The bedtime ritual may be the most important daily ritual because it triggers your mind and body to relax and unwind in preparation for a good night’s sleep.
Adequate sleep is critical for everything we do.
Aspects of a Bedtime Ritual:
At least 30 minutes before the time you want to go to sleep:
1. Start a wind-down routine.
Straighten up a bit, check that doors are locked, turn out lights, take care of evening hygiene, etc. These activities will become your brain’s trigger that it’s time to shift gears toward sleep.
2. Engage in a relaxing activity that does not involve screen time of any sort.
By screen time, I mean TV, computer, iPad, phone, etc. And yes, sadly, this includes reading books on your iPad or other backlit e-readers. (Apparently, the Kindle is okay because it isn’t backlit; Apple suggests switching to “white on black mode” to decrease blue light.) We all know people who fall asleep with the TV on, and most young adults can’t conceive of not checking their phone for messages before they go to bed, but please try to avoid this. These screens emit blue light which activates the brain and suppresses melatonin; plain and simple, this disrupts your sleep. TVs are the least of the offenders because they are farthest from your eyes. For more information, read this Chicago Tribune article. Instead of screen time, try reading just before bed–that’s always the number one suggestion from the top sleep researchers. If you’re not a big reader, flipping through magazines is just as effective.
Don’t focus what you need to do the next day–this is not the time for that.
If you need to plan the next day, do that before you start your wind-down routine. Do keep a notepad by the bed and if something pops into your head, jot it down. But don’t start a list! (Make sure your morning ritual includes gathering any notes from the night before.)
These are the most important aspects of a bedtime routine.
Decide which step(s) you can incorporate and get started this evening! Check out Daily Routines–a blog about how “interesting people organize their days.”
Want to share what works for you?