5 Steps for Creating a Healthy Nighttime Routine

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: good sleep is vital for optimal health. When you’re well-rested, the sun seems to shine a little brighter, your thoughts appear a little more positive, and your energy levels seem great… when you’re not well-rested, the opposite (or worse) can be true. We know sleep is important, but many of us still aren’t getting what we need.

We can’t give you an extra hour in bed, but we can give you some tips for structuring a great bedtime routine that will have you ready to catch some z’s in no time.

1. Keep a concrete schedule
Your body’s internal clock is a powerful force. By keeping a consistent sleep and wake time, you’re essentially setting your inner alarm clock and creating a predictable pattern for your body to follow. As you settle into these patterns, your body will begin to sense when bedtime is nearing, and start settling on its own, cutting down on the time you spend lying awake in your bed, waiting to fall asleep.

2. Give yourself time to decompress
Experts recommend shutting off all screens at least an hour before bedtime. We know, it can be hard to put the devices down… the glow of the screen and ping of the notifications are designed to lure you back in and make it hard to leave.

Try replacing your evening social media binge or television time with something a little more soothing like reading, gentle yoga, meditation, or a warm bath. This might require a little tough love and willpower at first– it’s important to turn off your devices completely, so you won’t be tempted the moment you hear a notification or get bored and pick it up out of habit. Make your evening routine something enjoyable, and even a bit indulgent, so it becomes something you look forward to.

3. Cut caffeine at least hours prior to bedtime
Tossing and turning in bed with racing thoughts is the last thing anyone wants to do after lights-out time. Put your coffee mug away for the day by early afternoon to avoid restlessness. If you find yourself craving a warm beverage in the evening, reach for a cup of decaf or caffeine-free tea.

4. Create a comfortable atmosphere
Take some time to survey your bedroom. Is it dark enough? Quiet enough? What about the temperature? Is your bedding comfortable? What kind of clothing do you like to sleep in? Investing in these comforts will ensure that when you finally make it to your bed, environmental factors won’t stand in your way to dreamland.

5. Clear your mind
If worries or your never-ending, to-do list are keeping you from nodding off, try keeping a notepad on your nightstand next to your bed so you can jot down whatever is keeping you awake. Once you’ve written the idea down, let it go. It’s on paper, so you know it will be there again tomorrow.

Good sleep is one of the greatest investments you can make in your overall health; it impacts everything from your focus to your appearance. Try these five steps to ensure that you’re setting yourself up for success when the lights go out.

This blog is not intended to provide diagnosis, treatment or medical advice. Content is for informational purposes only. Please consult with a physician or other healthcare professional regarding any medical or health related diagnosis or treatment options.