When the alarm goes off in the morning, there are some of us who pop out of bed, immediately ready to get the day started. But many of us are guilty of hitting the snooze just one more time for those coveted five minutes of extra sleep. Regardless of your feelings about mornings, there’s a good chance that a few simple habit changes like turning off your phone and climbing under a weighted blanket could help you wake up more refreshed.
Below, we’ve gathered a few tips you can incorporate for a healthy nighttime routine that results in a happier, more refreshed morning:
1. Turn Your Bed into a No-Tech Zone
It’s great to unwind before bed, but catching up on Netflix right before you hit the hay may not be the smartest idea, no matter how much of a soothing activity you think it is. The same goes for scrolling through Instagram. Handheld devices emit a blue light that triggers your brain into alertness and can interrupt your body’s release of the hormone melatonin, which makes you sleepy around bedtime.
As a part of your nightly routine, turn down electronics about an hour before you want to go to sleep. Swap out your phone for a good book or listen to a podcast as you begin to relax. A TV in the distance may not trigger your senses as much as a smartphone if you absolutely must fall asleep to the sound of your favorite murder mystery show or the latest episode of Stranger Things.
2. Take a Few Minutes to Write About Your Day
Journaling is another way to train your brain that it’s time to wind down. Even if you’re not a natural writer, incorporating some journaling into your nighttime routine could do wonders. Think about how many times you’ve laid in bed, going over a list of worries or trying to remember what the next day’s agenda holds. Writing down the things you want to get off your chest for the day or making an action plan for tomorrow allows you to go to bed with fewer wandering thoughts.
Journaling also reduces stress, and some doctors agree it might even boost your immune system. It only takes about 10 minutes of writing to make a big difference. Keep a pen and paper next to your bed so you don’t have any excuse to skip your writing time.
3. Think Twice About What You Eat and Drink
Eating a spicy evening snack could haunt you later. Not only is heartburn a bad addition to your nighttime routine, but digestion can keep you more alert than you realize.
On the other hand, going to bed too hungry can also disrupt your sleep. Find a good balance – a final snack a few hours before bed can satiate your hunger without making your stomach growl right as you climb under the sheets.
Thinking about indulging in a nightcap to help you fall asleep faster? You may want to reconsider. The National Sleep Foundation warns that alcohol disrupts sleep patterns. Because it can activate both your delta activity (normal, slow-wave sleep patterns) and alpha activity (awake resting activity), it’s more difficult for your body to go through its typical sleep rhythms after you’ve been drinking. Long story short: that glass of red wine might help you fall asleep faster, but it makes it less likely that your sleep will be restorative. You might also find yourself waking up more or waking up and failing to fall back asleep after a night of drinking.
4. Keep Your Bed Clean
About 71% of people surveyed say they sleep better when their sheets are clean. No surprise, right? We all know how good it feels to crawl between a set of sheets fresh from the dryer. A bed that hasn’t been cleaned can make you itchy, sneezy, or just plain grumpy.
Aside from washing your sheets and comforter frequently, you can also choose a cleaner bed and pillow materials. A copper-infused pillow, for example, is designed to naturally deflect many common types of bacteria and keep your bed more hygienic. You should also seek out materials, like bamboo sheets, that don’t allow dust mites to take up shop. These simple changes will make your bed a cleaner and more comfortable space to be.
5. Upgrade Your Bedding
Speaking of better bedding materials, it’s not just copper pillows that change the game. Memory foam mattresses also improve your sleep experience. They contour to your exact shape so you can rest on a mattress customized to your body. If you regularly struggle to find a comfortable position for falling asleep, changing your mattress could do the trick.
You may also want to make a weighted blanket part of your nighttime routine. These strategically weighted covers are known to calm the nervous system and increase melatonin levels. Even if you shed the blanket before you fall asleep, incorporating it into your routine for 20 minutes will do your body good.
6. Find a Way to Cool It
At least one study, from Cornell University Medical College, found that a drop in body temperature can help people fall asleep and achieve deeper levels of sleep. If you live in a warm climate, this might seem an impossible task during certain months. But if you can make lowering your temperature a part of your nighttime routine, you’ll reap the benefits by catching some extra sleep time.
One surprising way to lower your body temp is by taking a warm bath. This can stimulate your body into releasing heat and ultimately lowering your internal temperature. Plus, if you add Epsom salt and lavender to the mix, your body will start to relax and lull you into a sleepy state right before you climb into bed.
If baths are not your thing, consider using a cooling eye mask or more breathable sheets to lower your temperature at bedtime.
7. Maintain a Consistent Nighttime Routine
Finally, you want to find a reliable bedtime routine. Your body works on a 24-hour circadian rhythm. Over time, it learns when to naturally wind down and your brain releases chemicals to make you feel sleepy. If your sleep schedule is all over the place, then it will be a lot harder for your brain to do its thing. There’s a reason we train babies to sleep on a rigid schedule: our bodies enjoy more consistent, restorative sleep this way.
Try to keep a regular sleep schedule whenever you can. Set alarms on your phone reminding you to turn off electronics, do a regular meditation at 9 p.m., whatever it takes! A consistent nighttime routine will teach your body when it’s time to chill out for the night.
Having a hard time falling asleep? If you’re way too familiar with every line and dent in your ceiling, you’ve probably been staring at it too long. It’s time to revamp the way you go to sleep! Mindful night routines can change the way you look at sleep. More importantly, they can change the way you feel in the morning.
Layla Sleep is here to make it easier to give bedtime a makeover. From our adjustable bed base to our copper-infused sleep system, our sleep products can help you achieve a better night’s sleep and wake up ready to take on the day.