Between 50 and 70 million adults in the United States have a sleep disorder. The most common sleep disorder is insomnia with around 30% of adults experiencing it. 10% of adults in the U.S. have chronic insomnia.
You may have a sleep disorder without even knowing it. Even just having trouble sleeping at night without a disorder is annoying enough and will make you want to do something about it.
To sleep peacefully at night, you should have a bedtime routine. Read on to learn its importance and how to create one.
The Importance of a Bedtime Routine
Bedtime routines can help you sleep peacefully as we are creatures of habit. When creating a nighttime routine, your brain will begin to recognize when it is time to go to bed.
A bedtime routine consists of performing the same duties in a specific order every time. After a while, your brain will recognize this as a precursor to sleep.
37% of adults between the ages of 20 and 39 report a short sleep duration. 40% of those between 40 and 59 years of age report the same thing.
Adults aged 18 and over should get at least seven hours of sleep per night. A large percentage of adults are getting less than seven hours of sleep which is why a bedtime routine is so crucial.
How to Create a Bedtime Routine
Creating a bedtime routine is not as hard as you’d think. If you follow these tips, you can start to sleep better at night:
Set a Specific Time for Bed
Everyone has a natural sleep-wake cycle that triggers the brain to wind down a few hours before you sleep at night. To make this process more effective, set a specific time for bed and a time to wake up.
Stick to these times every day so that your brain will begin to feel tired when it is time for bed each night. Don’t forget to give yourself around 30 minutes to two hours to wind down before your set bedtime.
Don’t Use Electronics
If you’re one of those people who believe that electronics can help you fall asleep faster, you may want to sit down for this one. All electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, computers, and TVs, emit blue light.
The blue light will trick your brain into believing it is daytime. Your brain will then try to suppress melatonin and keep you awake.
If possible, avoid using electronics in the evening. If you can’t do that, your best bet is to put away your electronics around 30 minutes before bed.
Eat a Snack or Have Some Tea
You should never have a heavy meal or drink a lot of liquids right before bed. Doing so can lead to indigestion and acid reflux. You also may spend more time taking disrupting restroom trips in the middle of the night.
Yet, if you go to bed hungry, you may be left with an upset stomach making it even harder to fall asleep.
If you come across this problem often, you should find a healthy middle ground.
For example, you can eat a light snack or drink non-caffeinated herbal teas. Teas with lavender or chamomile can help calm your mind and prepare you for bed.
For a light snack, try grapes, cherries, nuts, oats, fruit, yogurt, or anything else with high melatonin content.
Get in a Warm Bath or Shower
Throughout the day, your body will experience different hormonal changes. One change is the amount of melatonin your body is producing. It happens most in the evening when you are preparing for sleep.
When this happens, your body temperature also drops. You can mimic this drop on your own by getting in a warm bath or shower. This will help the brain trigger a sleepy reaction.
Taking a warm bath or shower around one to two hours before you sleep can help your body heat up and then quickly cool down. This sensation will make you feel more tired and relaxed.
You’ll only need to bathe or shower in warmth for 10 minutes to experience the benefits.
Try Deep Breathing Exercises
Deep breathing exercises are a relaxation technique that can help you prepare for bed. This allows your body to let go of the physical and mental tension you may be feeling.
If breathing exercises work to make you feel more relaxed and sleep better throughout the night, add them to your bedtime routine.
Slow deep breathing exercises are simple and old techniques that have therapeutic effects on the mind and body.
You can do this in the form of meditation or yoga. They both are known to improve sleep quality.
Journal Before Bed
Adding time to journal before bed can get your thoughts and feelings out before hitting the hay. A to-do list will more than suffice as an act of journaling before bed.
In fact, a study found that young adults who wrote a to-do list before bed fell asleep faster. The more specific the to-do list was, the faster a participant in the study would fall asleep.
You can test this out on your own. Before placing your head on your pillow, grab a pen and paper and write down the things you need to complete the following day. If it works for you, add it to your bedtime routine permanently.
Start Sleeping Peacefully With a Bedtime Routine
The very last thing you should do in your bedtime routine is to get into your bed. After your head hits the pillow, the only thing you should be focused on is trying to fall asleep.
Every bedtime routine will vary depending on the person. It may take you a few tries to find which tips work best and allow you to sleep peacefully through the night.
When you find the key, your brain will soon get adjusted. With a regular sleep routine, you’ll fall asleep faster and sleep better during the night.
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