Our world is advancing quickly, as is the information we have access to. Now, more than ever, research around the importance of sleep is coming to the forefront. We all know sleep is something that is essential to humans, but do we really know why?
Well, the best analogy we can share with you about the importance of sleep is this: Let’s say every human had a battery similar to your mobile phone that declines as the day progresses. Well this is what happens when so many of us lead busy lives and try to balance work, family, socializing, and physical activity. As we go through our days using up our energy, that battery we spoke to you about slowly starts to decline. Our energy becomes depleted and our functioning gets impacted. When we’re sleep deprived we have reduced alertness, poorer judgement, and our mental health is affected too. In order to get us back to high levels of functioning and balance, our body needs to recharge that battery, and this happens during sleep.
So many people struggle with sleep for a variety of reasons, one of them being poor sleep hygiene and habits. But what if we told you that the road to a better sleep actually resides in what you do before it’s time to turn out the lights?
Studies show that a consistent bedtime routine has a direct link to better sleep outcomes. Much like a child who goes to bed at the same time every night, adults who keep a consistent sleep time despite their busy schedules notice a positive impact in their sleep. A sleep routine is so much more than just going to bed at the same time every night, we are here to share with you some of our best tips for a sleep routine that will truly help you wind down.
If you’re interested in building a sleep routine that can greatly impact the quality of your life, then keep on reading!
What to avoid before bedtime:
Before we get into our must have tips for creating a bedtime routine, we wanted to share some of the things you should absolutely avoid before winding down for the night. If you’re serious about making a change, here are some of the things you can limit or eliminate:
Limit or completely avoid caffeinated beverages after dinner.
Caffeine is a stimulant, most of us know this since we rely on our morning cup of Jo to get us perked up and going for the day. Another thing you might not know about caffeine is that it can actually delay the timing of your body’s natural clock. Even though you might think that drinking caffeine a few hours before bed is okay, some studies show that consuming it even 6 hours before bedtime can reduce time sleeping by 1 hour. Although caffeine has both positive and negative effects, the ultimate rule of thumb is to avoid any sort of these beverages after dinner.
Avoid staring at screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime
Let’s be real, we all love going on our phone and scrolling through social media before bedtime, but did you know that it isn’t the best idea? Our cellphone screens emit a blue light which can disrupt the production of melatonin since it tricks the brain into thinking that it’s daytime. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that putting the cellphone and technology away 30 minutes before bed can result in an easier and deeper time sleeping.
Avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime
There is conflicting evidence around the debate on whether working out before bed impacts sleep or not. Some studies show no substantial impacts while others show that it can raise your core body temperature, causing poor sleep quality and more time awake at night. Since exercise is also a stimulant, high intensity workouts too close to bedtime should also be avoided in order to fully wind down.
Try not to eat heavy meals 1 hour before bedtime
Many of us like to indulge in a bedtime snack or some comfort food at night after dinner, but did you know that doing so can actually impact your sleep? Many health experts say that eating meals before bed, especially heavy meals, can impact digestion, the body’s metabolism, and blood sugar levels. Experts say that it’s best to stop eating about three hours before going to bed. This is a perfect window to allow the food to digest, while also not feeling too hungry before sleeping.
Try to avoid stressful conversations or social media 1 hour before bedtime
Stress and sleep, two things that do not go well together. The goal before bedtime is to be in a relaxed state, one of the ways you can make sure of this is by avoiding stressful conversations and even stressful news before going to sleep. Difficult topics or arguments can make it harder to fall asleep, no matter how tired you are.
Tips for a Relaxing Bedtime Routine:
A peaceful bedtime routine looks different for everybody, there is no one size fits all. However, there are certain things you can do before bed to optimize your sleep and promote peaceful relaxation.
Here are some of our best suggestions:
Dim the lights
Light plays the biggest role in regulating our circadian rhythm. Our circadian rhythm is like our body’s very own internal clock that tells us when it is time to be alert and when it is time to rest. Light also impacts our melatonin levels, which is an essential sleep-promoting hormone. All types of light can affect sleep, therefore creating a dim environment at least two hours before sleeping can help with getting your body prepared to wind down for rest.
Create a bedtime playlist or listen to nature sounds
Music can be extremely healing and therapeutic, especially the right kind of tempo and beats before going to sleep. One study shows that listening to relaxing music can help to lower cortisol levels, release endorphins, and distract us. The sleep foundation recommends choosing a style of music that is 60 to 80 beats per minute such as classical, folk, or even jazz. Nature sounds such as the ocean, rain, or birds can even make a difference. Try creating a relaxing playlist to listen to around 30 to 45 minutes before going to snooze and see if it makes a difference in how you feel.
Journal your thoughts, brain dump
Have you ever felt your mind racing as you’re trying to wind down at night? You could be thinking about your work to-do list, family stress, or anything that worries you. One of the best ways to help rid yourself of these anxieties and stressors is by writing them down and getting them out of your head and onto paper. Set a timer for 5 minutes and just start to write down every stress that comes to mind. Once you’re complete you can take that piece of paper and throw it away, telling yourself to let go of these fears for now and be present with your evening.
Diffuse some essential oils
Aromatherapy with the use of essential oils can make such a difference in promoting relaxation and less stress. When inhaled, the scent travels from the olafactory nerves and directly to the brain. It can impact the amygdala, the emotional centre of the brain. Lavender oil is one of the best essential oils you can use at night. Lavender contains components that interact with the brain and nervous system to reduce agitation and restlessness.
Read a book
Have you ever gotten lost between the pages of a good book and all time and space disappears? Reading can be an excellent thing to incorporate in your night time routine to promote relaxation and allow any fears or worries to melt away. The right kind of book can put you in a peaceful state of mind, it may even cause you to start drowsing off as you’re reading. Make sure to choose a book that isn’t too thrilling as it may cause you to feel more wired.
Take a sleep supplement
Another amazing tool that you can integrate in your bed time routine is taking a high quality sleep supplement. If you have trouble getting into a relaxed and sleepy state even with other relaxation tools, then certain supplements may support this. Some of the supplements we absolutely recommend trying out are NutraChamps melatonin gummies, NutraChamps sleep gummies, and NutraChamps DreamRite capsules. These supplements allow the body to wind down, promote deeper sleep, and allow you to wake up feeling even more refreshed and ready to take on the day!
Implementing a night time routine might be something unfamiliar to you, but starting somewhere is always key. If you currently don’t have a night time routine and want to start, one think you can do is try out one of our suggestions per night. By trying out these techniques and tools you will be able to find what works best for you. Sleep doesn’t have to be an overly complicated thing, our body knows what to do as long as we support it in the best ways possible.
Do you have a night time routine or tools that work best for you? We would love to hear about them! Please leave us a comment below to let us know.