Best Nighttime Routines
According to the CDC, about 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. do not get enough sleep at night.1 And 40 percent of adults report unintentionally falling asleep during the day at least once a month.
In our fast-paced lives, it’s not uncommon for a good night's sleep to take the backseat. However, the importance of a solid nighttime routine cannot be overstated. Building healthy habits before bedtime can significantly improve the quality of your sleep and, in turn, enhance your overall health. Read on to learn how to get better sleep through practical tips and strategies and browse eight of the best nighttime routines.
How to Build a Better Nighttime Routine
According to a report from the National Center for Health Statistics, 18 percent of U.S. adults use some type of medication to help them sleep.2 Though these drugs can be helpful, they also pose a number of health risks, especially if used long-term. The Mayo Clinic reports that prescription sleeping pills may cause side effects like dizziness, headaches, nausea, prolonged drowsiness, hallucinations, forgetfulness, and dependency.3 These drugs can also interact with other medications or supplements you are already taking.
But it is possible to learn how to sleep better by building a nighttime routine that you follow consistently and improving your sleep hygiene. To get started, here are the eight best nighttime routines to enhance your rest and help you maintain energy throughout the day.
1. Create a Consistent Sleep Schedule
Establishing a consistent sleep schedule is fundamental to regulating your body's circadian rhythm, or internal clock. Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on the weekends. This consistency helps synchronize your body's natural sleep-wake cycle, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up feeling refreshed.
2. Limit Screen Time
The blue light emitted by electronic devices can interfere with the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. To improve the quality of your sleep, limit screen time to at least an hour before bedtime. In lieu of scrolling through TikTok videos, consider practicing a relaxing pre-sleep routine that doesn't involve electronic devices, such as reading a book, meditating, or stretching.
3. Create a Relaxing Environment
Make sure your bedroom is your ultimate sleep sanctuary. Keep the room cool, dark, and quiet. Invest in comfortable bedding and consider blackout curtains to block out external light or a sound machine to block out noise. Creating a soothing environment signals to your brain that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep.
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4. Mindful Wind-Down
In the hour(s) leading up to bedtime, try not to engage in anything too stimulating like intense exercise. Instead, find some calming activities you enjoy to help your mind transition from the busyness of the day to a state of relaxation. If you tend to worry about the next day’s tasks at night, make a to-do list to tackle the following day. Practicing mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or gentle yoga can be effective in promoting a sense of calm. Find what works best for you and make it a part of your nightly routine.
5. Limit Caffeine and Alcohol Intake
Say no to the evening cappuccino and the nightcap. Both caffeine and alcohol can disrupt your sleep patterns and either keep you from falling asleep or wake you up in the middle of the night. Limit the consumption of these substances, especially in the hours leading up to bedtime. Opt for herbal tea as a calming alternative to promote relaxation.
6. Try an OTC Medication
Many people wind down with the help of a supplement like melatonin, which is generally safe for short-term use. However, melatonin is not a long-term solution and it can lead to drowsiness the next day. Addressing the root cause of your insomnia is more effective, which can be achieved with a combination of lifestyle changes and OTC medication.
If you suspect anxiety, stress, or restlessness are causing your sleep troubles, you may want to consider a medication like Brillia. Unlike prescription sleeping medication or melatonin supplements, Brillia is not a sleep aid. But it does help to reduce the symptoms that may be keeping you up at night. Free from harsh, synthetic chemicals and harmful side effects, Brillia targets the neurochemicals responsible for mood regulation and executive function, helping to make you feel calmer and more focused without changing your blood chemistry or affecting any other systems in your body. When combined with healthy lifestyle habits like proper nutrition, controlled screen time, mindfulness, and improved sleep routines, Brillia helps you feel less anxious and distractible throughout the day so you can be productive when you need to be and relaxed when the sun comes down.
7. Keep a Sleep Diary
Understanding your sleep patterns can be insightful and help you determine how much sleep you actually need to regulate your own internal clock. After all, sleep guidelines for adults range from 7-9 hours, but some long sleepers only feel refreshed if they get more than 9 hours.4 Keep a sleep diary to track your bedtime, wake-up time, and any factors that may affect your sleep. This diary can help identify trends and provide valuable information for making adjustments to your nighttime routine.
8. Limit Naps
While short naps can be rejuvenating, sleeping too long during the day can interfere with nighttime sleep and leave you feeling drowsy the next day. If you need to nap, try to keep it brief (20-30 minutes) and avoid napping too close to bedtime.
Exploring Additional Resources
From sleep apps and podcasts to books on sleep hygiene, there are a number of additional tools that can help you improve your sleep quantity and quality. Remember that building a better nighttime routine is a personal journey, and finding the right combination of strategies may take some experimentation. If you suspect stress and anxiety are at fault, consider talking to a therapist or counselor who can help you uncover what’s causing your poor sleep.
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