I think most of us could use a bit more sleep… am I right? Or, at the very least, better quality sleep. This is exactly why today we’re talking about creating a bedtime routine!
You might remember that I started a series awhile back on how to get better sleep. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the previous posts: Part 1: How to Get Better Sleep and Part 2: How to Relax Before Bed
Alright, here’s the deal: our bodies function best on a consistent sleep schedule. In order to get the deepest sleep possible, we need to get in touch with our natural circadian rhythm (aka sleep/wake cycle) and have a consistent bedtime and wake-up time every day of the week.
So, here’s how to create a bedtime routine!
1. Set a regular bedtime
I know this first step might seem silly and obvious, but how many of us don’t have a regular bedtime and then wonder why our sleep is inconsistent and our bodies don’t feel rested?
Begin by listening to your body and noticing what time you naturally start to feel sleepy. What I’ve noticed from my own experiences and talking with others is that each of us tend to have our own sleep schedule that makes us feel rested. Some folks thrive as “night owls” while others prefer to be “early risers.” Although work schedules might interfere with your desired bedtime and rising time, try to follow your body’s natural clock as much as possible.
Once you pick a bedtime, be consistent in following it. This will help your body to expect sleep and you will have better quality sleep as a result. If you must adjust your bedtime, try to adjust it in small, 15-minute increments so that it does not cause a huge shift all at once.
2. Create a bedtime routine
Once you have your bedtime set, assign yourself a time to start getting ready for bed each night. This can be anywhere from a half hour before bed to an hour and a half.
One of the keys I’ve found to being able to keep a consistent bedtime is planning time to relax before bed. Ideally, I like to start getting ready for bed about an hour before I actually want to be asleep. In Part 2 of this series, I shared my tips for How to Relax Before Bed. Some of my favorites include taking a bath, listening to music or podcasts, drinking Natural Calm (a magnesium supplement) which helps to ease stress, and reading a book.
A lot of us neglect this simple step and then we hop into bed, find our minds still racing from the day, and toss and turn for hours trying to wind down. Instead, be proactive and train your body to relax, which will help to promote consistent and deeper sleep!