More than one-third of adults don’t get at least seven hours of sleep each night. If you’re one of them, you know how difficult it is to get through the day and how sluggish your brain can be from lack of rest.
Establishing a nighttime routine is one of the best ways to help prepare your body and brain for a good night’s rest. Just as consistent bedtime activities can help kids fall asleep quickly, sleep routines are beneficial to adults as well. Think of it as a form of prioritized self-care. Here are five things you should be doing before turning in to help you get quality shuteye.
1. Power Down All Screens
Although it’s tempting to want to scroll through Instagram before going to bed, the practice may be doing you more harm than good. The blue light emitted by mobile devices mimics daylight and can disrupt the hormone melatonin, keeping us awake. Shut off all electronic devices at least an hour before you get into bed to avoid the negative effects of blue light.
2. Meditate or Practice Yoga
Meditation and yoga encourage you to focus on your breathing and stay in the present moment. Because of this, both help clear your head of any distracting thoughts and worry that can keep you awake. A study published in JAMA found that mindful meditation helped ease insomnia.
3. Listen to a White Noise Machine
White noise is any kind of background noise that helps drown out other noises such as traffic and people’s conversation. A 2016 study found that white noise helped hospital patients in a critical care unit sleep more soundly by masking background sounds. Although some white noise machines feature electronic sounds, you can also opt for one that plays nature based sounds such as gently falling rain and leaves rustling. Experiment with various sounds to find one that helps lull you to sleep.
4. Take a Warm Shower or Bath
While some people prefer to bathe or shower in the morning to help them wake up, taking a shower or soaking in a warm bath at night can help relax you and wind your body down. Just be sure the water temperature is warm; cold water can invigorate you while hot water can dry your skin.
5. Sip Bedtime Tea
Many herbal teas have been used for centuries as natural sleep aids and to treat insomnia. These include teas made with chamomile (which also helps decrease anxiety) lavender (you can also place fresh or dried lavender under your pillow to help soothe you into sleep), and valerian root. Look for brands that make teas marketed as sleep inducing brews. They’re also useful for calming nerves during the waking hours as well.
Make Your Bedtime Routine a Nightly Practice
You don’t have to suffer from a lousy night’s sleep. Try the five tips above and commit to having an evening routine that helps put your mind and body to rest so sleep comes faster and more naturally.
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