The Pre-bedtime Routine - Your Secret to Superior SleepDec 07, 2022
A pre-bedtime routine is more than just brushing your teeth. In order to prepare for a great night of sleep, your body and mind need to be in a restful state. After a long day of work, this state doesn’t come naturally. But with a little practice, you’ll become a pro at preparing for some of your most restful nights yet.
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A Stressed Out Generation
Stress is a huge sleep killer. We’ve all experienced the frustration of mulling over problems or upcoming projects while also trying to fall asleep. And we all know how futile it is. A report by the APA (American Psychological Association) stated that, “Adults with high stress are more likely to say they are not getting enough sleep because their minds race.”
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On the other hand, cutting down on stress allows you to experience more and deeper sleep. The same study by the APA stated, “On average, adults with lower reported stress levels report sleeping more hours a night than do adults with higher reported stress levels.” The study averaged out the extra sleep the less stressed participants were enjoying, and it came out to just under an hour. That’s great news. It means that by reducing your stress, you can enjoy nearly an extra hour of sleep a night.
Employing a 15 to 30 minute pre-bedtime routine right before climbing into bed is a fantastic way to reduce stress. Below are three steps you can take to prepare your heart, mind, and body for a great night of sleep.
All kinds of thoughts keep us up at night. Pondering new ideas, thinking over the events of the day, and worrying about problems or future tasks can keep our minds humming long into the night.
Your mind is incredibly helpful, and if there are items it thinks you should be thinking about, it will let you know—even if it’s eleven o’clock at night and you’re just trying to fall asleep.
Research has shown that capturing these thoughts by writing them down can help unburden your mind, allowing it to rest. When it knows you’re on top of things, your mind feels free to take a break and let you rest peacefully. A recent study showed this to be especially true for upcoming tasks, and concluded that drafting a todo list before bed actually helped individuals fall asleep faster.
Another great reason to journal at night is to chronicle the positives from the day so you can drift off in the right headspace.
These three questions can help guide you through this process:
- What did I learn today? 📝
- Who did I help today? 📝
- What am I grateful for today? (include at least three things) 📝
Over time, answering these questions will help you see the contributions you’re making, and ensure you’re viewing learning as a life-long endeavor as opposed to something that happens accidentally.
Stretching is a fantastic way to wind down after a full day. Unlike other exercises that invigorate you, stretching is calming, which is exactly what you need to prepare your body for sleep. Taking five to ten minutes to stretch and relax does wonders for settling your mind and body. It lets them know it’s time to prepare for rest.
There are many incredible stretches to practice before bed. If you need ideas, you can access instructions for six of the most powerful stretches here.
Calming your mind through meditation and breathing exercises might be foreign to you, but don’t discount it just yet. Meditation has been linked over and over again to deeper sleep, and more positivity in life, which can lead to greater happiness, satisfaction, and contribution.
Meditation calms your mind and body, helping you transition from an adrenaline infused fight or flight mode to a peaceful state that embraces rejuvenation.
By taking just a few minutes to meditate at night before drifting off, it won’t be long before you begin seeing incredible results in your sleep quality and overall mindset.
Creating your Routine ⏰
Below are three simple action steps to help you start crafting your nightly routine.
First, choose a quiet place to do your journaling. Using the same place every time will be a trigger for your mind to transition into journaling mode. Also, use soft lighting from this point until bedtime to help you wind down.
Next, determine what stretches you’ll do every night. Feel free to change them up occasionally to add variety.
Lastly, choose and write down a few key truths to meditate on each night, and allow your mind to gently explore these truths as you drop off to sleep.
You’ll find that these three activities will take between 15 and 30 minutes. We recommend performing this routine as the last thing you do before falling asleep, so you’d finish up your other nightly tasks, and jump into your pre-bedtime routine 30 minutes before turning off the lights.
After just a few nights of following this routine, you’ll begin reducing your stress and seeing a definite improvement in the quantity and quality of your sleep.
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