A good night’s sleep is a great way to relax and unwind at the end of each day. It is a valuable time to relax your body and mind and prepare it for a good night’s sleep. That good night’s sleep will not only leave you rested and energized, but your body needs this time for its many cleaning and restorative activities. Your body does a lot of important work while you’re sleeping.
Science tells us that sleep is an essential ingredient in our most optimal living. Contrary to the grind the Western culture often glorifies, consistently getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best ways to up your energy, well-being, and productivity.
Creating rituals around your sleep is also a great self-care tool. Be a little kinder to yourself and create an end-of-day routine that brings you a lot of joy.
Setting Up for Sleep Success
Before we dive into the 5 tips for the perfect bedtime routine, we want to begin by setting up for sleep success. Preparation for a good night’s sleep is actually happening all day, every day so, here are a few ideas to set the groundwork.
1. Create an Environment that Supports Your Sleep
As much as possible, you want to create an environment that supports your sleep. The ideal room is dark and quiet. It’s also great if your workspace and your sleep space are separate so that your sleep space is relaxing and calming and not a reminder of the many things you have to do. Keeping your sleep space tidy and uncluttered will also contribute to a mindset that reflects that.
2. Limit Your Caffeine
Caffeine stays in your body long after you’ve enjoyed that caffeinated beverage. Limiting caffeine intake after 3 pm will go a long way to supporting your body in having a restful sleep several hours later.
3. Move Your Body
When you move your body throughout the day, you are also creating greater sleep conditions. This might be a great workout or getting in those 10,000 steps. A nice tired body will be more inclined to fall asleep, and you’ll feel so much better.
4. Create a Sleep Ritual
The next step is to create a sleep ritual. This is outlined in the next section. The body loves a good routine, and creating a ritual you enjoy, it will not only be physically beneficial but be a nurturing experience that you look forward to.
5 Tips for the Perfect Bedtime Routine
Here are 5 tips for the perfect bedtime routine. Start where you can. Simple and consistent is what matters most. Experiment and refine until you find the routine that works for you. Creating a routine that you enjoy will make all the difference.
1. Timing is Everything
Ideally, you want to aim for 8 hours of sleep. Allow 1 – 2 hours before you’re going to go to sleep for your sleep ritual. A regular routine is welcome by your body. Of course, there will be times where you stay up later but, if your routine is the norm (versus the exception), you’re well on your way.
2. Turn Off Your Screens
Not only do you want to limit your exposure to blue light but, it’s good to give your mind a break from the world’s many insatiable and demanding distractions. Turn off your screens and audible notifications. This means movies too. Create sometime that is completely screen-free. Ideally, you also want to sleep without your phone in your room.
3. Enjoy a Restorative Activity
In this non-screen time, create space to enjoy a restorative activity. This should be an activity that not only calms you but that you savour and that feels nourishing to you. This could be reading, journaling, taking a relaxing evening walk, enjoying a bath, or whatever quiet activity feels like the perfect wind-down to you.
4. Create a Gratitude Practice
This time of the day is the perfect opportunity to create a gratitude practice. It can be as simple as reflecting on 3 things you feel grateful for that day. The key is to take a little time to feel that gratitude in your heart. When we recognize the abundance in our lives, a few things happen. First, it rewires our brain to see the good in our lives and in the world around us. It also releases the feel-good neuro-chemicals. Finally, it helps us to de-stress.
5. Listen to a Guided Meditation
Finally, if your mind is still active as you close your eyes, listen to a guided meditation. These are a great way to soothe your mind and help you drift off to sleep. There are so many great (unpaid and paid) options to choose from so, find the ones that you enjoy and that help you the most. Great places to start include apps like Insight Timer and Calm.
Your very best sleep is set in motion long before you say Good Night!
The key to your best sleep routine is just that – that it becomes a routine. Create a simple and beautiful practice that is part of your daily schedule. You will be prioritizing yourself, your most optimal health, and a great morning. Good Night!