Do you need help sleeping? What’s your bedtime ritual look like?
Cleaning up your pre-snooze routine can make all the difference, and adding in good habits is just as important as eliminating those sneaky habits that are derailing your good intentions – and draining your morning energy – entirely!
You see, creating a routine helps your body get in tune with natural sleep cues, otherwise known as the circadian rhythm.
Don’t forget the basics!
Before we get into what makes your bedtime routine unique, it’s important to schedule in a few non-negotiables that promote good sleep and proper self-care overall. A solid ritual should always include:
- Brushing your teeth
- Gradually dimming down the lights
- Go tech-free for 1-2 hours before bed
- Tidy up the bedroom, if there’s a mess
- Avoid hanging out in the bedroom too long before bedtime
- Avoid having pets sleep in the bed with you (sorry!)
Now, for the added bonuses. You can choose one, three, or do them all. These are easy ways to de-stress, relax and get primed for a good, restorative snooze.
This childhood activity is gaining traction with adults these days, and for good reason. This craze is actually something to go crazy about, and not only because it will help you sleep at night.
In fact, we encourage coloring in the morning and afternoon too, if you have the time to squeeze it in.
You’ll find adult coloring books in shops all over the place, and you can get the jumbo pack of colored pencils to afford you the maximum amount of creative freedom.
A quick session before bed will reduce stress; coloring forces your brain into a naturally meditative state, and you’ll be more likely to get into the groove of the present moment rather than dwelling on what’s happened today or what lies ahead tomorrow – two factors that definitely keep us up at night!
Stress and anxiety are two huge triggers in individuals who suffer from insomnia, and coloring can effectively address both.
The meditative state allows us to tap into some mindfulness. If you can recall coloring as a child, you likely remember how your focus shifts to staying in the lines, choosing colors, and overall being immersed in what’s directly in front of you rather than on those rapid-fire thoughts happening within.
If meditation has evaded you for a long time, but you want to reap some of the benefits of doing it, coloring is a good choice to work the same parts of the brain with many of the same benefits.
Read more about sleep products the HBF team loves including coloring books.
Adult coloring books we love
2. Bath time before bed
A bath not only enforces true good hygiene, but it promotes good sleep hygiene too. The warm water relaxes the muscles and relieves the body of all the bound-up tension it’s been holding on to and collecting throughout the day.
Adding Epsom salts can help soreness and give you a magnesium boost, which is a natural sleeping supplement. As a rule of thumb, it’s helpful to take a bath a couple of hours before you hit the sack, as body temperature wants to drop to promote good rest.
Now, you might be thinking, “How early should my bedtime routine begin?” This is a highly individual choice when establishing this healthy habit.
If a bath is a good way for you to wind down and get your brain into snooze-mode, then perhaps your routine can begin 2-3 hours before bed. This is the ideal time to turn down the bright lights and screens anyways.
Turn your bathroom into a spa with these goodies
Meditation is a great way to make yourself pretty sleepy, especially if you’re prone to going to bed feeling restless. Of course, it’s a battle of quieting both the body and mind at the same time when it comes to priming yourself for rest; meditation hits both notes.
In fact, many people fall asleep while meditating! This is something you want to avoid, so schedule in a little zen time before or after dinner.
If you’re just getting started with meditation, you should read more about how it changes the body and brain. It can literally change the way your brain chemistry works!
If that’s not powerful, I don’t know what is. A fantastic beginner’s resource that we highly recommend is the app called Headspace; it takes you through daily, guided meditations, and it’s accessible to anyone – even if you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing!
It just takes ten minutes per day, so time is not the issue here.
If you have the space in your home, perhaps a ‘meditation nook’ could be to your benefit. You don’t have to limit this room or designated corner to meditation either; in fact, much of your bedtime routine could happen right there.
Many herbs are shown to reduce stress and anxiety including lavender, lemon balm, chamomile, passionflower and more. You can wind down with naturally scented candles or incense burning, using essential oils or soothing body lotion on the skin, or just using a diffuser to get those good, relaxing vibes flowing through the room.
While many herbs have proven relaxation benefits, the ritual alone can be incredibly calming.
The idea is to create a safe haven that – once again – convinces your mind that it is time to go to sleep! Besides a good-smelling house, many herbs and essential oils have proven benefits for relaxation.
You can read more about natural anxiety remedies where you’ll find that lavender and lemon balm in particular have amazing effects on stress and insomnia.
Read more about natural sleep supplements here.
Need we say more? While you might be tempted to read a book on your phone, or have a bad habit of getting stuck scrolling through social media, we’re here to say a small light to see and an ol’ paperback are your best bet for getting ready to sleep.
It helps you to de-stress (choose light reading material), improves quality of sleep, and reading before bed can even increase concentration overall.
Reading has also been proven to reduce insomnia. Unlike staring at your phone screen, a book will de-stimulate your mind and allow you to naturally fall asleep while naturally avoiding screens.
Try to choose something that you can get a little sucked into that isn’t too dramatic, exciting or emotion-evoking. Inspirational reads are great to shift you into a positive mindset before you enter dreamland, and some good fiction is a nice way to forget about the stressors of the day and enter someone else’s head for a little bit.
Journaling is a powerful tool. It essentially has the ability to take all those stray thoughts running around in your head and keeping you up past bedtime and put them somewhere else to rest for the night.
You can read more about the benefits of journaling here. It can force you into the present moment where it’s easiest to find some peace and quiet, help you get organized for the next day, or simply help you to focus on what’s positive in your life!
Try gratitude journaling to begin with, just by writing down three things you are thankful for. It will take just a few minutes, but it has big benefits.
Another form is called bullet journaling, in which you avoid “big” prompts and long periods of writing in favor of list and bullet writing; you can check things off your to-do list, organize yourself for the day ahead, or simply write down some good memories you made that day.
The bullet journal is a great way to tap into the present moment and focus on the positive aspects of your life.
7. Yoga or stretching
Like meditation itself and colouring, yoga can put the brain into a meditative state, preparing it to shut down for the night. Opting for yoga versus movement that is more stimulating is a great way to squeeze in some exercise with sleep benefits.
Even just stretching or foam rolling (read about how to get started) can be a great way to wind down, as it addresses both physical and mental factors. Set up a relaxing space – preferably outside of the bedroom – where you can set up a yoga mat and get grounded before sweet dreaming.
Find some peace
Write it out
Don’t forget, it’s not just about your habits! It’s important to focus on sleep hygiene. Setting yourself up in the proper sleeping environment by creating a cool, dark and silent space is vital to a good night’s sleep.
If you’re having trouble doing it on your own, consider joining our FREE 7-Day Sleep Challenge which includes an eBook to school you on slumber, a coach and access to our community to join others who want better rest too.
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