In one of our previous posts, we touched upon building a bedtime routine into your daily schedule in order to improve your sleep pattern. Today we dig a little deeper into understanding how exactly having a bedtime routine can help your quality of sleep.
In the same way having a daily routine can help us achieve more and make time for all the important aspects of our lives, from work to spending time with family, a bedtime routine can do wonders to help us achieve good, quality sleep.
To Sleep Deep, Learn to Let Go
We live in a high-performance, always-on age. Added to this, over the past few months we have had to deal with the anxiety, sadness and uncertainty brought about by the Covid19 pandemic. With the lines between work-from-home and home-time easily blurred, and the overwhelming feelings of helplessness, coupled the longing to be with our loved ones, it can subconsciously leave our minds in the ‘on’ mode, even when we’re sleeping, causing us to wake up often during the night, or not get enough deep sleep.
You can’t run away from the reality of what is happening; the troubles will still be there tomorrow, but a good night’s sleep can put you in a more alert and refreshed state of mind, which will improve your mood and help you look at things from a more positive point of view and also help you make better decisions.
The problem occurs when we’re not able to switch our minds to the ‘off’ mode. This is where a bedtime routine can make a big difference. Think of it like the ‘cool down’ period after an intense workout. It helps ease the mind and body into the optimum state for good sleep.
Since the outbreak of Covid19, there has also been an increase in the number of people experiencing bizarre or disturbing dreams. Research shows that being anxious during the day, can increase the chances of having dreams with a negative connotation, which in turn adversely affects the quality of your sleep. Relaxing during a bedtime routine gives your mind time to process all the feelings you have experienced during the day, and not carry the negative ones into your sleep time as well. Focusing on calming, happy thoughts just before you sleep can help keep those nightmares at bay.
Sleep and Power of Habits
Another reason having a daily bedtime routine is important is that doing the same calming activity night after night becomes a pattern that signals to your body and mind that it will soon be time for sleep. This trigger subconsciously prepares your mind to get into a relaxed state, improving your chances of quality sleep. To ensure you get the maximum benefit, make sure your bedtime routine, sleep and wake up times happen at the same time everyday. Set an alarm clock if you have to, not only to wake up, but more importantly, to remind yourself that it’s time to begin your bedtime routine!
‘me’ Time Before Bedtime
Even if your day is really busy, a bedtime routine gives you the perfect opportunity for some ‘me’ time. You will feel better just knowing that you are giving your self-care and mental health the attention it deserves. Use the time during your bedtime routine as an opportunity to pause and practice mindfulness, by becoming completely engaged in what you’re doing, whether it’s pre-bedtime Yoga or writing in your journal. Spending time focusing on what calms you down and leaves you feeling peaceful will not only help you sleep better, but also get you more in tune with yourself.
Has your sleep quality declined over the past couple of months? Try following a customised 30-60 minute bedtime routine, every night before you go to sleep.
What should this routine comprise of? Well, it varies from person to person, depending on your preferences and personality type, but anything you enjoy that calms your mind and body, and helps you feel in control. From reading or meditating to journaling or making a To Do list for the following day, anything that doesn’t stimulate the brain too much is fine.