Sleep plays a vital role in physical and mental health. Unfortunately, over 50 million Americans struggle with sleep issues. People often have sleep issues because they lack a consistent nightly routine that promotes healthy sleep habits.
Believe it or not, though, taking the time to establish a consistent bedtime routine can offer many benefits to adults everywhere. What’s more, you can easily establish a night routine that meets your individual needs.
1. Trains Your Body to Fall Asleep
Many of us collect thoughts and emotions throughout the day. Unfortunately, we’re also too busy to fully process these thoughts and emotions during the day, which means our minds often race or focus on the day’s thoughts as we try to go to sleep. This creates anxiety, stress, and insomnia, preventing restful sleep.
When you establish a consistent nighttime routine, you help train your body to prepare for sleep. This establishes your body’s circadian rhythm in a way that encourages the production of melatonin and other hormones that tell your body to sleep.
2. Better Sleep Quality
Since bedtime routines help your body more easily distinguish day from night. This makes it easier to fall asleep thanks to the production of “sleepy hormones,” and it improves your sleep quality throughout the night. If you don’t get enough sleep regularly or consistently sleep through the night, this routine can help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep, and wake up rested the following day.
3. More Productive Later
When we don’t get enough quality sleep, our minds can feel foggy and bogged down. This decreases our productivity because our minds aren’t as sharp the next day. You may feel confused, groggy, or easily distracted on the days you don’t sleep well.
When you receive a good night’s rest, your mind can more easily focus and do the work. Therefore, you’ll be much more productive if you take the time to establish a consistent nighttime routine.
4. Helps You Decompress
Sometimes it’s hard to shut off our brains at night, especially if you’ve had a particularly stressful day. However, if you establish a consistent bedtime routine, you can reduce that nighttime stress and anxiety that often build up and lead to restless nights. In fact, you can even add activities into your nightly routine that address anxiety and stress, such as yoga, bubble baths, or mindfulness exercises.
5. Improved Mood
You’ve likely heard people make excuses for their emotions by saying, “Sorry I’m so grumpy today, but I didn’t sleep well last night.” Well, this isn’t just an excuse: it’s a reality for many adults. Poor sleep can cause irritability, increased stress levels, and short attention spans. If you don’t sleep well for an extended period, you may experience symptoms of depression and anxiety.
When you establish a nighttime routine, the sleep piece falls into place. You wake up the next day with energy and feel ready to tackle the world. Over time, this can improve your overall mood and mental health.
6. Improves Digestion
Believe it or not, your body continues to digest food while you sleep. When you don’t sleep well at night, it can affect your digestive system and potentially cause weight gain. By establishing a consistent night routine, your improved sleep will aid your digestion so you can maintain your weight and care for your health.
7. Better Health Overall
Sleep and health are highly connected. When you sleep well, your immune system works more effectively, which means you are less likely to get sick. Also, quality sleep lowers your risk for chronic health conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Finally, sleep helps lower cortisol levels and reduces stress.
When you establish a nightly routine that improves your sleep, you enjoy all these health benefits.
How to Establish a Bedtime Routine That Works for You
Now that you understand the benefits of establishing a consistent nightly routine, you’re ready to create a regimen that works for you. Although every person needs a bedtime schedule that works for their lifestyle, there are some things you can do that generally work for everyone.
For starters, you should decide on an ideal bedtime. This time should be approximately 7 to 9 hours before you need to wake up. From here, you can plan out a routine that takes at least 30 minutes but no more than 2 hours.
When planning activities for your night routine, select things that you find calming and conducive to sleep. Some people enjoy meditation, journaling, baths, or reading. Others enjoy light exercises like yoga. Regardless of what you do, avoid activities involving your smartphone or laptop as the blue light can throw off natural sleep rhythms.
Finally, it would help if you made your bedroom conducive to sleep. This includes selecting an ideal temperature, dimming the lights, and making the room quiet.
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