Anyone with children will understand how important it is to get them into a stable bedtime routine.
But did you know that it can vastly improve the quality of your own sleep? Getting into a good routine will calm and relax you before bed and get your body and mind ready for sleep.
Cut out caffeine
Bedtime may be way off yet, but you should already have one eye on your routine.
This is all about creating the right environment for healthy sleep, which means cutting out caffeinated drinks after a certain point, we recommend as early as six hours before bed, as studies have shown even an afternoon coffee can have some impact on your sleep.
It’s also wise to avoid alcohol, heavy meals and exercise close to your sleep time. Of course, if you are hungry don’t starve yourself, just indulge in a light snack such as some fruit or granola.
Try to cut down your use of electronic devices
Over the last couple of years, it’s become commonplace for us all to be glued to various electronic devices, whether it be our mobiles, tablet or laptops, from the moment we wake up till the moment we go to bed.
However difficult it may be, it’s important to try and break out of this cycle. That’s because these devices emit a ‘blue light’ which interrupts your circadian rhythm (body clock).
And we all know that a quick check through Facebook or Twitter can often last a lot longer than anticipated, so try and set aside at least an hour of ‘screen-free’ time before bed.
Make a to-do list
One of the biggest things that can keep people up at night is all of the worries about various tasks and job which need doing.
To clear your head, why not try keeping a notebook next to your bed. This way you can make sure that everything is written down, and out of your head, ready to complete when you wake up.
Having everything you know you’ll need for the next day, such as your laptop, keys and lunch all ready will also help to set your mind at ease.
Whatever works for you, it’s important to do something that will calm you down, clear your head and get you ready for sleep.
Set an alarm BEFORE bed
It can be easy to get carried away with that you’re doing, and neglect your bedtime routine.
This why it’s as important to set an alarm on your phone to remind you go actually get ready for bed as well as to get up in the morning.
Once your alarm goes off, put down all of your electronic gadgets and work and commit to your routine.
Around an hour before bed, once you’ve turned off all your electronic devices, it’s time to really calm down, chill out and relax.
It’s really up to you how you achieve this, but we recommend having a warm bath, and reading a (paper!) book or magazine or listening to a podcast or some relaxing music.
If you find that yoga and/or meditation help you to relax as well, give those a try.
Establishing a consistent, relaxing routine can go a long way to improving your sleep, but remember, everybody’s different and it’s still going to take some people longer to fall asleep.
Having said this, if you still aren’t asleep after an hour, rather than worrying about it and starting at the minutes go by on the clock, you might be better off getting up and repeating some of the above aspects of the routine until you start to feel drowsy.