The thought of following a bedtime routine will often conjure up childhood memories of bedtime stories, climbing ladders on bunk beds, and succumbing to lights out even though it was still light outside in the summer.
Although following a bedtime routine is a healthy part of growing up - studies have demonstrated the positive impact one has on a child’s attention, memory and physical growth - practising one is just as important when you reach adulthood.
An underlying theme that runs throughout many of our previous blogs is the fact that sorting out your sleep is the first place to start when you’re feeling not quite right, and that a healthy approach to sleep generates a whole host of life-affirming benefits.
A poor night’s rest holds you back from your full potential, but a month or even years of poor sleep will have a dire and detrimental impact on your health. The world gets a lot more stressful with age, and although you might have followed a routine as a child, it can be easy to get lost in the chaos of adulting.
Habits and Harmony
Routine becomes ritual when it comes to sleep, a consecutive list of activities that you perform 30 to 60 minutes before you expect to go to bed, each and every night. Although they may sound longwinded, everyone expresses their own pre-sleep habit in their own special way.
This could be anything from checking your feed one final time to taking a bath whilst reading a book. Routines vary and can be of different styles and lengths for everyone.
The human inclination to form habits spreads to many areas of life, and practising a bedtime routine can help reconnect the brain to the natural circadian rhythm, whilst also slowly training the body to recognise when it’s time to sleep.
The Best Bedtime Routine for Adult Life
What does the perfect bedtime look like in the demanding world of today? Here are our ideas that could help you find peace in the day when you need it the most:
Prepare the space
The centrepiece of any bedtime routine should be ensuring that you’ve got the perfect place to sleep. The body can be very temperamental and easily disturbed in its unconscious state, and the process balances on the environment that surrounds it.
There are lots of ways to create the sleep oasis of your dreams, and many things to consider. Take time to clear away any clutter you may have around your bed, and try to set the temperature of the room to anywhere between 15.6℃ and 19.4℃. Although the optimal temperature for sleep is thought to be around 18.3℃, where the temperature of your room falls on this scale is entirely a choice of personal preference.
Scents have a particular effect on making a person feel tired. Lavender sleep sprays for example leverage a powerful natural ingredient called linalool, which when inhaled, can induce feelings of deep relaxation.
Set a Bedtime
In order to run like clockwork, the body needs to stick close to the time on an almost methodical basis. Habits are easy to remember if they happen around the same time every day, and sticking to a fixed and regular bedtime will help the body to produce more of the sleep hormone melatonin naturally as the time to sleep approaches, whilst also allowing it to adjust to a more natural sleep cycle.
In the crazy, modern world of one hundred and one demands, it can be difficult to stay true to this task, and no one would blame you for slipping up from time to time. If this is the case for you, and you find that your priorities must sometimes take precedent over your sleep, what we’d really recommend is to not go to sleep too late, and to also try to wake up around the same time every day.
A fixed waking up point is far more important than the time you actually go to sleep, and it’s this rule that we’d really recommend to the busiest people trying to build their own bedtime routine.
Dim the Lights
Whilst we’re on the topic of the run-up to bedtime, one little-practised trick that can really make all the difference, and although it’s probably the most underrated feature on our list, dimming the lights, or being in a dark-ish environment an hour or two before bed can really work wonders for your sleeping pattern and bedtime routine.
This is because most ceiling lights give off a type of light called blue light (more on that a little bit later). When the eyes are exposed to this blue light, it suppresses the body’s natural production of melatonin; otherwise known as the sleep hormone that makes you feel tired. Hence why if you’re sitting in a bright environment you’re much less likely to find yourself feeling sleepy than if you were sitting in a dark cinema or in the back seat of a car driving at night for example.
When it comes to keeping the light out when you’re getting down to sleep, we’d recommend nothing more than the most advanced blackout technology.
Turn Off the Electronics
On a similar note, most electronic devices, including phone screens, laptops and televisions, give off this dreaded blue light that suppresses the body’s feelings of tiredness. Indeed, blue light is a common feature of everyday life, and can all too easily influence you when you need it least. This is why little habits like checking your feed, or replying to an email just before you’re due to sleep, can do so much damage.
However, modern technology has found a way to beat the system, protecting your senses and your sleep from the disturbing influence of blue light. The solution comes in the form of blue light blocking glasses, which when worn, prevent the eyes from succumbing to the sleep-deprivation effects of checking your mobile or working late into the night.
To discover how exactly this contemporary technology works, please visit our blog here.
Don’t `Forget to Stretch
It’s hard to sleep when you're tense, and it’s exactly the same situation for the muscles too. Working constantly throughout the day, it can be easy for tension to accumulate in the hard-working muscle tissues, especially if you’d describe yourself as an active person.
Stretching works to open out the muscles and release this debilitating tension by sweeping away any dormant deposits of lactic acid; the by-product of movement that makes the muscles feel sore.
Now, this is by no means a suggestion to engage in a full-body workout just before you go to bed, however, it is handy to remember that even the smallest movements that require the least amount of effort will go a long way in making you feel, and sleep, better. From resistance bands to core sliders to the power of acupressure, there are plenty of ways to prepare your tired and strained muscles for sleep.
Skin routines rule
The penultimate stage of any effective bedtime routine involves cleaning the face. It’s shocking how much dirt the face can pick up throughout the day, and indeed, small deposits of dirt and oil clog up the pores.
Blockages in the pores can cause acne, which itself can be a lot more difficult to clear. When you go to bed without washing your face, not only are you risking eight hours of blocked pores, but you could also be transferring that dirt and oil to your bedsheets, and especially your pillow.
We’ve been playing around with lots of different materials recently, and our design studio has seen many different prototypes come and go. However, one of the most impressive materials that we’ve come across in terms of its ability to keep the skin clear also happens to be one of the fastest-growing and most sustainable materials on earth.
Discover our journey to clear skin and the products we embraced along the way here.
Let it out
The truth is, you can dim the lights as much as you like and ban every device from your bedroom, but if you’re not processing your internal feelings and emotions with proper care, they very much could stand in the way of you and a perfect night’s sleep.
Journaling is an excellent avenue for this, and is a very healthy habit to practice in the run-up to bedtime. Whether it’s just a few lines or a few pages, being able to visualise your thoughts and feelings for the day will help to transfer them from your mind and into the safe pages of your journal; away from the delicate balance of the sleep cycle. Although a bit cliché, the benefits brought by this form of self-therapy really are to be believed!
For more help and advice on how to sleep better in the busy world of being an adult, swing on over to our wide-ranging collection and highly-adored blog here.
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