How can we optimize our hours of sleep before we actually go to sleep you might ask?
Well there are many ways to do this, and a bed time routine is pretty crucial to help you on the way to getting to sleep more easily.
This isn’t to say it’s the only way to get sleep, and there may be other underlying factors that make it harder for some people than others. But there are a few things that really do help me get a better night’s rest, so long as I’ve practiced most of them.
Keeping Away from Tech
If I’m preparing myself for an early evening that I’m not feeling tired for yet, I will make sure I keep my screen time limited, no matter what it is.
So this means avoiding mindless scrolling on social media, watching YouTube videos, or staring at a TV screen. All these things not only keep me more alert due to the blue back lighting on LED screens, but they often make the time pass faster, and before long you’ll have less hours to sleep before you need to wake up again.
If you really cannot get off your phone and you’re slowly limiting your usage, try downloading an app where you can put a red light filter, or a night mode filter that will eliminate the blue light that keeps you more alert. If this still doesn’t work, then try to phase it out before you sleep.
Find Another Pre-Sleep Activity
What I find helps get me into a sleepy state is doing something else to distract my brain, such as a sudoku or word puzzles. You can either grab them from a newspaper or buy a book with them, and I find this is the best method to make me fall asleep.
For some reason, although I do enjoy sudoku puzzles, I find that doing this at night makes me feel tired, and I can almost bore myself to sleep with it, but I can’t really say why that is.
If these are too mind boggling for you, you could do some writing, journaling or coloring books, whichever feels less strenuous on your mind.
Avoid Eating Heavy Meals
I tend to have little trouble eating before I sleep, though I know this isn’t good for me as it makes me feel tired and groggy in the morning.
As a general rule, try to eat light or not at all shortly before sleeping, as it gives your body less to work on, less to stay alert about, and will possibly give you an upset stomach.
So keep your meals slightly earlier in the day, and if you must eat later, then keep it to a healthy snack or a very small meal.
This method’s effects vary with a lot of people, but with this it’s really effective in helping me prepare for a better night’s sleep. Something about a hot bath tires my body out, and during and after the bath, my eyes just want to close.
It may be that the heat causes the body to feel the need to balance it out by trying to cool down, and this uses energy. My body then feels exhausted and it makes me feel more sleepy.
If you struggle to relax in the bath, try adding some Epsom bath salts and a touch of lavender fragrance. These two together will make you feel lighter in the water, and the fragrance will be very soothing and relaxing in the bath.
It works to a great effect on myself when preparing to go to sleep fairly soon after.
Try to Sleep at Similar Times Each Day
As a shift worker, this can be the most challenging to keep up.
Some of the time, my work starts early in the morning, and on others it finishes very late at night. There doesn’t seem to be much in between, so my sleeping pattern seems almost impossible to make a routine of. Though this is the case, I do my best to keep the waking up and bed time times roughly within a few hours give or take.
By keeping my sleeping and waking hours roughly similar, it limits the risk of messing up my body clock as much as possible, since the body will fall out of place when these times change drastically all of the time.
So by keeping it similar, you avoid giving your body too many nasty surprises to wake up to, literally.
And with a bit of a routine established, your body will start to automatically tell you when it’s time to get some rest.
All these points really help me to get some quality sleep, and although I have trouble doing so due to the nature of my working hours, for the most part these snippets of a routine help my body prepare better for some sweet dreams.