The human body thrives on routine - whether it’s in the morning or at night. Chances are, you do the same things every morning after you get up while you get ready for work. Have you ever tried creating a routine for yourself at night as well?
Routines are great because your body builds muscle memory for the actions you take. As you build up that muscle memory, your brain has more time to relax because it doesn’t have to think about what you're doing while you’re doing it. This is especially important at night because a lot of people don't take that time to relax before bed, but you need to so you can be comfortable enough to fall asleep right away.
Routines are going to be different for everyone because everybody needs different things to relax. What works for you might not work for your partner or friend and vice versa. However, it is still a good conversation topic so you can bounce ideas and as a result, you can try a new routine to see if that works for you. Make sure to take your time figuring out what works best for you and your family - change does not happen overnight. The important part is that you stick to the routine as often as possible to give your body and mind the chance to wind down as they need to in order to sleep.
Generally, there are some routine items for relaxation that work for many people. Some may do a combination of these routine items as it is best for them. Again, it is up to you to figure out what works for you.
Routine Items to Try:
Yoga or light exercise
Light exercise such as yoga or stretching and help you to work out the kinks in your muscles before bed, making you less likely to feel pain or discomfort when you get into bed. By getting in touch with your body through light and calming exercise, it helps to focus your attention on your breath and body rather than the stressors of the day.
Combining light exercise with some sort of meditation or mindfulness can help you to relax your mind before bed. Meditation activates our autonomic nervous system which allows for deeper breathing, thereby helping you relax and calm down. It also brings in other benefits when done regularly.
Brush your hair and teeth
The cleaner you are, the more comfortable you are likely to be. Plus, it’s great for your general health in the long run. Self-care helps you feel good about yourself and how you treat your body. You would go to bed feeling good about treating your body well.
Along the lines of self-care, why not give yourself a massage? Massage helps you relax and feel calm - which is exactly how you need to be when you try to sleep. Try one of our professional massagers to help you deal with the aches and pains you feel during the day and go to bed feeling great. With an electronic massager that has a long handle, you would be able to massage yourself with ease.
Warm baths help to relax your body and mind, especially if you put on some relaxing music or an audio clip of calming sounds. Just don't take a hot shower or bath right before bed as you would end up feeling overheated instead. Some people may have trouble sleeping if they are sweating. In that case, let your body cool down a little before you hop in bed. As well, letting your body cool mimics when your body cools down for sleep as it signals your brain that it’s time to release melatonin.
Routine Items to Avoid:
While you might like to lay in bed and scroll mindlessly on your devices, this is actually really bad for your sleep. Anything with a screen keeps you awake longer because of the kind of light that the screen emits. If you want to use electronics, try something with night mode option - and use it. Otherwise, put your phone away and meditate instead.
Heavy exercise will get your heart and adrenaline pumping, making it difficult for you to get to sleep. Heavy exercise is great for your body but not great for when you are trying to sleep. Keep it to the early afternoons or mornings where it would be the most efficient to help you wake up and stay alert.
Alcohol or caffeine
Both of these substances will keep you from sleeping well in their own way. Caffeine will keep you up at night and alcohol will make it harder for you to stay asleep. Water is good, but try not to have too much before bed or else you would have to get up in the middle of the night. If you tend to feel parched throughout the night, keep some water on a nightstand so you won't have to make your way to your nearest sink and turn on the lights.
Tried it all? This might help:
You should also make sure that your pillows and mattress are as supportive as they can be, which can often mean replacing them when needed. You are supposed to replace your mattress approximately every 10 years, or when you find yourself waking up with more aches and pains then you should be waking up with. That is due to how long mattresses are generally supportive and when it's past that time, you may not receive the same quality of sleep because the mattress is not comfortable anymore. Pillows last between one to three years.