Sleep is something that helps us to function both physically and mentally and when we are not getting enough sleep we can often feel dysregulated. Many adults, adolescents, and children have trouble getting a proper night’s sleep. This can be due to reasons such as anxiety, nightmares, insomnia, or other sleep related issues. What most individuals do at the end of the day is simply put on their pajamas, get in bed, and try to sleep. This is not always enough for some, who may end up tossing and turning throughout the night. One thing that can help us to achieve better sleep is to create a night time routine to prepare us for bed. Night time routines may seem pointless, but can actually be very helpful in improving the quality of your sleep. Some suggestions to create your own night time routine are:
- Pick a set time that works for your schedule at which you will go to sleep Sunday – Thursday, on Friday and Saturday you can extend this time by a couple of hours if you wish. Example: Sunday-Thursday 10pm, and Friday/Saturday 12am.
- Try to avoid screens (phone, tv, computer) for at least 30 minutes before bed.
- Find a time to wind down before going to sleep, this can be taking warm bath/shower, reading, listening to calming music, or anything that relaxes and calms you.
- Try to make your bed as inviting as possible by washing your bedding once a week.
- Pick out some comfortable pajamas,
- Keep the TV off in your bedroom as it can be too stimulating. If you feel like you must have it on try putting on something that won’t keep you awake such as a music or soundscape video, turning down the volume and brightness of your TV or wearing a sleep mask can also be helpful.
- Avoid drinking anything right before going to bed, this can disrupt your sleep later in the night because you’re having to get up and use the bathroom.
- Limit your caffeine intake later in the day. Caffeine is a stimulant that can interrupt your sleep if you have it to late in the day.
- Don’t check your clock. Checking your clock to see what time it is when you can’t sleep can make it even harder to fall asleep. Try having your clock facing away from you or across the room where you can’t see it.
- If you have trouble shutting your mind off when you go to sleep keep a notepad by your bed where you can write down the thoughts you’re having, and remind yourself to revisit them the next day.
These are just some of the things that can help you to create a successful night routine for yourself. Each person’s routine will likely be different from the next and that’s okay, it’s all about finding what works for you. Hopefully trying out these tips can aid you in creating a night time routine that will help to get a better night’s sleep.
Written by Michelle Brown
Graduate Counseling Intern at Step by Step Counseling LLC