Dinner at 6pm, shower at 7pm and sleepover at 8pm – we know why this is the perfect bedtime routine for kids. It helps them relax and gives them the important hours of sleep they need. So what happens when our parents don’t tell us when to go to bed? Adult bedtime routines aren’t entirely consistent, but they’re essential to our sleep. Here’s why you need a healthy adult bedtime routine and how to get one.
Benefits of Habits
Humans enjoy the feeling of a routine. Routines free your brain from making constant small decisions that can lead to fatigue. Imagine if you had to ‘decide’ when to wake up, eat, exercise and brush your teeth? Instead, it all happens easily without your brain having to tell you what to do. This sense of fluency helps you be more productive and feel as though you are achieving the required tasks. Thus, reducing stress.
But there is such a thing as an unhealthy habit. For example, streaming TV until 1 a.m., waking up unsteadily then skipping breakfast just to get through the office door on time is still a habit. It’s not a very good one.
Even healthy habits have the potential to become boring if you don’t break them on a regular basis. Establishing a healthy bedtime routine is important, but you should also give yourself a few nights off – like the weekend – to change things up.
What does a good habit look like?
Heidi Dening is a speaker and workplace health consultant for Workable Wellness. Her work often focuses on helping busy professionals fall asleep and stay there. Here’s what she has to say about adult bedtime routines:
“It’s important to create a buffer between the workday and the rest day, so your brain understands that it’s time to take a break and shut down. When we are tired, we are inactive, lead, exercise, love, play, eat, create, analyze or strategize well!
A good sleep ritual is:
1. 30-60 minutes before bed, put all devices away.
2. Read a story book.
3. Perform a series of gentle movements.
4. List 3 things you are grateful for. Even on bad days, I’m grateful for coffee, wine, and fresh air.
5. 10pm (in bed) apply lavender cream”
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3 ways to put out the fire
Dr. Lillian Nejad is a clinical psychologist and author of LIFEBLOCKERS: Sleep Edition. She shared with us some tips from her book to help you achieve that important bedtime routine.
Physical activity during the day will help prepare you both physically and mentally for sleep. Regular exercise lowers your overall stress levels, improves your mood, and will help your body feel tired before bed.
Sleep when you’re sleepy
There is a natural sleep-wake cycle of about sixty to ninety minutes, so if you delay falling asleep when you feel sleepy, you may miss your window. Bottom line: when you feel drowsy, go to bed now!
Have a sober routine
Sleepless? There is a routine for that too. If you can’t fall asleep or you wake up and can’t go back to sleep, instead of lying there, build a mindfulness routine that will at least relax and, at best, help you get back to sleep. “
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Make it so you want to sleep a little
Don’t get us wrong; We used to find it hard to get out of that perfect couch nook and go to sleep. But an ultra-comfortable sleep setting is all you need to lure you in earlier each night.
Upgrade the softness (or firmness, if you prefer) to your bed with a mattress pad of any size; from royal queen size to starfish pose equipped with single king topper.
Prepare to splash?
Treat yourself to a new memory foam mattress and enjoy all the benefits. You’ll never be disturbed by your partner tossing and turning again thanks to motion stabilization. Plus, it offers personalized support and is designed to fit your body.
Learn more about memory foam here.
Comfort is not an issue?
Maybe you need to change the design to get you excited about spending more time in bed. Pinterest-worthy nightstands are a simple way to update decor. Add a fluffy rug and some designer cushions and you’ll never want to leave.
Doing the same thing every night may sound boring, but you might be surprised by how much you enjoy it. With a few ‘cheat days’, you’ll reap the benefits of a healthy bedtime routine without feeling stuck.