Brush your teeth. Wash your face. Curl up in bed with a laptop or a book. Take about fifteen minutes perusing the pages of the book or file. Turn off the lights. Fall asleep. Sound familiar? For most people, this is a bedtime routine. It is something that they do night after night sometimes even without being aware of it. What most people, particularly those who do not have nighttime routines, is that those routines are important to sleep. They play a part in how long and how well each person sleeps.
Here is how getting a before bedtime routine will make you sleep better. Reading this may enlighten those without routines to cross over.
1. A bedtime routine improves your quality of sleep.
Good quality sleep does not only come from being warm or tired enough to fall asleep within minutes. It doesn’t come from having the most decorative or comfortable pillows or bedding. On the contrary, the most restorative sleep is a result of what you do just before you get into bed.
A bedtime routine is a form of relaxation just like meditation. When you go through a bedtime routine, you are performing unconscious tasks that take you away from the worries of the day. Going through a meaningful bedtime routine also prevents you from worrying about the next day because you prepare for it adequately, as studies have shown (Read more about this here). Before bedtime routines additionally involve a relaxing activity, such as reading a book, listening to soothing music or simply turning down the bedding. All these activities relieve your stress levels and improve your quality of sleep. You sleep deeper for longer and wake up feeling well-rested.
2. It is good for your circadian rhythm, mind, and body.
A bedtime routine signals bedtime and is essential to creating a routine whereby you sleep and wake up at similar times daily. As such, having a bedtime routine helps you maintain a proper circadian rhythm.
A well-functioning circadian rhythm is important in the overall functioning of the body. It determines whether you will wake up feeling groggy or energized in the morning. It influences how much you can remember over time. The circadian rhythm is the system that controls when you feel drowsy and when you are alert. When you have a routine, it helps regulate your circadian rhythm, you operate optimally. On the other hand, a malfunctioning circadian rhythm results in poor mental and physical performance as the Sleep Foundation once showed. (Read the full article here).
3. A bedtime routine helps you fall asleep naturally.
Once you establish a routine, your mind will be in tune with it. Reading, picking up a toothbrush, lying on a few good pillows or whatever else you incorporate into your routine will signal sleeping time. Your brain will start sending signals to your muscles which will in turn relax. You will start falling asleep with less fuss than before. Those who take medication to aid in sleep might even start taking smaller doses.