Are You Getting Enough Sleep? Here's How You Can Create a Bedtime Routine That Works
After a long, tiring day, you probably want nothing more than to sleep like a baby. But you’ve most likely experienced this: you end up falling asleep much later and not having enough of it, or worse, you do get enough sleep but you still wake up feeling tired. These are signs of poor sleep quality, which means you're not getting the deep, restorative rest you need.
According to sleep medicine physician Dr. Carolina Marcus, “the two most important elements of good sleep are consistent hours and a sufficient duration of sleep.” Consistency, as with most things in life, is still the key. And research further highlights its importance.
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Published in the journal Scientific Reports, a study found that “the more irregular [the] sleep patterns, the higher the risk for obesity, hypertension, elevated blood sugar, and the higher the projected risk of developing heart disease over the next decade.” Sleeping at regular times, the research says, “is likely to have a large impact on overall health, as well as a person’s mood, stress, and energy levels, and ability to function well during the day.”
How do you achieve a regular sleep schedule?
Get started by considering your evening activities. You may not feel it but they have an impact on your ability to sleep well and on time. If your mind and body are not primed to sleep at night, it’ll be more difficult to doze off, resulting in an erratic sleep pattern.
A bedtime routine may just be what you need. After all, routines act as cues for our brains. If you can engage in activities that promote good sleep and you keep practicing that routine, you'll soon find yourself effortlessly enjoying a good night’s sleep every night.
4 ways to get started on a bedtime routine:
Figure out your optimal sleep schedule
The first step is to recognize your circadian rhythm, which is your natural body clock. Remember, we all have different body clocks and lifestyles. Consider your natural patterns and the daily situation in deciding on your bedtime and wake-up time. This way, it’ll be easier for you to commit to it.
Once you’ve determined a sleep-wake schedule, try setting set an alarm between 30 minutes to two hours before bed so you can begin your “closing ritual.”
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Pick a closing ritual
In his book The Mystery of Sleep, professor Meir Kryger explains, “for most of us it is the mind, rather than the body, that disrupts restorative sleep.” Thus, it’s essential to have an activity that will help you unwind and clear your mind. This “closing ritual” will help your brain recognize that it’s almost time for some shut-eye.
If you have a skincare routine, that can count as a closing ritual. Perhaps you like listening to music, an audiobook, or a podcast? Or maybe you’d like to drink your favorite tea or take a warm bath? As your daily mini me-time, just keep it simple, and find what works for you.
Put your room on sleep mode
Ensure your environment invites sleepiness. Make the room as dark and quiet as possible and don't forget that room temperature is important, too; keep your room cool as it is more conducive to falling asleep. Lastly, you can’t go wrong with a high-quality mattress–a true investment in your health.
Say goodbye to screen time (one hour before your bedtime)
Science has proven that staying on your digital devices at night is a huge barrier to good sleep. These electronics emit blue light, which blocks the production of melatonin, the hormone that causes drowsiness.
It’s best to set aside your gadgets at least an hour before your bedtime as doing so will help you drift off to dreamland more quickly and deeply.
READ: Simple Bedroom Tweaks That Can Help You Sleep Better at Night
Do you have a sleep routine in place? What are you go-to hacks so you can enjoy a more restful slumber? Share it with us by leaving a comment on Facebook!
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