Have you ever gotten into bed at night but suddenly found you couldn’t get to sleep? We’ve all been there. It can feel nearly impossible to “shut off” your brain before falling asleep, but the key to keeping those wandering thoughts at bay is to establish a routine.
A wind-down or bedtime routine is a simple list of steps a person follows to help their brain separate the day from the night to clear their mind and relax into sleep. Although they involve relatively simple lifestyle changes, wind-down routines can dramatically improve sleep quality and help you feel more refreshed the next day.
We’ve created a step-by-step routine that you (or anyone) can follow to wind down at night and hopefully help you sleep better:
Step 1: Turn off all electronics.
Lying in bed scrolling through social media may be tempting, but it’s best to avoid electronics at least 30 minutes before going to sleep. Electronic devices, including smartphones, laptops, tablets, and televisions, emit a strong blue light that tricks the brain into thinking it’s daytime. As a result, the brain suppresses melatonin production and actively works to stay awake.
Step 2: Read a Good Book.
Several studies have shown a link between bedtime reading and improved sleep quality. Even a few minutes of reading before bed can help reduce stress and clear your mind to prepare for sleep. If you try this tip, stay away from exciting genres like suspense and action, and read from a tangible book – not a tablet or other electronic device.
Step 3: Have a Light Snack or Bedtime Tea.
Heavy meals and drinking before bed are not recommended, but a light snack, like a piece of fruit or yogurt, can calm your stomach and make it easier to fall asleep. Likewise, drinking a non-caffeinated herbal tea, such as chamomile or lavender, is another excellent way to calm the mind and induce sleep.
Step 4: Take a Warm Bath or Shower
The body experiences various hormonal changes that signal it’s time to sleep, one of which is a drop in core body temperature. Researchers have found that we can mimic this temperature drop at home by taking a warm bath about an hour before bed. Your body will heat up from the water, then quickly cool down as it evaporates, creating a soothing sensation that makes you feel tired and relaxed.
When to See a Doctor
There are many ways to wind down at night and help your body prepare for a good night’s sleep. However, if you have a more serious sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea, you may require additional treatment. At Advanced Homecare, we offer a wide range of resources to help sleep apnea patients get the care they need and the services they deserve. Contact us today to schedule a sleep study or learn more about our sleep apnea services.