We spend over one-third of our lives in bed. This amounts to over thirty-three years spent counting sheep and drifting off to sleep for most of us. As surprising (and glorious) as that much time spent sleeping sounds, did you also know that one-third of adults still don’t get enough hours of the deep, restorative sleep they need to feel their best?
It’s true. Still, here’s some good news. If you’re someone who has a hard time catching the restful winks you need, creating a soothing bedtime routine can help your body–and your mind–prepare for better, more nourishing sleep.
What is a Bedtime Routine?
A bedtime routine is a set of habits or rituals that you do each night, approximately thirty minutes to an hour before you lay down to sleep. However, like establishing new or improved healthy habits, it can take some time to nail down a routine that works well for your unique lifestyle and sleep preferences. We’ve got just the thing to help you get started.
An Easy Guide to Help Improve Your Bedtime Routine
The path to better sleep begins here. To help make quality sleep easier to come by, we’ve created a simple guide to follow that will help you craft the bedtime routine you need to experience the sweetest slumber.
For a seamless transition from any poor sleep habits you may have now to healthier habits for an improved bedtime routine and sleep wellness, we recommend starting small. Swap out one common sleep disruptor for a healthier habit each week.
Week 1: Swap Watching TV for Mindful Meditation
It’s no secret that television is one of the most common sleep offenders. From excessive noise that prevents peaceful thoughts to the distraction of flashing lights from the television screen when you’re otherwise trying to relax–it’s little wonder that so many of us wake up still tired after binge-watching what’s trending on Netflix before bed.
For a soothing shift in your routine, save watching TV for when it’s still light outside and give mindful meditation a try in the hour or so before bed. The best part of this simple swap is that you don’t need a lot of time to reap the relaxing rewards. Studies show that sneaking in just a few minutes of mindful meditation into your bedtime routine can help reduce racing or anxious thoughts, lower stress levels, and improve your mood.
What is mindful meditation? It’s pretty simple. Instead of striving for the complete absence of thought, which we commonly think of as the goal of traditional meditation practices, mindful meditation only asks that we pay attention to ourselves and our thoughts in the present moment–without judgment.
Find a calm, quiet place in your home (and, yes, your bed totally counts) to sit or lay still. Close your eyes and focus on your breath, letting each inhale and exhale come at a natural pace. Imagine your body slowly beginning to relax, starting from your toes to the crown of your head.
Check-in with yourself. How does your body feel as you begin to wind down? Let your thoughts flow naturally, giving each one a little time to breathe no matter what it is. And then, let your thoughts go, allowing yourself to return to your body in the present moment. Repeat this cycle as many times as you need.
Week 2: Cut Out Scrolling on Social Media for Gentle Stretching
Another common sleep disruptor naturally includes the blue light we absorb from our phones, tablets, and computers in the moments before we attempt to drift off to sleep. If you’re someone who finds themselves constantly scrolling through your social media feed before bed, give your thumbs (and your eyes) a break and try adding a few moments to stretch your body instead.
Similar to mindful meditation, regularly engaging in a gentle yoga practice can help you better prepare for deep, restful sleep. In fact, those who routinely make time for yoga before bed report experiencing fewer anxious thoughts, a lower heart rate, and feeling more connected to their breath–a mindful practice that, in turn, reduces stress and induces a feeling of calm ideal for quality rest.
Week 3: Swap Your Afternoon Coffee Jolt for a Warm Bath or Nighttime Tea
Here’s the thing. While those afternoon cups of coffee may seem like they help get you over an energy slump, the truth is they’re often more disruptive to your sleep health than you may think. And if we’re really being honest, there’s evidence that those afternoon caffeine jolts stop working over time; the more you indulge, the less effective those cups of coffee are in giving you the energy boost you need.
Real energy power comes from regularly getting plenty of quality sleep. And, if you ask us, there’s nothing quite like a warm bath before bed. If finding ways to wind down faster on your way to better sleep is your goal, consider adding a warm bath to your relaxation regimen. Why? Our skin releases endorphins (the body’s natural pain-relieving mood-boosters) in response to warm water.
It’s the same thing that happens when we spend time in the sun; the warmth from the sun stimulates the body to release endorphins that help us relax. If you’ve ever spent time on the beach soaking up the sun and wound up dozing off, this is why. When it’s time to relax, there’s nothing quite like it.
Not enough time to sneak in a bath each night? No problem. A soothing cup of nighttime tea is a great alternative.
Week 4: Tame Your Racing Mind with Soothing Music or Nature Sounds
Find your mind wandering too much at night to sleep? Stress and anxiety may be the culprit. To help tame your racing mind at night, give yourself something soothing to focus on.
Research shows that listening to calming tunes as you’re drifting off to dreamland can help quiet feelings of stress and anxiety, lower your heart rate, and help prepare you to spend more time in REM sleep (a critical phase of sleep for getting quality rest).
Unsure what makes for soothing music? If nothing on your favorite playlists will suffice, we encourage you to give the spa channel on your favorite music streaming service or calming nature sounds from one of the top recommended apps a try.
Week 5: Elevate Your Sleep Space with Calming Aromatherapy
It’s no secret that smell plays a role in various life activities. Often nostalgic in effect, the right (and wrong) smell can transport us to a different time and place, evoking a range of emotions and bodily sensations along with it. But did you know that the right essential oil used in aromatherapy can also help to improve your sleep?
Aromatherapy has been an increasingly popular tool used in successful bedtime routines. Essential oils known for their calming effects have the power to relax the breath, lessen stress, and instill a sense of peace ideal for quality sleep. Some of the most popular include lavender, bergamot, chamomile, cedar wood, and clary sage.
Studies suggest that using your favorite calming essential oil with a diffuser or finding a way to incorporate it throughout your sleep space can help you wind down and get the extra R&R that you need.
A Quick Note on How Your Environment Affects Your Sleep
For the other common sleep disruptors like allergies and hot, uncomfortable bedding, it helps to take an honest look at your sleep environment. Do you have items in your bedroom that are conducive to the deep, restful nights of sleep you deserve?
If you find yourself sleeping hot or waking up in the middle of the night from sweat or hot flashes, consider upgrading your bedding with sleep essentials clinically proven to help keep you cool.
To keep nighttime allergy flare-ups at bay, be sure that you’re protecting yourself from allergens and irritants that can creep into your sleep environment. This includes outfitting your mattress and favorite pillow with a mattress and pillow protector, which work to keep allergens and irritants, like sweat, dust mites, and bed bugs, out of your sleep surfaces for optimal sleep hygiene.
One Last Bedtime Tip to Consider
Keep in mind that one of the most critical factors of any bedtime routine is that you start and stop it around the same time each night. Setting a regular bedtime for yourself will help you train your body and your mind for when it’s time to relax, improving your chances of experiencing an interrupted night of quality sleep.
To help you stick to a regular bedtime, consider setting a nightly reminder on your phone to alert you when it’s time to start your bedtime routine. Doing so will help keep you on track to getting to bed on time for the quality rest and relaxation you need.
Bedding for Better Sleep Comfort and Wellness
On the lookout for bedding designed for comfort and improving sleep quality? As the bedding brand devoted to improving the sleep wellness of our customers, we’re here to help.
From protectors and pillows to sheets and cozy comfort layers, PureCare has everything you need to create the perfect bedding bundle tailored to your unique sleep needs and preferences. Head to PureCare.com to mix, match, and save up to 40% off our complete collection of comforting sleep essentials thoughtfully designed with you in mind.