About two-thirds of UK adults experience a sleep disorder, with the most common issue being difficulty getting to sleep.
Unfortunately, having a sleep disorder can have a significant impact on a person’s physical and mental health.
Bedtime rituals are one of the best solutions for dealing with sleep disorders.
A bedtime ritual is an activity that is performed just before going to bed with the goal of improving the quality of your sleep.
In this post, I’ll share some information about the various types of bedtime rituals you can incorporate into your evening and why they are beneficial.
Why are bedtime rituals important?
Getting a good night’s sleep is important for maintaining good health.
That’s because your body uses the time you spend sleeping to perform several important biological tasks.
These tasks include the elimination of waste, hormone production, and the repair of damaged tissue.
If you don’t get enough sleep, these processes may be disrupted, which can increase the risk of several illnesses.
Bedtime rituals make getting to sleep much easier, ensuring that your body has plenty of time to heal and maintain itself.
Bedtime rituals will help you:
- Process the events of the day so they do not keep you awake
- Prepare your body for bed
- Put you in a very calm, happy, and relaxed mood
- Inform your mind that it is time for sleep, which kick starts several biological and chemical processes which make it easier to get to sleep
What are the best bedtime rituals?
Turning off technology
Several studies have shown that excessive screen time before going to bed can be very disruptive to sleep.
The bright lights emitted by electronic devices like laptops and mobile phones disrupt the production of melatonin, a natural chemical which informs the brain that it is time to sleep.
This can make it much harder to get to sleep.
You should aim to turn off all of your electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bed.
Make a to-do list for tomorrow
Many people struggle to fall asleep because their mind is moving at 100 miles per hour as they think about all of the tasks they need to complete the next day.
Rid yourself of this feeling by making a concise todo list before going to bed.
The simple act of writing out the tasks you need to do will stop you laying in bed obsessing about them.
You will know what needs to be done as it is all written down, so you can safely get some much-needed sleep.
Write down your thoughts in a journal
This is a useful practice for clearing your mind of any disruptive or negative thoughts before bed.
Write down two or three things that went well during your day.
Perhaps you had a productive day in the office or spent some quality time with your friends after work.
Jot down any memorable events that happened as well, along with the things that you are thankful for in your life.
It may also be beneficial to note what went wrong during the day as well, along with solutions for preventing those situation from happening again.
If you were late for work, why?
If you have an issue with a colleague, can you think of any ways to resolve it?
This approach only works with some people, so try it out to see if it is therapeutic and helps you get a good night’s sleep.
Drink a glass of warm milk
Drinking a glass of milk to get a good night’s sleep may sound like an old wive’s tale, but there is some scientific evidence to back it up.
Milk contains a hormone called tryptophan, which has been shown to stimulate the production of melatonin, which helps you get to sleep faster.
Meditation is a useful technique for calming the mind and ridding yourself of any persistent negative thoughts.
Even a 5 to 10 minute meditation session can lead to dramatic improvements in the quality of your sleep.
Read this guide on meditation to learn more.
Read a book
Reading a book is a fantastic alternative to using electronic devices before going to sleep.
The act of scanning the page can make the eyes tired, which makes it even easier to drift off.
Yoga is one of the best forms of exercise for promoting a sense of calmness and inner peace.
Mindful personal hygiene
Most of us perform several personal hygiene tasks before going to bed.
This usually includes activities like brushing our teeth, flossing, brushing our hair and so on.
You can make these activities more relaxing and conducive to sleep by turning them into mindfulness activities.
Mindfulness is the practice of placing all of your focus on the present moment.
Instead of ruminating about the past or being anxious about the future, you will place all of your attention onto what is happening right now.
Mindfulness is very relaxing and has several scientifically-proven health benefits.
If you were brushing your teeth in a mindful way, you would think about all aspects of the process.
How does the toothbrush feel in your hand?
What does the toothpaste smell like?
What colour is the toothpaste?
How do the bristles of the toothbrush feel against your gums?
Really focus on the experience.
You will soon discover that you feel completely relaxed, calm, and ready to go to sleep.
Visualisation is a technique that many successful people use to reach their goals.
They will put a picture in their head representing what they want to achieve.
Eventually this image is firmly embedded in their mind and becomes a part of their subconscious.
It can provide a huge amount of motivation.
It is the perfect bedtime ritual because it can be performed as you lay in bed.
Spend a few minutes visualising a healthier, wealthier, more successful you.
If your goal is to simply get some high-quality sleep, visualise yourself laying on a beach or performing some other relaxing activity.
I hope you enjoyed reading How Bedtime Rituals Can Help You Sleep Better.
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If you have any bedtime rituals that you find effective, leave a comment below.