Alaska Sleep Education Center

Add These Habits To Your Bedtime Routine

Posted by Lewis Robinson on Mar 23, 2022 4:15:00 AM

Beautiful woman relaxing at home and taking a bath

A good night's rest is critical, as it affects your emotional, physical and mental states. Do you recall how you felt after your last sleepless night? You were probably lethargic and irritable, and you may not have been able to think clearly or concentrate, which makes working or completing any task nearly impossible.

If you have trouble sleeping regularly, you're not alone. Over 30% of Americans suffer from this issue. Fortunately, getting into a sleep routine can help you obtain the shut-eye your body needs. Here are some things you can do to get a good night's rest consistently.

 

  1. Unwind with a Bath

A hard day's work should be rewarded with a relaxing soak in the tub. When you're filling the tub, make sure the water isn't too hot, as it can hinder your ability to fall into a deep sleep. Instead, the water should be no warmer than 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Since you probably won't have a thermometer nearby, the best alternative is to use your wrist to check the temperature. If the water feels comfortable on your skin, it should be fine.

To make the experience extra fulfilling, you should consider adding bath salts or essential oils to the water. Epsom salt is known to bring relief to achy muscles and joints, so if you're physically hurting after work, this salt may be the answer to your pain. Adding essential oils is also helpful for a variety of reasons. Aromatherapy has been shown to reduce anxiety, ease nausea, alleviate pain and influence sleep. Different scents help with specific issues, so you should research essential oils to find which ones you want to try. 

Additionally, light some candles, grab a book and indulge in decaf tea. The calming atmosphere will allow you to de-stress before trying to sleep. Make sure you take a bath an hour or two before you intend on going to bed, as the body's ability to cool off afterward naturally triggers sleep. Don't forget to apply your favorite lotion after your bath or shower to keep your skin soft. Try vanilla body cream because it smells great, and vanilla has calming properties of its own.

                                                              

  1. Put Away Electronics

If you find yourself thumbing through your social media accounts or playing games on your phone while lying in bed, you're not alone. Most people believe that playing on their phones will help them wind down. However, the opposite is true, as using an electronic device can suppress your body's ability to produce melatonin. Additionally, by thinking, you're becoming increasingly alert when you should be decompressing for the night.

A significant issue with phones is their use of blue light. Your body reacts to light by producing cortisol, which causes you to feel awake. When there's no light, your body makes you feel tired by generating melatonin. This process is natural. However, blue light interferes with these hormones and your biological clock, quickly throwing off your sleep schedule. It also decreases the amount of time you're in the deepest part of the sleep cycle, which is detrimental to your cognitive abilities.

The best thing you can do with your electronics is to put them away or keep them out of sight. Consider setting your phone's ringtone on silent mode so you're not tempted to check notifications as soon as you hear a buzz or a beep. Instead of using a blue-light device, think about watching a relaxing TV show, listening to calming music or reading. You'll thank yourself in the morning after you get that solid block of sleep you've been yearning for.

 

  1. Take Time To Meditate

Do you find your inability to sleep is related to anxiety and stress? Do you have trouble turning your thoughts off to get a restful night's snooze? If so, meditation may be able to help. This relaxation technique teaches you to let those sleep-interrupting thoughts go, effectively calming your mind and body.

Many people think that mediation is a complicated process. It's actually pretty simple and doesn't require anything except for a few minutes of your time. However, you can't expect perfection the first time you try it. Just like anything else, practice makes perfect.

To meditate, you'll need to find a quiet place, such as your bedroom. You can either sit or lie down; however, since your trying to relax before bedtime, lying down is the preferred method, but you should do whatever is most comfortable. Next, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Whenever you find yourself getting lost in your thoughts, let those issues go by zeroing in on inhaling and exhaling. Start with short sessions until you become comfortable. Eventually, you should be able to meditate for 15 to 20 minutes.

In addition to promoting sleep, meditation may also reduce inflammation, enhance cognition and improve mood. There are several types of meditation to try. What works for one person may not be a good fit for you, so attempt to find one that best suits your needs.

 

  1. Eat a Small Snack

While you should avoid eating anything too heavy before bedtime, you also don't want to go to sleep hungry, as the rumbling in your stomach can keep you awake. To avoid hunger pangs, you should find a light, healthy snack that contains sleep-inducing ingredients. Some tasty options are pistachios, a protein smoothie, cheese, yogurt, edamame or trail mix.

If you'd rather have something lighter, consider sipping on a drink instead. Warm milk, herbal tea and cherry juice have specific properties that may help you fall and stay asleep.

 

  1. Get Your Bedroom Ready

The look and feel of your bedroom can impact your ability to sleep. For example, if the room is cluttered or messy, your brain reflects this disorganization. In fact, people who sleep in untidy bedrooms are more likely to have insomnia. 

To combat this issue, you should try to maintain a clutter-free room. Consider purchasing storage containers to keep your items in rather than piling things on the floor or on top of dressers.

Another aspect to consider is overall comfort. Invest in at least two sets of cozy sheets so you can switch them out weekly or as needed. Also, either turn off the lights or use a dim alternative when you're ready to get some shut-eye, as bright lights will keep you awake. Make sure you adjust the temperature so it's comfortable to sleep. A bedroom that's a little cooler makes it easier to fall asleep since you can cuddle under the covers. Trying to sleep when you're sweating is nearly impossible and can lead to tossing and turning.

 

Conclusion

Getting into a routine can take time. However, you shouldn't give up. Once you establish effective nightly habits, you'll get the rest you need to function optimally. Not only will you feel healthier, but you'll also have more energy.

f you’re tossing and turning at night instead of getting a good night’s sleep, then you should consider some sleep resources. They can help you get into a sleep schedule, create a sleep-friendly environment, and even follow a daytime schedule for better nighttime slumber.

If you believe you have difficulty sleeping due to physical aches and pains, have PTSD or other similar mental health conditions, it is best to personally consult a medical or psychological health professional. This article will only provide general information and should not be used for self-diagnosis and self-treatment.

Alaska Sleep Clinic is the most comprehensive sleep center in Alaska and the only one with a psychiatrist on-staff specializing in sleep, Dr.Angela Randazzo. Call ASC today @ 907-770-9104.

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Topics: alaska sleep clinic, sleep habits, sleep hygiene

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