If you don’t sleep well and deal with sleep issues, chances are you’ve tried a lot of approaches to deal with the problem. Many people immediately turn to substances like Benadryl to help sleep or even prescription sleep aids. Ironically, what many people tend to underestimate in the battle for sleep are smaller, behavioral changes.
In terms of making lasting changes to sleep issues like insomnia, disrupted sleep, or other issues, sleep experts often make recommendations related to “sleep hygiene,” part of which is your nighttime routine. In fact, developing a good bedtime routine can be a huge step in dealing with your sleep issues.
Maybe you’ve been a bit lackadaisical in your nightly habits, or you’re not sure what a good nightly routine looks like. To help with this, we’ve created a sample nighttime routine, to help you get an idea of what changes you might want to make, and how they can help. There are two main goals here: to create a routine that creates sense sensations associated with bed, and to prevent the outside world from invading your rest.
1. Slip into Your Jammies
When it comes to setting a bedtime routine, the goal is mainly getting yourself to, even subconsciously, associate your routine with sleep. In theory, this should make getting to sleep easier. A lot of this is sense-based. Putting on comfy PJs can signal that your day is coming to an end, and it’s time to rest.
2. Put Down the Phone
This one is pretty obvious. One of the worst things you can do when trying to set a bedtime routine is to let yourself get sucked back into the waking world. So set your phone on silent, or turn it off completely. If you like to read, it’s best to use a physical book or an e-reader, instead of getting something on your phone.
3. A Nice Herbal Tea
A nice warm-decaffeinated!-beverage is another great way to get yourself in the mood for sleep. Make it a sort of bedtime treat, and the last thing you consume before bed so that you again have another sense of sensation associated with the bed; this time, a delicious warm tea.
4. Keep a Diary
Keeping a journal might seem time-consuming, but it can have great benefits. Specifically, it can serve as a debrief on your day. This allows you to go over what happened during your day, and externalize any worries or issues you might have. This is great for helping you put down your anxieties, and take a step away from the waking world of cares and worries.
5. Set the Scent: Diffuser
It might not seem particularly necessary, but there can be a lot of rewards for using an essential oil diffuser. A lot of people swear by them. But one of the most practical uses is, again, establishing a sense of sensation with the bed. If you use lavender every night before bed, for example, the scent will help your body and mind relax and get to sleep easier.
6. Dim the Lights
This is another sensation. Human rest best in the dark, but dimming your lights before you even turn them all off is another great way to use your senses to your advantage. Dim lights can help your mind realize it’s time to sleep.
7. Listen to relaxing music
The final sense we’re going to use is hearing. Set your bedtime scene with a little night music. Something soft and comforting is a great way to ensure that your mind is sensually ready to slip into dreamland.
8. Read a Book
Finally, you can step back from your day, and focus your mind on something else. Books are a good choice because unlike other entertainment, you have to focus your mind and eyes on them without being excited by visuals or loud noises. This helps your senses remain focused on the other sensations we’ve already established.
Setting your bedtime environment up with attention to all five of the senses is a great way to help yourself subconsciously enter a state of easier sleep. A sense routine of Comfy clothes for touch, a nice tea for taste, dim lights for sight, a diffuser for sent, and relaxing music for hearing, all help to create a good sleep environment. Keeping your mind off your worries by avoiding your phone and reading a book also helps to make sleep easier. Whatever bedtime routine you use, the key is consistency. Eventually, if repeated enough, your body should begin to associate your nightly behavior with sleep and help you drift quietly off into slumberland.