How You Can Use Routines for a Better Night’s Sleep

Bed time routines

Everyone needs sleep, yet 28 to 44 percent of adults in the United States sleep less than seven hours per night, the recommended minimum. Everything from stress to medical conditions could be at the heart of the problem.

Serious conditions like sleep apnea, wherein breathing periodically stops, require medical attention, but most sleep issues can be reduced with sleep supportive routines.

Your bedtime routine, of course, has an impact but so to do your morning and daytime habits. A focus on these habits can help you build a foundation that creates the solid sleep patterns you need to get a full seven to nine hours of rest.

Also Read: All I Want to do is Sleep, What should I do? 

Better Sleep Starts in the Morning

The minute your eyes open you can start improving your chances of a full night’s rest later in the day. Namely by:

1. Keeping a Regular Wake-Up Time

Your body relies on consistency to correctly time the sleep cycle. With a regular wake-up time, your body knows when it should start to reduce sleep hormones, which in turn helps the brain recognize when to start their release in the evening.

2. Eat a Nutritious Breakfast

Eat a Nutritious Breakfast

Food plays a role in the timing of your sleep cycle as well. Eating meals on a consistent schedule help the brain better recognize your daily habits. A breakfast that is eaten at roughly the same time every day puts you on track for sleep success at night.

3. Get Strenuous Exercise Out of the Way

Get Strenuous Exercise Out of the Way

Regular exercise contributes to overall health. However, long, strenuous exercise sessions can interfere with your sleep due to endorphins and adrenaline, especially if they happen within four hours of bedtime.

If you get that 60-minute run out of the way first thing in the morning, your body will be more tired at night but fully prepared for sleep.

Support Sleep Throughout the Day

Your habits and behaviors continue to influence your sleep as you move along in the day. You can continue to build your sleep health even when you are at your most alert.

  • Stop Stimulants: Even if you feel a bit sluggish in the late afternoon, it’s best to avoid caffeine and similar stimulants. They block sleep hormones and could leave you buzzing for hours.

  • Get Outside: Sunlight helps suppress sleep hormones so you’re fully awake. But, plenty of sunshine also helps the brain recognize when it’s time to release those hormones in full force. A lunchtime walk can help you keep your body moving in the right direction.

  • Nap Carefully: Naps can counteract some of the problems associated with a lack of sleep like foggy thinking, concentration problems, and poor alertness. However, try to keep them short, between 15 to 30 minutes, so you don’t alter your sleep cycle.

  • Keep Meal Times Consistent: Keep eating your meals around the same time and evenly space them throughout the day to help your body recognize and adjust to your daily patterns.

  • Get moving: Even if you aren’t getting strenuous exercise in the morning every day, a simple thirty-minute walk per day can help you get much better sleep at night. Getting a bit of exercise at least four times a week has been proven to help foster sleep.

Bring It Home at Night

You’d assume that your evening activity would heavily influence your ability to sleep, and you’re correct. Here’s how you can make the most of your time before bed.

1. Create a Supportive Bedroom

Do you need a pillow that cradles your neck or cotton sheets that let your skin breathe? Everything about your bedroom contributes to the quality of your sleep so make sure everything from the mattress to light levels works for you.

Make sure that your bedroom is painted colors which promote good sleep, like a light blue or an off-white, and make sure that you only use your bedroom for sleep and for intimacy. Your bedroom shouldn’t be used for work or leisure–you must associate it with sleep.

2. Eat Early and Light

Eat Early and Light

Heavy meals close to bedtime can leave you with heartburn or indigestion. Stay on track with an early, light dinner.

3. Follow Through on a Bedtime Routine

Your bedtime routine does the most preparatory work before bed. Include activities that help you feel calm and relaxed. Go through the routine in the same order and try to start it at the same time so your bedtime stays consistent as well.

4. Take a Shower

Take a bath. If you’re not sure about how to start your bedtime routine, a nice warm bath is a perfect way to relax before you tuck yourself into bed.

Make sure it’s not too hot so that the temperature drop when you get out isn’t too much. That’ll help you get to sleep quicker and it’ll help you get better quality sleep.

5. Try Journaling

Try journaling before bed. It’s often hard to get to sleep when you have a lot on your mind. The easiest way to ensure that you’re not tossing and turning as you’re thinking about your day is by getting it all down on paper.

That’ll give you time to process without eating into your sleeping time.

6. Stop Worrying about Sleep

Don’t worry about sleep. It can be hard if you’re not getting enough sleep, but worrying too much about sleep is very counterproductive.

Just try to relax, even if you don’t feel like you’re going to get to sleep. Anxiety about sleep is correlated with the inability to get the sleep you need.

Conclusion

Consistency is key to creating a healthy sleep support system. As you build better sleep habits like regular meals, exercise, and time outside, your body will naturally fall into a pattern that includes deep, restful sleep.

Remember, this kind of change takes time, and it’s important that you don’t get frustrated if the changes don’t happen immediately.

Just persevere and you’ll be sure to be getting the sleep you want in no time. The routine and consequent sleep will provide the energy you need to live a full, active lifestyle.

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