Did you know that one out of every three Americans doesn’t get sufficient sleep on a regular basis? If you happen to be one of them, then creating a routine before bedtime is one of the most effective ways you can achieve better sleep. Simple, but dedicated, lifestyle changes can yield deeper and more relaxed sleep.
Many of us have probably already heard from family, friends, or the internet about how we can sleep better. At some point or another you may have been told to change your diet, exercise more, stop drinking caffeine, and reduce your level of stress. So why is it so hard to follow these suggestions? That is because unless we keep a consistent behavioral routine when it comes to getting in snooze hours, we’re likely to just fall back into old patterns that don’t result in a good night of sleep.
Here’s a few easy but potentially life-changing routines that can actually help you get better sleep on a daily basis:
Prepare Your Bedroom
Commit to spending a couple minutes each night transforming your bedroom into a sleeping oasis. Make a ritual out of making it as dark and quiet as you can. Set the thermostat at a comfortable setting that is cozy, but still keeps you cool. Turn off noisy or brightly lit electronics, dim the lights, and pull down blackout curtains. Remove clutter from the bed and side table, and turn on an aromatherapy diffuser with a calming scent. Now, once you get into bed, there is nothing else you should have to do besides lay your head down and slip into slumber.
Write a Journal Entry (or To-Do List)
Sometimes we may struggle to get to sleep because we are worried about the next day. Maybe we have a big work day ahead of us or a list of things that need to be done. What can ease concerns or anxious thoughts before bed is writing them down in a journal. Keep a notepad and pen next to your bedside, so whatever is on your mind, you can get it out and onto paper.
Light Stretches Before Bed
Relaxation techniques such as meditation can be helpful for many people, but some struggle with sitting still and may find their racing thoughts even more stress-inducing. Instead, you can do some light stretches to ease muscles and let go of tension. A daily yoga routine has proven to improve quality of sleep, so a few light stretches before easing into rest can make all the difference in allowing you to drift off into sleep.
Have a Small Snack (or Tea)
Heavy meals before going to bed can lead to acid reflux, indigestion, and restroom trips in the middle of the night that interrupt your slumber. But, going to bed hungry can also cause stomach aches and make it harder to fall asleep. A light snack, such as yogurt, fruit, oats, or non-caffeinated herbal teas is a good way to calm the tummy and induce sleep. Just don’t forget to visit the restroom one last time before snuggling into your sheets!