If you have kids, you already understand the importance of routine for your children when it comes to bedtime. Sing a favorite song, eat a snack, brush your teeth, and then go to bed. The more routine, the easier it is to escape to dreamland.
But did you know the same is true for you as well? In fact, your children aren't the only ones who benefit from a nighttime routine. You have just as much to gain by establishing one yourself.
Falling Asleep 101
As your body prepares to fall asleep, a number of different things are actually happening. The first thing to happen is that your body begins to naturally produce melatonin.
Melatonin is a hormone produced in your brain's pineal gland and is considered your body's internal clock. This hormone helps to regulate your wake and sleep cycle and is directly connected to the amount of light you are exposed to. If you work night shifts, the difficulties you may have sleeping during the day due to rooms that are too bright are directly connected to melatonin.
In addition to the production of melatonin, your body's internal temperature will also begin to drop. This is why you often hear that you should keep your bedroom cool at night. A cooler bedroom helps your body's temperature drop more quickly, which helps you to both go to sleep and stay asleep. If you've ever tried to fall asleep when your bedroom is really hot, you understand that it's not easy to get comfortable enough for a restful night's sleep.
Physiologically, melatonin and body temperature are the two main reasons you fall asleep. But in reality, it's not often that easy. You also need to make sure that you can shut off your mind, and have some time to unwind. That's where a nighttime routine comes into play.
The nighttime routine sends your body the clues it needs to prepare for sleep. After some time and repetition, your body will understand that when you perform this routine, you fall asleep soon. It starts making the necessary adjustments so that you can get to sleep sooner.
Why Do You Need a Routine?
Whether or not you realize it, our bodies are regulated by routine. That's why you tend to wake up around the same time every day, even when you have the chance to sleep in. It's the same reason your body will tell you that it's hungry and tired at just about the same time every day. Our bodies naturally begin to start biological processes to prepare us for a task.
A nighttime routine does just that: it prepares your body for the fact that sleep is about to come. For adults, that might look a bit different than for children. But the same concept still applies: it allows you to take the time to unwind and allow your body to really relax in preparation for your sleep.
In today's day and age, it's common to check social media and emails right before bed. But in reality, it's actually a bad idea.
First, it stimulates your brain, which prevents you from quickly calming down. In addition, the blue light that comes from your phone actually slows the biological process down, as well. It inhibits your body's natural melatonin production, which is specifically designed to help you sleep.
So before bed, you may want to put down the phone. But what activities would actually be a good idea to help you unwind and relax? Let’s explore.
What Is A Good Routine?
Going to bed around the same time of the day is a good place to start. Of course, we all know that's not always possible. Kids, late shifts, and get-togethers on weekends, quickly get in the way. But at least during the week, you need to try to go to bed around the same time every day. Doing so helps your body get into a consistent rhythm, which means you will fall asleep easier, and hopefully have a better night's rest.
In addition to establishing a regular bedtime, your routine can take as little as 15 minutes or be up to 30 minutes long. It tends to consist of doing something you find calming. For example, make yourself your favorite light snack or drink before bed. While you eat and drink, you can watch your favorite show or read a book to relax your mind and calm your body down from the stresses of the day.
Alternatively, consider listening to music. You can also meditate, pray, or perform light exercises or light yoga poses to help your body calm down. If you are the type of person who lays restless in bed and can't seem to turn your mind off, consider a regular routine of writing down a list of reminders. Putting on paper what goes through your mind allows you to stop thinking about it because you don't have to worry about forgetting it right before bed.
Of course, these are only a few suggestions to include in your routine. In reality, any activity that you find calming and soothing, such as putting together a puzzle, works equally well. The key is the calming aspect of the activity, as well as the importance of doing it every night. That way, your body will get the message that it's time to get ready for bed, produce melatonin, and get ready for a good and restful night's sleep.Stress is a common part of all of our lives. A nighttime routine is not just beneficial for your sleep but also acts as a soothing retreat at the end of every day. So find what calms you down and create a nighttime routine to help you to sleep like a baby. For more tips on getting a good night’s sleep, contact us!