A sleep schedule is crucial for a healthy lifestyle. Use these tips to find (and stick to) a bedtime routine that will have you looking and feeling better.
Bedtime routines aren’t only for children; adults need them too.
Routines benefit all adults, but some need them more. If you’re a light sleeper, for example, ensure that your pets sleep outside your bedroom. Others should hydrate a couple of hours before going to bed, instead of right before they’re ready for sleep.
The following are seven tips to help you improve your daily bedtime routine.
1. Pick a Bedtime and Stick to It
Science continues to prove that humans are creatures of habit. It takes the first 20 years of their life for a person to develop their adult identity. Then, it can take up to 254 days of consistency to maintain, break, or develop new habits.
Bedtime routines benefit all adults, but they have a bigger effect on those who need to improve their performance at work, school, or in their personal lives.
By picking a bedtime, you’re training your body to recognize when it’s time to go to sleep. You’re developing a habit that sets you up for success.
You’ll find that a sleep regimen helps the other components of your life fall into place. By stabilizing your sleep patterns, you stabilize the rest of your life, too.
2. Create an Environment for Sleep
The place where you sleep should be inviting. Professionals recommend darkness, little to no noise, and no distractions. After that, you can add your own personal touches.
Consider hanging blackout curtains to limit the amount of light that enters your bedroom at night. Windows with at least two panes of glass help reduce outside noise, and they’re energy-efficient.
Sleep-focused organizations recommend keeping your bedroom’s temperature at 65 degrees F. If you set your thermostat between 60 to 67 degrees F, you should sleep comfortably. A ceiling fan uses far less energy than a central HVAC unit and spreads the unit’s output throughout the bedroom. Thus, it’s a great add-on.
Your mattress, pillows, and bedsheets play a role, too. Jersey bedding is great for creating a cozy environment, while silk fosters a luxurious feeling.
3. Unplug Before Going to Bed
It’s almost normal for people to live and breathe with their electronic devices.
To improve your daily bedtime routine, unplug at least one hour before going to bed. If you find that you still struggle to fall asleep, unplug two hours before laying down for the night.
Electronic devices stimulate your brain in a way that interrupts sleep and relaxation. One study found that the average American checks their smartphone 262 times daily. Every five minutes, they pick up the phone to check email, social media, or play their favorite mobile app game.
In 2021, electronic devices do serve several meaningful purposes. They’re the most portable personal computers mankind knows. But, an hour or two before turning in for the night, unplug and let your brain relax.
This also means that your bedroom should be free of television and other devices that emit blue light.
4. Read Before Going to Bed
When you unplug one to two hours before bed, how do you fill the void?
Back in school, did you ever notice that reading in English class made you drowsy? On television and in the movies, do you notice that characters often read in bed before going to sleep?
This is because reading at nighttime makes you tired.
Pick your favorite book or one you’ve wanted to read, and get comfortable in bed. Read until you feel the drowsiness overcome you.
Once you’re ready, put the book away, turn off the light, and slide into your bedsheets. You’re preparing yourself for sleep.
5. Watch What You Eat Before Bed
To improve your bedtime routine, eat your last meal three hours before going to bed. This allows you enough time to digest your meal. More importantly, it will give you enough time to relieve yourself.
Some people feel dehydrated right before falling asleep. Others wake up with hunger.
If eating your last meal three hours before bed becomes a challenge, find a balance that works for you. A light snack and glass of water may work 90 minutes before bed, but try to work your way to a three-hour goal over time.
6. Do Physical Activity During the Daytime
Every adult requires at least seven hours of sleep each night. Being tired helps you get deeper sleep. If you have trouble falling (or staying) asleep, you may need more physical activity during the day.
You have several options. Some people enjoy hitting the gym first thing in the morning, as it provides the energy they require to get through their day. Others enjoy a relaxing 20-minute yoga routine right before turning in for the night.
Exercise helps you fall asleep. Plus it’s great for your health. Whether you decide to walk two miles a day or participate in a 30-minute Bootcamp exercise routine, the benefits are many.
7. Limit Naps During the Daytime
Health and medical professionals agree that mid-afternoon naps are beneficial for adults. Older adults need them more. If you find yourself nodding off during the daylight hours, evaluate why that’s happening.
If you’re not getting enough sleep at night, fix that. Adults who take medications that cause drowsiness may want to speak with their doctor about those side effects.
Napping during the daytime is OK as long as it doesn’t impact your sleep schedule. For example, don’t nap too close to your bedtime. Otherwise, you’re going to nap, wake up, and have trouble falling asleep again.
Improving your bedtime routine means sleeping enough when needed without disrupting your cycle at night.
Of course, you have several tasks to accomplish every day. To increase your productivity, ensure that your bedtime routine maximizes your rest. Try the tips outlined above until you find a groove that works for you.
Jill Bowers is the property manager at Industry Columbus, a luxury apartment community in Columbus, OH.
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