A few weeks ago, I wrote a guest post for Ember Grey discussing why you need to treat yourself like a toddler. Today’s try this at home tip is an expansion of that post in regards to establishing a bedtime ritual.
Before we discuss this tip further, I encourage you to consider your current bedtime ritual. Do you have a ritual or do you simply wait until the last minute to fall into bed? How many hours of sleep do you need to feel rested? Those evening hours can rapidly pass by leaving many of us wishing for a few more hours to complete tasks. Sadly, many push past hours when in reality they should be sleeping.
Take some time to consider what you would like for your bedtime to be.
The best way to calculate this is to take into consideration the time you need to wake up. My goal is to be up at 5:00 am each morning to wake up. As I attempt to get 7 hours of sleep, this means I need to be asleep by 10. Thus, I try to get into bed by 9:30. I will be honest that there are many times I am not successful but developing an evening ritual is helping.
Schedule a time when you are no longer looking at your computer, phone or other electronic device.
Research is continuing to prove that the blue light emitted from our screens interrupts the production of melatonin which is a hormone that tells our body it is nighttime. Some studies suggest shutting off electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime. This is not an easy suggestion. I often do not get to my computer to respond to emails until 8:00. This leave little time for writing blog posts or correspondence if I aim for my electronic shut down of 9:00 PM
As I used to read books electronically at night, this has forced me to return to reading actual books and magazines. It does feel different and I have found that it does help fall asleep faster. If you are someone who still struggles with shutting everything down, consider software such as f.lux which adjusts your computer screen to the time of day (making your screen brighter during the day and darker at night) for your computer. In regards to your iphone, some suggest inverting your colors, but I prefer to adjust the brightness. level.
Make time for a beauty or self care ritual.
Establishing a physical routine allows time for your brain to acknowledge it is time to prepare for sleep. This ritual could involve stretching, taking a shower/bath or washing your face. Other suggestions are to have a cup of tea, write in a journal or read a book. Other suggestions include aromatherapy of lotions. Rituals are significant and do not have to be long or time consuming or expensive
For me, I have discovered that if I allow myself to become too sleepy and then have to wash my face, I am awake. As a result, I try to wash my face earlier in the evening and change out of my work clothes.
Create a relaxing bedroom environment.
Cooler environments assist in a sounder sleep. I’ve had to be aware of this when purchasing new comforters and covers for my bed. Too many times I have awoke in the middle of the night due to being hot. Consider if you need an overhead fan or sound machine to make the room more relaxing.
As adults, it becomes very easy to rush through this part of the day. A short evening ritual allows for time to reflect upon the good and bad of the day. It also helps to establish a time frame which can initiate the ritual. If you are someone who struggles with remembering when you need to be getting ready for bed, set an alarm as a reminder.
Do you currently have a bedtime ritual? What suggestions work for you?