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Bedtime Routines for Adults that will Help you sleep Better
Guest Post by Sarah Poirier
Sleep plays a vital role in all of our lives, and there are countless articles and sources of information that cite sleep as one of the most important factors in our mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Any parent knows that sleep is crucial in their child’s development, their brains, their bones, their muscles, everything. But bedtime routines for adults is on the rise in recent days, due to the fact that sleep is also important for adults as well.
Bedtime Rituals for Adults for a Better Sleep
Sleep deprivation can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even stroke.
When we have sufficient sleep, our bodies respond to the rest, and…
- Our emotions are more reasonable
- Our immune system can defend against viruses
- Our reactions are quicker
- We have increased focus and energy
- Our blood sugar levels are stable.
Basically, sleep keeps us all from falling apart! And as any mom of a newborn can attest to, continual sleep deprivation really messes with our heads! So, how are you sleeping these days? And what are your tricks for falling (and staying!) asleep at night?
Bed Time Routines for Children and Bed Time Routines for Adults
In speaking with many different parents over the years, I’ve learned that there is a wide range of “bedtime routines” out there for children. Some families have virtually no routine, and the children go to bed when they feel ready and tired. Some families adhere to a strict bedtime routine that rarely alters and begins at the same time pretty much every evening. There are of course pros and cons for every approach, and every family needs to do what works best for them.
When my children were very little, I was one of those Moms who was incredibly strict about their kids’ bedtime routine. We rarely were out past the time when bedtime started (they are only now, at 4 and 7, staying up late to watch fireworks on Canada Day), and we did the same thing every evening – bath, brush teeth, baby massage (when they were infants), bottle, books, cuddle, bed.
To this day my kids are excellent sleepers, never challenge when it is time for bed, and go through the routine with minimal fuss. That being said, I have also seen families who have very little structure to their bedtime routine, and the kids are happy, healthy, and thriving. So, it always has to go back to “do what’s best for you and your family”.
Regardless of what your bedtime is for your children, have you ever stopped to think about:
What YOUR bedtime routine looks like?
Often, as parents, we spend a lot of time thinking about and planning routines for our children, but rarely do we spend much time thinking about our own sleep needs. And given that we are the ones who are caring for these crazy rugrats wonderful cherubs, we are the ones who should be looking at our bedtime routine! Even if we are not raising little ones, sleep is so important for everyone!
So…. how are YOU sleeping these days?
A Bedtime Rituals for Adults that will help you Sleep Better
There are a few basic things to keep in mind when aiming for a good night sleep. They can include:
• A dark room – I don’t know many people who sleep well in a heavily-lit room. Having things like blackout blinds can help to make your room the perfect dark haven for sleep.
• A good mattress – So important! If your body is uncomfortable, you are unlikely to sleep well. You are also twice as likely to wake feeling unrefreshed and achy in the morning.
• Good pillows – Too often we ignore the need to good quality pillows. Our heads are resting on lumps of lead, or flat, unsupportive pillows. This can lead to sore necks in the morning and a restless sleep throughout the night.
• Weighted blanket – This is one of those items that is a personal choice for people. Some people don’t enjoy the extra weight of the blanket, while others find that weighted blankets provide that sensory stimulation and help your body to feel comfortable and safe.
- White noise – My husband can NOT sleep without some form of white noise, and when my children were little, they slept much better if they had a fan running or their Sleep Sheep making some white noise in the background. White noise can help to drown out all those little noises we hear at night, allowing you to fall into a deeper sleep.
- Get it off your chest – Writing about your day in Bullet Points Journal to ease your brain on what you achieved to complete
- Prepare for tomorrow – Making a list of the goals and tasks for the following day will send the message to your brain that you have everything under control
There are many different bedtime routines for adults, and depending on what your needs are for a healthy bedtime routine, there are lots of different options! But putting some thought into what your routine looks like and what healthy options you could incorporate, could lead to a deeper sleep and increased energy in the morning, thus benefitting you in the long run.
Ideas to incorporate into your healthy bedtime routine:
• Herbal Teas – Sometimes having a warm cup of herbal tea (nothing with caffeine, as that can have a negative result on your sleep) such as cammomile tea or valerian tea can help your body to settle down and feel more relaxed before you hit the hay.
• Aromatherapy – Our sense of smell is a very powerful sense, and in recent days has had increased recognition through various aromatherapies coming to light and becoming quite popular. There are certain smells that can help you to feel more relaxed when going to sleep. Having a diffuser in your room with some gentle essential oils can have a very positive effect on your sleep. Smells like lavender, patchouli, and cinnamon all have relaxing properties.
• Yoga or gentle exercise – While it’s not always a good idea to get your heart racing and doing a big workout right before bed, a little bit of gentle exercise can be very beneficial. Completing a yoga routine can help to stretch all your muscles out before resting through the night, and it can also help you enter a sense of calm by releasing oxytocin in your body, the hormone that causes us to feel relaxed and happy.
• Meditation before bed – Meditation has many benefits, and it is something that is good to incorporate into any part of your day. Meditating or completing a guided meditation before bed can help to channel positive energy into your body, settle your muscles, calm your breathing, and get your mind into a positive state before heading off to sleep, ensuring that you sleep better.
• Skip the late-night snacking! – This is a big one for me, as I usually love to snack while watching some TV in the evening. However, I do find that if my evening snack includes sugary or very fatty foods (such as your typical snacks, chips, chocolate, etc.) then I do not sleep as well, and I often wake up not feeling great or even having heartburn.
Cutting out the junky snacks at night can make a big difference in your overall sleep. If you still feel the need to snack in the evenings, as I do, try having some apple slices and peanut butter. The crunch of the apple combined with the sweet and salty flavor of the peanut butter can often satisfy those cravings. Also, aim to finish your snacking at least an hour before you plan to go to sleep, as it gives your body time to digest it before you head off to bed.
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• Sleeping pills – Now, this is not necessarily something to incorporate into your daily bedtime routine, as the opinions on the use of sleeping pills can be controversial. I’m certainly not promoting taking pills on a regular basis in order to sleep. Before resorting to any type of medication to help you sleep, I would recommend trying some of these other healthy bedtime rituals first. That being said, sleep is crucial to our health, and if you’re simply not getting enough sleep, then a gentle sleep aide might be an idea to try occasionally. I have used Sleep-Eze in the past, which is basically the same medication as Gravol, when I desperately needed a decent night sleep. There are some gentle, over-the-counter medications that you can try, or if sleepless nights continue to plague you, perhaps a visit to your doctor to discuss your options would be an idea.
Regardless of what your bedtime routine looks like, it would be beneficial to take a closer look at it and see if/where you could incorporate some healthy bedtime rituals, especially if you find you’re not sleeping well or enough throughout the night. As part of living a healthier lifestyle, making sure that we get adequate sleep at night is a vital first step.
Perhaps choose one of these suggestions to try in the evening and see if it makes a difference in your overall sleep at night. Does it help you settle better? Do you feel more relaxed when heading off to sleep? Do you awake feeling more refreshed? Let’s make this year where everyone gets enough sleep! (Haha who am I kidding?! I have small children!)
Sarah Poirier is an elementary school teacher, freelance writer, and a mom who is seeking a simpler lifestyle away from the everyday “rat race”. Having recently completed a cross-country move, she now lives on her oceanfront paradise in Nova Scotia with her husband and two beautiful, energetic children and is actively pursuing a career in writing. As a writer, she is passionate about finding ways to live a healthier, simpler, and more holistic lifestyle, and building a successful homestead for her and her family.
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