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Many of us struggle to fall asleep at night. We toss and turn, or pop supplements and pills before we can drift off. If this is you, or you just want to work on a better night time routine, here are some simple ways to put calm into your bedtime routine. If your mind and body aren’t overstimulated, it’s easier and quicker to fall asleep at night. And of course, we are all about finding natural ways to achieve this.
Stop the Caffeine Early
Caffeine has a surprisingly long halftime, which means it stays in our system longer than we think. You may have built up a tolerance and tell yourself that you can drink coffee or caffeinated tea late in the day, but it will not help you fall asleep. Most experts recommend you stop drinking caffeinated beverages between noon and two pm. Stick to that for a while and see if it helps you stay calm in the evenings and get sleepy around bedtime.
Turn Off The Screens
I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you that screens like computers, televisions, and especially tablets and phones make it harder for you to fall asleep. The reason why is because the light they emanate mimics the sun and tricks our bodies into thinking it’s earlier in the day than it is. That in turn throws off our circadian rhythms. Phones and tablets are particularly bad because we hold them so close to our faces. I encourage you to turn off all screens for at least two hours before you go to bed. It will make a bigger difference than you think.
What about blue light blockers or filters? They will help and are better than nothing, but they will not help you establish a good bedtime routine. It’s okay to not check your email until the morning. Now is also a good time to be honest with you. Are you doing productive things on your phone, or are you scrolling social media, playing games, and letting yourself be entertained? Give putting your phone to the side at night a try and see if you don’t start to sleep better.
Lower The Sounds And Lights
At the same time, it’s a good idea to start lowering the lights and anything you may be listening to. It even helps to lower your voice and invite your loved ones to do the same. Use softer light bulbs, and turn off any overhead lights. They mimic the sun and can trick your body into thinking it’s still early in the day.
How many of those items above are you guilty of? I know for myself #2 is probably the toughest. If I want a warm drink at night, I am good with green tea and we don’t usually have a lot of bright lights on. But not reading on my phone in bed. Oooh that’s a toughie. What about you? What’s the toughest one for you to make your night time routine better?
Now that we talked about everything you shouldn’t during the hours before bedtime, let’s discuss a few things you can do that promote calm. Reading a book is a good idea, as is sitting together in quiet conversation. Listen to some music or play a relaxing board game with your family. Or take this time for yourself and indulge in some self-care.
Taking a warm bath or shower has been shown to promote sleep. Light a candle, turn on some soothing music and mediate or write in a journal. Spend some time unwinding and letting go of your busy day. After that, driving off to sleep will be easy and natural.
In case you missed Step 1: What time should I go to bed?
Tomorrow: Why You Should Ban Screens From Your Bedroom