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Self Care for Better Sleep: Building a Bedtime Routine

The key to self-care for better sleep isn’t a magic pill, a mythical mattress, or a cup of warm milk before bed like we were told as kids–it’s routine! A solid bedtime routine can help you get better, more consistent sleep, but it’s not as simple as following a template.

 

Routines look different for everyone, but having some variation of a routine only stands to benefit your sleep life. You just have to decide how much time you want or have to spend on getting ready for bed and then start customizing your routine using some (or all) of these components:

MEDITATION

Who would have thought that sitting quietly with your eyes closed was good for sleep? Just kidding, we know this is already a widely-used bedtime tactic–but in case you didn’t already have this habit in mind for sleep, we’re here to plant the self-care for better sleep seed!

 

Taking as little as five minutes to meditate can regulate your heart rate and breathing, reduce blood pressure, reduce stress, and overall help you feel more relaxed. All of these benefits can contribute to falling asleep more quickly and soundly than you would without meditating.

 

Eliminate distractions and do a guided meditation (YouTube has some great ones!) or simply close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing, acknowledging your thoughts as they pop up and always coming back to focus on your breath. Set a timer or just go by feeling–it’s up to you!

GENTLE MOVEMENT

Yoga or therapeutic stretches are a great addition to a bedtime routine! Doing some form of gentle, restorative movement (even if you’re not “moving” a lot) can lower stress, improve sleep posture, and activate your parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for regulating things like sleep and digestion, both of which are essential for a good night’s sleep!

 

Take anywhere from 10-60 minutes to tend to your body with some feel-good yoga poses or stretches as part of your nightly routine. Avoid intense exercises like HIIT, running, weight lifting, or other high-energy exercises within an hour or two of hitting the sheets, or your good intentions may backfire.

HYGIENE & GROOMING

This is probably a given and if you already have a bedtime routine, hygiene and grooming are likely a large part of it. Everyone has some variation of a bedtime routine that may involve washing their face, brushing their teeth, brushing their hair, bathing, and maybe applying grooming products like lotions or oils.

 

Whether you’re aware of it or not, this part of your routine is more than necessary for maintaining your hygiene, it also helps your mind wind down and get ready for bed because you repeat it so often. You may also find that you like the way you feel after these activities, so much so that you can’t sleep without them. Think about it–have you ever crawled into bed and then sprung back up when you realized that your mouth felt weird because you forgot to floss? It happens to the best of us.

 

Don’t be afraid to go the extra mile when you can–spend a little more time brushing, take an extra-long soak in a warm bath, and do a face mask or other spa treatment to prepare for bed and give yourself a little extra TLC.

TECHNOLOGY & ENTERTAINMENT

You might already know this one: tech and sleep are not a good match. Tablets, computers, phones, and televisions are all disruptive to sleep…but many people admit to scrolling social media before bed or leaving a TV on to help them fall asleep. While you might feel relaxed when watching a show or flipping through TikToks, your brain is actually experiencing high levels of stimulation that aren’t conducive to sleep.

 

This doesn’t mean you have to completely opt out of your nightly scroll or skip the new House of the Dragon episode to sleep better (though it would probably help). Just try to limit them and refrain from using screens for a minimum of 30-60 minutes before bed, and maybe opt for a book, audiobook (with the sleep timer on!), relaxing music, podcast, or white noise instead. If you want to earn extra points with Mr. Sandman, you may even consider keeping electronics out of your bedroom entirely by charging your phone in another room while sleeping.

LIGHTING

Lighting (both the type of light and the brightness) has been shown to play a role in getting our brains ready for bed. Reducing the amount of light you’re exposed to before bed can help trigger melatonin production, and avoiding blue light (like from electronics or LED lights) has been shown to help regulate your circadian rhythm, too.

 

Light matters while you’re sleeping, too. Exposure to light while sleeping (whether from a night light, TV, phone, digital clock, or a street light outside) can impact your ability to sleep, impair important functions, and affect your ability to transition between sleep cycles. Use heavy curtains, unplug or turn off lights, switch to an analog clock, and make sure your electronics aren’t going to light up while you sleep to improve the quality of your rest!

READING AND/OR JOURNALING

Reading a chapter or two in a book or journaling your thoughts is a great way to wind down at the end of a long day and prepare to rest. Both of these activities provide entertainment without the disruptive stimulation that comes with TVs and phones as we mentioned earlier–though if you’re notorious for staying up late to solve the thriller you’re reading, maybe pick up a self-help book instead.

NUTRITION & SUPPLEMENTS

Sleep and nutrition go hand in hand. Deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals may affect your ability to sleep well. Similarly, going to bed hungry, full, or even stuffed can impact your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.

 

For improved odds of a good night’s sleep, don’t eat within 2-3 hours of going to bed. If you’re feeling overfull, try taking a walk after dinner to help things settle. Avoid sugary foods (our heart goes out to those who fiend for a pint of Ben & Jerry’s at night) and alcohol within that time frame as well. Finally, be mindful of your caffeine intake during the day, as the effects can last longer than the energy boost you get, and consuming caffeine within at least 6 hours of bedtime.

 

There are also things you can add to your diet or supplement routine (ahem, CBD anyone?) to help you sleep better. Check out some more info on supplements for sleep here: Top 5 Herbs for Better Sleep.

ADD CBD TO YOUR NIGHTTIME ROUTINE

You can’t buy better sleep, but you can purchase CBD, so it’s basically the same thing. All jokes aside, we love our full-spectrum CBD for sleep and we think you will, too! Plus, take 20% off your first order when you subscribe to our emails for updates and special offers. Sweet dreams!

Aria Hastings

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