Having a sleep routine might sound like something you only need to do when you’re a kid, but studies have shown that most adults don’t have any structure before going to bed, and often find it hard to fall asleep when they want to. If you have sleep problems such as insomnia, struggle to go to sleep, or want to start falling asleep earlier, then making some time for a sleep routine in the evening can be very beneficial.
How will a sleep routine help me?
- If your mind is very active, it will help calm your thoughts and soothe the inner chatter.
- By going to bed the same time every night and repeating that regular pattern, you will be conditioning your body and mind to realise it’s time to go to sleep.
- Many activities you do in the evening can be overstimulating, by having a sleep routine it will help avoid those things and assist you to relax.
- A sleep routine does not have to start at a specific time in the evening for it to work, for example if you are someone who works in the evening then find a time that suits you but just make sure to keep that time consistent.
- A sleep routine also doesn’t have to be in the same place each night for it to work. If you go on holiday or often work abroad, you can use your sleep routine the same as you would at home, but again just try to keep sticking to the same time each night.
What Time Should I Start My Routine?
Generally, the earlier you start in the evening the better. However, for some of you this is a bit harder if you work during the day, or have evening plans, or are busy looking after your kids. So, a good time to start unwinding down might be 9pm, as often the good TV programmes start then and watching these kinds of things late at night will stimulate the mind, making it harder to relax and fall asleep later. Instead, record the television you want to watch and save it for another day to watch in the daytime or earlier in the evening.
What Kind of Activities Should I Do as Part of My Sleep Routine?
When it comes to turning off your TV or devices late at night, many of you will have a tough time making it happen. But these kinds of activities stimulate the mind, making it a lot harder to switch off and go to sleep. To help you, here is a list of calming activities you could do as part of your sleep routine:
- Stretches – Stretches are a great way to get your body ready for sleep. It’s a very gentle form of exercise meaning it won’t get you too “energised” as instead it will gently tire out your muscles so your body will feel more relaxed. If you suffer from pain, it’s also a great way to help reduce your pain levels and make you more comfortable in bed.
- Hygiene – Incorporating a hygiene routine into your evening is a simple but effective way to help prompt your body to realise you’re starting to wind down to get ready for sleep. This will include things like getting dressed into your pyjamas, brushing your teeth, washing your face etc…
- Tidy your room – This doesn’t mean vacuuming your room at 10pm and working up a sweat! It means putting those dirty clothes in the laundry basket, clearing up the clutter on your desk and tidying your bedside table. Just by having a tidy room it puts your mind at ease and is more conducive to a good night sleep.
- Get ready for the next day – Organise anything you need for the next day. This might be getting out the clothes you’re going to wear tomorrow, sorting out your workbag, or making your lunch. This will help you in the morning to avoid that manic last minute rush to get everything ready!
- Write everything down – Make it a habit before getting into bed to write down anything you need to do tomorrow, or any ideas you need to get down on paper. This will settle your mind and help you become more organised.
- Listen to gentle music – Playing calm, gentle music will get you in the mood for bed. Pick music such as acoustic or a chill playlist on Spotify as the tone and pace of the music will reflect on your mood, so don’t go picking any emotional or party songs!
- Reading – Reading is a great way to relax the mind and is a much better activity to take up in the evening than television, as it’s less stimulating for the mind. However, you don’t want to be reading a scary book or something fast pace late at night, as remember reading a book is very similar to music in the way the tone and pace of the book can reflect on your mood. Stick to something that is going to make you feel calm and relaxed, and save those psychological thrillers for the daytime! It’s also a great idea if you have a Lumie Bodyclock to allow the 30-minute sunset to start, because as the light dims you’ll get to a point where you can’t read anymore so you have to put your book down and go to sleep.
- Meditate – Some people like to meditate first thing in the morning, others prefer to meditate at night. If you prefer to meditate at night, it’s a great way to help calm your mind and settle you into sleep. If you meditate in the morning, then in the evening you might prefer to listen to some relaxation tapes or a sleep meditation (you can also find loads of free relaxation tapes on YouTube or Spotify).
- Reflect – After your meditation/relaxation, this is a perfect time to reflect upon the day. Make a mental note of things you were grateful for today and list three positives about the day. After this, a good way to bring yourself to the present moment is by going through the day in your head, from the moment you wake up all the way up until where you are now. It doesn’t need to take long, just a few key moments throughout the day to help bring you to the present moment, then take some nice deep breaths, and your mind should be ready for sleep.
An example of a bedtime routine might be:
- Tidy Room 9:00-9:05pm
- Get ready for the next day 9:05-9:15pm
- Stretches 9:15-9:35pm
- Hygiene 9:35-9:50pm
- Write everything down 9:50-9:55pm
- Meditate and reflect 9:55-10:15
- Reading 10:15-10:35
- Lumie Bodyclock 30-minute sunset 10:15-10:45
Hopefully by the time you’ve completed your calming activities and get into bed, you’ll be ready to go to sleep straight away.
Remember a bedtime routine is something you need to do long-term for it to be effective, and after a while it will become second nature to you and you’ll find going to sleep a lot easier. Let me know what you do for your bedtime routine in the comments below.
Metta, E xx