Healthy Bedtime Routine
You’re Making Me Sleepy
As we wrap up “better sleep month” we hope we have impressed upon you the importance of a healthy night’s sleep. We also hope we have provided for you some natural ways to improve your sleep. The director of the Center for Human Sleep Science, Matthew Walker, PhD has two main tips for improving sleep, the first is regularity and the second is to keep it cool. We highly recommend you watch/listen to Matt Walker’s TED talk “Sleep is your superpower.” Scheduling your sleep and maintaining that schedule even on the weekends may be the number one key to getting a good night’s sleep but how do you tell your body it is now time to shut the brain off and go to sleep? For this, you really need a healthy bedtime routine.
Author of the “The Power Source,” Lauren Roxburgh states that “ Finding ways to unwind, become present, and transition from the yang (doing) of the day to the yin (being) part of our day is important for getting a full night of sleep to truly feel healthy and happy.”
A good way to start your routine is to schedule a time when you turn off the electronic devices. It is now common knowledge that blue light inhibits your body’s production of melatonin, the hormone in your body that plays a role in sleep. Schedule a time at least an hour before your scheduled bedtime to turn off all of your device or put them on sleep mode. I also recommend ending your workday by scheduling the next day or making tomorrow’s to-do list. This helps to declutter the mind and give it a cue that you are done for the day.
Find ways to clear your mind and release tension, especially, before you try to sleep. I like to take a nice warm shower/bath then lay on the bed, cooling off and running a “systems check.” I check in with my body starting at my toes and work my way up to my mind. If there is any tension in any area, I take a moment to concentrate on releasing that tension. I am cooling down because not only do you need to drop your room temperature to a cool temp (68 degrees F works for me) Matthew Walker also advises that our body temp needs to cool a couple degrees for optimal sleep.
Some other ways that you can begin to transition into sleep mode is to not drink stimulants late in the day, avoid a late heavy dinner and try not to eat after 7:30 pm. I like to unwind with a chamomile or lavender tea while listening to an audiobook. Aromatherapy: also helps to signal the brain that it is time chill.
Your bedroom can play a very significant role in healthy sleep. Make sure your bedroom is decluttered and a place of sanctuary in your house. Your bedding should also cocoon you in natural fibers that help to release heat and maintain a comfortable temperature. A pillow and pillowcase that incorporates ceramic reflective technology to help keep your head a couple of degrees cooler than the rest of your body is essential for a good night’s sleep. Our favorite mattress topper is the Kenko Naturest Mattress Topper. The Naturest combines advanced scientific technology and natural materials, in a design that does the work for you in promoting healthy and refreshing sleep. Naturest features advanced sleep innovations — including a radical new design in magnetic technology and traditional materials that are not only environmentally responsible but help you sleep soundly and wake feeling relaxed and energized.
So, what if it is bedtime and you are not even close to sleepy? Don’t try to force yourself to sleep. As Dr. Walker says, “you don’t sit at the dinner table until you are hungry.” Instead try winding down again or a slow quiet walk in the cool air. Write down what may be keeping your mind from shutting down or read a book. Don’t force yourself to sleep. Reminds me of bedtime when I was 5, that was the worst… but I did sleep. Schedule yourself a bedtime and schedule downtime before your bedtime. Pleasant dreams and be Healthy by Choice.