4 Best Night Time Routines to Help You Sleep Better
When we're kids, we have perfect nighttime routines - our parents make sure of it. But as we grow older, routines can get lost and we can stumble to bed at different times each night, throwing off our sleep schedule and meaning we get poor sleep.
Getting a good night's sleep is essential to our health and so setting up a good nighttime routine can help you to fall asleep easier and improve your sleep quality once you are asleep. Healthy sleep can help you to feel energized and ready for the day ahead, and it contributes to good overall health.
We've been doing some research into bedtime routines and how they can help you to sleep better. In this blog post, we're going to look at why we need healthy sleep, what outside factors can affect healthy sleep and be a hindrance to falling asleep easily, why bedtime routines can help you sleep better, and what the best nightly bedtime routine options are for you.
To find out more, keep reading now.
Why do we need a good night's sleep?
So, why do we need good sleep?
Sleep is absolutely essential to a healthy body and good quality sleep helps to ensure your body is functioning at its best. Sleep allows your body to reset and recharge and gives time for restoration. During sleep, your body can heal and can fight off disease.
Poor sleep or lack of enough sleep can impair brain function, making you feel drowsy and sleepy the next day. It can affect concentration and focus, making it more difficult for you to get work done and progress. It is also bad for general health and can lead to weight gain and lack of energy.
As adults, it is recommended that we get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. While getting lots of sleep can seem like a good idea, the upper limit of nine hours is recommended as too much sleep can also cause issues!
While some people do struggle to sleep, this is usually short-lived or can be solved with some tweaks to their daily habits. If you find that you're struggling to sleep constantly, it may be time to book in to see your GP and learn more about sleep disorders.
To find out more about what outside factors can affect your sleep quality, take a look at the next section!
What affects sleep quality?
Sleep quality is affected by quite a variety of factors, from the food we eat before bed to the noise in the room we sleep. Check out our detailed list below.
- Food and drink. Different food and drink can keep you awake for longer, whereas others can actually help to send you off into a peaceful sleep. It is recommended that you avoid caffeinated drinks before bed, so cutting down on your coffee and green tea intake is a good idea. Additionally, sugary foods and foods high in saturated fats are thought to keep you awake while grains, like oats and brown rice, are thought to help you to sleep. Alcohol is also warned against for a good night's sleep as it can affect REM sleep. It is best for your overall health to follow a diet high in plant foods, good fats, like extra virgin olive oil, and grains.
- Environment. Trying to sleep in a noisy environment can hinder your sleep, as can a room with too much light. Getting your sleep environment just right can ensure you fall asleep quickly and peacefully.
- Light. And in the same way that a room with too much light can disrupt your sleep, not getting enough natural light during the day can also mess with your sleep schedule. Try going for a walk during the day and soaking up the suns rays (while wearing SPF, of course) and see if it helps you fall asleep more easily.
- Jet lag and shift work. Those who work shifts or travel a lot may find they struggle to sleep more often. This is because the changes in bedtime and sleep schedule can disrupt your natural circadian rhythm and have you feeling sleepy during the day and wide awake at night.
- Medication. There are tonnes of medications that can affect sleep. From antihistamines which can cause drowsiness to beta-blockers and antidepressants that both disrupt REM sleep, prescription medication can cause upheaval in your sleep.
- Anxiety and stress. Overthinking and worrying can keep you awake. If you are feeling heightened anxiety or stress, consider ways to de-stress before bed to ensure it doesn't keep you awake.
How a good bedtime routine can help you fall asleep easier
Having a sleep routine is a great way for you to get better sleep. This is because humans are creatures of habit. So, by performing the same nightly routine, we're more likely to fall into restful sleep than if our routine constantly changes.
By repeating the same habits before bed each night, your body begins to associate them with sleep which can be the first step to improving any difficulty falling asleep. As you repeat these actions around bedtime, your body and mind begin to see this as the separation between daytime and nighttime.
As well as the psychological component, a consistent nighttime routine can help you feel relaxed and help you to wind down from the day. By incorporating relaxation techniques into your night routine, you can ensure you're in a calm space before bed.
Keep reading now to find some great night routine ideas.
4 best nighttime routine ideas to try for better sleep
We've done some research into the different kinds of routines you can use to get you in the headspace for sleep and that will help you to fall asleep more easily and improve sleep quality overall. To find out more, keep reading.
Plan for a successful tomorrow
If your problem with waking up on time is the thought of the day ahead, then there are a few things you can do to get you ready for the next day.
To begin with, you could do your morning chores the night before. If there are things you need to do each morning but that can be done on an evening, then why not switch it up and do those annoying chores before you go to bed. This frees up time in the morning and can help you not dread getting up!
As well as getting a jump on your chores, you could try making a to-do list for the next day. This means you wake up knowing exactly what you've got to do that day. You could also layout tomorrow's outfit, get overnight oats with dried fruit ready for breakfast, and then take some time to destress before bed.
Destressing options include journaling as bedtime writing can help you to get your worries out, taking a warm bath with relaxing Epsom salts or practising some calming yoga.
Relax and wind down
The next night routine option we've found is the relax and wind down before bed choice. This means taking the time to ease yourself into a restful nights sleep.
One of the first things that you can do is to stop caffeine after 3 pm. This can help your body to slowly relax and you won't be wide awake into the night with caffeine coursing through your veins. So, make sure to quit your coffee or tea before 3 pm, perhaps switching to something calming like chamomile tea or valerian root tea.
Even though exercise is really good for your health, it’s not great for sleep. Try to refrain from any strenuous exercise in the hours preceding your bedtime to ensure you don't inadvertently wake your body back up. Put down those resistance bands and opt for a calming nighttime yoga flow to relax you into a peaceful sleep.
As well as a calming flow, you could also try some mindfulness meditation. Meditating in the hours before sleep, concentrating on your breath, and taking some time for yourself can be a great way to settle into a restful mood before bed. Meditation is one of our favourite sleeping habits as it encourages mindfulness as well as relaxation and can boost your mental health too.
Finally, you could listen to calming music, a podcast, or some white noise to help you to ease your body into calmness and go to bed in a calm and relaxed mood.
As we previously discussed, humans are creatures of habit. This means that performing specific rituals that remain the same each night before bed can help you to ease into sleep, fall asleep, and stay asleep! Below, we have a few suggestions for rituals you could try out.
You could try creating a step-by-step skincare ritual where you move through the same steps each night to treat your skin with kindness and create a new ritual that your body begins to associate with sleep. Try using calming products, like this hydrating night cream, or a face mask that uses calming and soothing ingredients, like this rose face mask.
Another great ritual you could try is stopping using technology, like phones and laptops, that comes with a blue light. This blue light is known to keep you awake which is why you should remove technology from your bedroom and stop using it before bed. You could instead set a time where you move to your bedroom and read or journal to relax your mind and find a new way to fall asleep.
There are tonnes of rituals that you could start, from sipping a relaxing tea and reflecting on the day, spending some time with your thoughts to taking a hot bath with a relaxing essential oil and reading a few chapters of a joyful book. Setting rituals is a great way of forcing your brain to understand that it is sleep time now.
Create a sleep mood
Setting the scene for a relaxing sleep is almost as good as getting that night of restful sleep!
You could start by dimming the lights in the room you sleep in. By slowly reducing the amount of light in the room, your body will slowly sink into a restful state. As well as the light, your sleep depends on your body temperature and so you should make sure that your room is a good temperature for your body. Not too hot and not too cold so that your body temperature can settle for sleep.
You could also try some aromatherapy before bed. This could mean setting a relaxing reed diffuser in your room or diffusing a relaxing essential oil blend, or even a simple lavender or chamomile oil, into your room before you sleep.
Creating a calming environment for your bedroom is a good step to take to ensure you feel ready for bed when you do sleep. This sort of routine can help to let your brain know it is time for bed.
What to do if you can't sleep
While there are many reasons you may not be able to sleep, if it is a persistent problem, you should speak with your GP about the possibility of sleep disorders.
If your sleep problems are due to outside issues, you could try a few of our routine suggestions, as well as using a calming sleep mist on your pillow and ensuring you don't just lie awake. If you cannot sleep, it is not helpful to simply lie there. You should get up after twenty minutes of not being able to sleep and try to do something. You could try reading or journaling but shouldn't do anything that will wake your body up even more.
On the other hand, sleeping too much is also just as bad as not sleeping enough. If you are finding you're sleeping too much, try to change your sleep routines and ensure you set alarms to wake up on time.
The amount we sleep has such a huge impact on our health that we need to ensure we're getting the right amount and that the sleep we're getting is of good quality. Setting a new night routine can help you to relax into sleep and can trick your body into thinking it is time for bed.
There are lots of different routine styles to choose from, from relaxing and unwinding to setting up your day for tomorrow to ensure you feel energized to get out of bed. You can use aromatherapy, relaxation techniques and even meditation to relax and unwind before bed.
We also really recommend journaling your thoughts before sleep. This kind of reflection can help you to jot down the worries that could keep you awake, and reflect on the day to help you feel gratitude for what you have. Sleep can seriously affect not only physical health but also your mental health too which means that setting up a good routine can help you to sleep better and can help to calm your mind before bed.
Your sleep routine is entirely up to you and what works for you. You could try out a mix of our suggestions here to create the perfect routine for you to fall into quality sleep.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to make a good bedtime routine?
Your bedtime routine can really affect how you sleep. Winding down before bed is essential to restful and restorative sleep. Setting up a good routine could involve dimming the lights and diffusing some lavender essential oil, while you sip a relaxing tea and read a joyful book. You should try to avoid using technology before bed too and ensure you don't eat too soon before bed. The idea of a routine is to build habits that can trick your brain into knowing it is time for sleep.
How important is a bedtime routine?
As creatures of habit, humans can really benefit from routine. Having a bedtime routine that you stick to can help to train your brain to recognise these actions as the rituals you perform before bed. This will help your brain to separate daytime and nighttime and will help your body to relax and unwind. A good bedtime routine is important to help you to fall asleep and stay asleep.
What is a good bedtime for a 12-year old?
Twelve-year-olds, on average, sleep between 9 and 12 hours, though most hover around the 9 hours mark. At this age, you may be considering moving bedtime a little later which means choosing a bedtime that allows the child to get enough sleep while also allowing a little more leniency with the time. A good time for sleep is usually between 8.30 pm and 9.30 pm, depending on the wake time of the child.
How long should your bedtime routine be?
Your bedtime routine can be anything from ten minutes to two hours before bed, it entirely depends on how long it takes you to wind down. While some people choose to start winding down with a skincare routine and a good book, hours before bed, others may find it takes just a quick cup of tea and a short yoga flow to find sleep. Find what works for you and stick with it.