the options to lighten or dim the light on my screen. Also, the iPhone has a screen time limit feature where app usage is limited for a specific time frame. So for me, I turned off all notifications and set my apps not to be used between 10 pm-7 am the next morning, that way I don’t get easily distracted before going to bed.
Approach # 3 Wind Down Doing Relaxing Activities
What I find beneficial right before going to bed is doing things that help me relax, or get tired quickly. Reading a book may get you to fall asleep. For instance, I eventually find myself falling asleep, and the book is lying on the floor a half-hour later after I dozed off (funny). If there is one book that will get you to fall asleep in no time is the Bible. I find the Bible to be very dull, and the more I read into it while being tired, I probably will doze off in two minutes.
Additionally, other ways include taking a bath (or shower) and practicing meditation. Especially in the summer, I shower at the end of the day because I don't like feeling smelly and sweaty when I get outdoors. My body feels refreshed and less tense after a nice hot shower in the evening. Meditation is a great way to wind your body down and clear your mind. I practice meditation nearly every, and I usually like to meditate at the start of my day. But for some people, waiting until the end of the day may be the best since they don't feel rushed, compared to the mornings when they have to get ready for work and pressed on time. Either way, meditating before sleeping can work the same way as if you would do it first thing in the morning.
Approach # 4 Set Up Your Bedroom Properly
How your bedroom looks can make a difference in your sleeping patterns. First off, any electronics should be placed away from your bed. As I mentioned in my article on morning routine practices, devices such as smartphones shouldn't be placed on nightstands where you can easily reach them while in bed. The lighting in your bedroom is crucial because you don't want to have your room too bright before going to bed. If you can lower the lighting level, dim it down so it'll be more comfortable on your eyes.
On a similar point, window curtains and drapes can help keep your room dark at nighttime. In my room, I have window drapes that keep it close to pitch-black while I'm sleeping. I try to block out most of the light when I go to bed. Especially outside my apartment building, I do the best I can to block off outside lights that I don't have control over. If this doesn't work, use face-masks as an alternative. If your room has an east side exposure, using a face-mask will help since your room will light up quickly with the natural sunlight coming in.
The temperature in your room can also determine whether you get the best night's sleep possible. According to the National Sleep Foundation, ideal room temperatures should be between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit. Not too warm, but not too cold, I would say. I sleep the best when my room temperature is between 67-69 degrees because I'm a slightly cold sleeper. Depending on what the weather is like year-round, I'll run my AC on a humid summer night. Or on cooler nights (the 50s-60s degree weather), I'll crack the window open while sleeping. Some people are hot sleepers, while others are cold sleepers, so whatever works best for you to adjust the temperature accordingly to your sleep patterns.
Well, there you have it. There are many other ways I can write about to make the best bedtime routine possible, but these four tips are simple and easy to practice over time. Practicing these tips is very basic that if taken in small steps, you be surprised to see how your bedtime schedule can change for the better. Rather than having more stressful and sleepless nights, take the time to practice these tips each night. Overall, developing an effective bedtime routine around these tips can result in feeling more relaxed and save you time in the long haul.
If you have any useful tips or general thoughts, feel free to comment below, and please share this post with others.