Have you noticed that your kids have a bedtime routine, but you don’t? Maybe it’s not just age that lets them sleep deeper and better than you.
It's amazing that most adults can function with as little sleep as we get. We have responsibilities at work and at home, and we get into habits that work against us getting the rest we need. Yet, we're good at ensuring our kids get the sleep they need, and we naturally get them into a bedtime routine. It turns out that rituals and routines help increase our quality of sleep.
Get In the Habit
It turns out that rituals and routines help increase our quality of sleep.
Here are five things you may find help you wind down, sleep better, and wake up refreshed.
Light impacts your sleep by signaling the retina to block conversion of serotonin to melatonin, the neurotransmitter that signals sleep. The absence of light – particularly white and blue light – signals that conversion process. Turn white and blue light down in your house when the sun sets. If you can, wear blue blocking glasses when watching television or working on a computer at night. And make sure your bedroom is black-out dark while you sleep. (read more here)
Turn screens off at least one hour before turning in. That means end the scroll, put down the phone and turn off the computer and television. This will give your brain time to process prior to sleep.
A hot bath or shower about 1-2 hours before bed raises your core temperature enough to make your body cool itself. (read the science here) And cooling the core temperature is a signal to your body and brain that it’s time to prepare for sleep. This will also loosen the muscles for the next step…
After your bath or shower, take some time to stretch and work through any stiffness you may have accumulated through the day. Areas I regularly need to pay attention to are the hamstrings and IT band (along the side of the leg), the muscles of the hips and lower back, and shoulders and neck. A relaxing yoga flow will fit the bill nicely here. Spend time in each pose and breathe into it for better release.
Take the time to jot down your big action items for tomorrow. Putting it down on paper gets it out of your head, so you can let your brain stop tossing it around long enough to relax. While you’re at it, revisit today and write a few things you’re grateful for. Both of these actions will put you in the right headspace to relax.