Some of the biggest sleep-related issues that people encounter have to do with their nighttime routine. Wait, what? You don’t have one? Well, that, my dear snoozer, is precisely the problem. In order to get those coveted eight hours of splendid slumber, you’ll need a plan. Luckily for you, Emma has what you need to tackle bedtime like a pro.
1. No phones allowed
I know this is a bummer, but if you really want those hours, you’re really going to have to commit. Not only are phones and computers a source of blue light (unless you have a filter), which wake your brain up, they also are a huge source of anxiety and worry. How many times have you looked at your phone before bed and either gotten a text or read an article that kept you awake for hours? Big no-no. I can personally attest that when I placed my phone on the other side of the room, my quality of sleep increased dramatically. It also makes you get out of bed faster if your phone is also your alarm, wink wink.
2. Write that down
So, what if you are already anxiety-ridden the moment you lay your head down? You are not alone and millions every night lay awake worried about their children or contemplating the meaning of life. Listen Linda, just write it down. You don’t need to be a poet or New York Times Bestseller author to jot down what is keeping you up. This is a practice of releasing and acknowledging your worry and will inherently make you feel better. Next, the hard part. I want you to go over all the things that brought a smile to your face today. Write that down too. Read over your smiling moments two or three times before closing the pages and concentrate on those when your head hits the pillow.
3. Set up your sanctuary of sleep
That means organize your bed properly and don’t be a slob. Ouch, harsh, I know. I used the word “sanctuary” because that is how you should treat your bed in order to experience an uninterrupted sleep cycle. Besides having a quality mattress, there are several things that you can do to spruce up your bed chamber. What are the things that make your bed cozy personally? For some it’s extra pillows or cold sheets. For others it’s warm blankets and certain scents. Make your bed into the most comfortable place on Earth from your own perspective or perhaps find a compromise with your partner. Although we love to talk about spending all day in bed, ideally you should be doing two things in bed: sleeping and hanky-panky with your partner. If you want to read or watch TV before bed, try to find a place like the living room or kitchen where the atmosphere is associated with being awake. The more time you spend being awake in your bed, the more likely it is that your body will learn to associate the bed with being awake. We don’t want this of course, since we actually want to be sleeping no more than 20 minutes after we climb into the sheets.
4. Loosen up
Especially if your body is tight from exercise or being at a desk all day, doing some light stretches can do wonders for your body before bed. I enjoy doing some yoga for about 15 to 30 minutes just to get some of those knots out of my back and shoulders. Meditation is also another form of loosening up for your mind. The day brings about all kinds of stress and has our brain processing information after information. Practicing meditation can help your mind to relax and reflect on the subtleties that we often overlook from the daily chaos. Doing both yoga and then meditation is a fantastic way to fully prepare yourself for some deliciously deep sleep.
5. Never too old to play
Everyone’s a kid at heart. You know it and I know it. One of the best ways to relax and prepare yourself for beddy-bye is to play a card game or board game with your family. Outrageous that I’m actually recommending spending time with your family! But seriously, if you don’t have any family time set aside in the evening, think about scheduling it as it will strengthen family bonds as well as help to disconnect from electronic screens that prevent many from getting to sleep on time. It does not have to last any longer than 30 minutes and there are plenty of quick games out there to choose from. All in all, gaming nights with the family can be some of the best childhood and adult memories we share with our loved ones.
That’s all sleepyheads! We hope this list of tips helps you out for getting to your nighttime routine in order and getting better quality sleep. If you are still skeptical, why not try some of these (or all of them) for a week or two and see if you sleep improves? We don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Remember consistency is key!