One of the main reasons people experience stress before bedtime is the failure to plan for a restful night’s sleep. As with most things, failure to plan is a plan for failure. It seems so easy to go to bed, turn off the lights, close your eyes and fall asleep. If only it were that simple. The key to falling asleep is preparing for sleep in advance.
A bedtime routine can help combat stress and prepare our minds and bodies for rest. The hour before bedtime is just as important as the moment your head hits the pillow. Here’s why.
The activities you engage in before bed affect your sleep
What you do before bed can affect your ability to fall asleep. Engaging in screen time, drinking caffeine, watching emotionally intense content, discussing sensitive topics and other activities can cause you to become more active when you should be winding down.
Before bed, it’s best to engage in activities that encourage and trigger your natural sleep patterns. Drink decaffeinated hot tea, take a hot bath or shower, read. Listening to meditative content, wearing comfortable clothing, and getting ready for bed promote restful sleep.
Your circadian rhythm affects your sleep cycle
Our body is equipped with an internal sleep cycle. The circadian rhythm is a natural biological process in our bodies that helps us distinguish night from day. We have an innate window of time when our body moves toward sleepiness and prepares to go to bed. When this cycle is disrupted by staying up late or overstimulation, it can cause significant stress and make it difficult to fall asleep and wake up.
You can help keep your rhythm in balance by establishing a routine bedtime and sticking to it. Training your body to fall asleep and wake up at specific times can help you manage and overcome stressful thoughts before bed because your body is used to falling asleep on a specific schedule. Once your body gets used to falling asleep and waking up at specific times, you probably won’t need an alarm clock and won’t have trouble falling asleep…. Even when you’re stressed.
Create a routine that works for you
If you create a bedtime routine that works for you, you can consistently get ready for bed and fall asleep with little effort. Everyone is different, and what one person needs to get to rest may look different than someone else. Develop habits before bed that help you calm down, relax, and de-stress, and you’ll fall asleep easier and have more restful nights.