Ah, the nighttime routine. It’s something everyone should have but few of us actually do. Maybe you do have a routine but you’ve never realized it. It’s something that you should truly try to perfect if you really want to increase the quality of your sleep – and your life.
I know from having children that lack of sleep has all sorts of unfriendly benefits on life. I can remember nodding off during massages, taking naps at all hours of the day, losing focus at work, the list goes on. Imagine always getting a poor quality of sleep – maybe that’s why you are reading this? Well, I feel for you. Because the downsides of losing sleep, as explained by “sleep experts” are pretty rough.
The Downsides of Losing Sleep
The negative health effects of losing sleep…
Hopefully after reading that, you’re motivated to do anything possible to get more and better sleep. So let’s get into a nighttime sleep routine.
It’s Easy to Sleep, But Not to Fall Asleep
Once you get to sleep, hopefully that is the easy part. The hard part is actually turning your mind off, then drifting off into slumberland. Turning your mind off is actually one of the biggest benefits to a nighttime routine. Think about the last time you caught a ball that someone threw you. Did you actually think about lifting your arms, opening your hands, and moving them to the correct spot to grasp the incoming ball? NO! You just reacted. You didn’t think about. That’s what a routine does for you – it gives you a pattern to follow so that you don’t have to think, you just do.
Steps You Can Take to Build a Pre-Sleep Routine
Everyone is different – therefore your nighttime routine won’t be the same as mine. Everyone has different work schedules, life schedules and dinner schedules. So make sure to experiment with your routine – it’s not something you’ll nail on the first shot. It’s going to take some trial and error to find the perfect routine.
Here are a few steps to take to ensure you can build a routine that gets your mind and body prepared for a restful sleep.
- Turn off the distractions
- Make your bed, then get into it
- Get your clothes ready for tomorrow
- Read a book
- Kiss your spouse
- Set your alarm
- Stretch and/or meditate
Turn off the distractions
It makes sense, turn off your TV (if you ask me I don’t even think you should have a TV in your bedroom) as well as any other distractions in your room or in your routine. Maybe your fan is too loud – get a new one! Can you simplify the way you put your kids to bed? Is your dog(s) or cat(s) bed or crate in the way at night – maybe put them outside your room.
And the ultimate distraction – your phone! Avoid this like the plague right before bed. Try to limit your phone usage to only setting your alarm right before bed. I know it’s hard. You want to check Facebook.. and Instagram.. and Snapchat.. and your emails one more time. But fight the urge. If you end up checking every single social media outlet then your brain instantly kicks back on right before bed. It won’t be put in a good place no matter what you watch on your phone.
Make your bed, then get into it
Have you ever noticed when you get into a bed at a hotel how nice it is? The sheets are crisp and the pillows so fluffy. This untucking of the bed and sliding into fresh sheets gives you a calming feeling of getting into something that clean and ready for you. If your bed hasn’t had new sheets in 2 months and they’re sloppily strewn across your king size bed, leaving you to fight for them before getting into bed you definitely won’t have that sense of calm.
So try this trick – if your bed isn’t made already, completely make the bed the get into it and tuck yourself in. It’s amazing how doing this can give you a sense of organization and accomplishment. And it’s one more way to distract your mind from anything else that might be going through it.
Get your clothes ready for tomorrow
This is not only a great routine for your nighttime sleep habits, but great for your mornings too. It takes away decision making in the morning, leaving more brain power for other tasks when you wake up. Preparing your clothes at night should be a staple in your nighttime routine.
Read a book
I don’t recommend this often because too many people start reading on their iPhone. If you have an actual book – then go for it. Reading can put your mind at ease if you’re reading something that is mildly interested. If it’s a Stephen King novel, then you might want to stay away. Too much stimulation while preparing for bed will keep your mind reeling, which is not something you want.
Kiss your spouse
Never go to bed angry – that’s my motto. If you have a significant other sleeping next to you, then make sure you two aren’t bickering before hitting the sack. Angry thoughts and feelings right before you go to sleep can lead to bad dreams and worse – problems with your spouse. So keep this simple rule close to heart and your sleep (and your life) will improve!
Set your alarm
Set your alarm at night (if you need one). This is simple part of your routine that you probably have anyway.
Stretch and/or meditate
Stretching is a great way to loosen your ligaments and “oil” your muscles – leaving you relaxed and ready for bed. Meditating can be a fantastic way to calm your mind and body before bed. It can get you into a peaceful state of mind that allows you to drift off into slumber so much easier.
Hopefully you can take a few things away to make your nighttime routine that much better. It’s a trial and error process, but once you find something that suites you, your sleep can be transformed.