Improve your sleep by sticking to a bedtime routine.
Most of us recognise the need for children to have a consistent bedtime routine. Yet, we don’t apply this knowledge to ourselves.
Do you come home from work, then hit the gym?
Eat dinner late at night?
Do you like to watch TV to ‘wind down’?
Many people have a ritual where they drink a couple of glasses of wine of an evening.
Perhaps the time you go to bed varies greatly from night to night depending on work and socialising.
It’s common to be busy until late into the night.
It’s also common to see how late is is and experience a moment of panic.
This is when we abruptly stop working on tasks and head to bed. Clean teeth, change into pyjamas and lie down, switching off the light.
That’s a kind of a bedtime routine, right? It’s simply not enough.
Successfully transition from a busy, active mind state into the restful and reflective state.
This ensures you get a good night’s sleep.
Not convinced of the importance of creating a bedtime routine? Answer the following questions:
Do you wake up feeling happy and refreshed?
Do you get out of bed without the snooze button?
Do you have energy and feel effective throughout my day?
Do you resort to caffeine or sugar to remain productive?
If the answer to most or all of those questions is no, then you could definitely benefit from putting a routine in place.
The right bedtime routine will assist in a refreshing and restful sleep.
The secret of a successful bedtime routine are:
- Stepping away from exciting and stimulating activities.
- Focus attention towards calming and soothing activities.
Create a routine that works for you.
Having a consistent routine, with a consistent bedtime and wake time is crucial to getting good quality sleep. Consistent bedtime schedule helps your body prepare for sleep.
Your brain will start to expect the internal chemical cascades that help you drift off.
It might be time to ask yourself if that 8pm cardio funk class is really worth it if it means you don’t get home until 10pm, still needing to eat, shower and socialise with your loved ones.
Think about what’s happening in your bedroom.
Make sure your bedroom is a place you enjoy being in.
Many of us live in small houses, the bedroom is the one place that’s not on show. The bedroom becomes the container for the chaos. Filled with items banished from the more public areas of the house.
Clutter and mess have been found to increase levels of stress, making us anxious and overwhelmed.
Sort through the clutter and reclaim your space.
Is your bed comfortable?
Have you got good block-out curtains?
Is it a comfortable temperature?
You want to feel relaxed and happy in your bedroom.
Consider how much ambient noise you can hear while you’re in your room. A white noise machine or earplugs could be an inexpensive solution to help you get to sleep.
Take time to wind down.
Take time to let your body and mind relax before you go to bed.
It really doesn’t matter what you do, physical or mental, the idea is to create an extra space to help you separate the day and all its stresses from bedtime.
Three examples of relaxation techniques are Yoga, Meditation and Journalling.
Spending a little time doing some gentle stretching, yoga, meditation or journaling is a fantastic way to help you wind down and switch off. Spending as little as 10 to 15 minutes, being mindfully present will help you let go of the physical and emotional pains of the day.
There are a range of different meditation apps that you can download or you can search on YouTube to find a meditation or evening yoga routine which relaxes you and prepares you for sleep.
Before bed is an ideal time for a simple reflective practice like a short meditation or journalling. The act of writing your thoughts down can be very grounding for some people.
Some people write down their ‘wins for the day’, others focus on gratitude or what went well. It doesn’t matter what you decide to focus on. Perhaps you might choose to write about something that is still niggling at you that happened during the day.
The simple act of putting pen to paper can help you gain clarity and perspective around unresolved situations. This removes worries from your mind, helping you sleep.
These activities have the added benefit of improving your mood throughout the following day as well.
Bedroom = no-phone zone.
Unfortunately, devices are disruptive to sleep on a number of levels.
Its common to struggle to switch off from socialising or work mode. We are always engaging with our phones, laptops, ipads and kindles.
The light these devices emit is blue light your brain doesn’t start producing melatonin, a sleep hormone while you’re using them.
Help yourself make that switch by turning your phone off a few hours before you go to bed . Leave it outside of the bedroom.
What if the routine isn’t working?
For some people creating a bedtime routine simply isn’t enough.
The causes of chronic insomia are many and varied and often have emotionally or socially related roots. Sometimes it’s a habit we have got into.
Other times it’s because something happened in our past which has lead us to believe that sleeping isn’t safe.
If you do decide to seek treatment for insomnia it’s very important to find a therapist that you really click with. Working with someone you like and trust will make the process much more simple and effective.
I recommend having a chat with a few therapists before deciding who you’d like to work with.
There are a range of effective techniques that you can learn to reduce stress, increase relaxation and change the habits that you’ve created that are stopping you from getting the good night’s sleep that you need.
Abbey specialises in helping people with autoimmune health disorders,
anxiety and traumas. In 2017, she won London Hypnotherapy Academy ‘Rising
Star’ award for Clinical Hypnotherapy. Based in the UK.
Abbey has both a physical and digital practice which allows her to see clients from all over
the world. She is currently creating an online course for people with
Abbey Robb | Website