I have a question for you. Do you have a bedtime? I’m not kidding. Do you have a time that you usually go to bed? How does that work for you? If not, what time do you think you should go to bed to get enough sleep? That’s one of several important considerations we’ll address in this article as we try to find the perfect evening routine for you.
Part 1: What time should you go to bed?
The first step on the path to a perfect evening routine is deciding when you should go to bed. There are a few things to keep in mind when doing this. Your weekly routine is part of it, as is how much sleep you need per night. Let’s look at these things and discuss how you can use them to find a good bedtime for you.
Look at your weekly schedule.
Is there a specific time you need to get up? Most of us have to go to work or take the kids to school. Start with when you know you need to leave the house. Then think about how long it will take you to get ready. Are there morning routines that take extra time? Do you need to get other people ready, make breakfast for everyone, or do a load of laundry before you leave the house? Add up all those times and estimate what time you need to get up to get everything done.
I call this an estimate because if you don’t have a good routine and just go at it, your first estimate may be a little off. There’s nothing wrong with that. As long as you stay within the ballpark, it won’t be hard to make some adjustments.
The next question is what you’ll do if your schedule changes from day to day, or what you’ll do on the weekends if you don’t have to be anywhere at a certain time. It’s a valid question and the answer is simple. You have a desire to get into the habit of waking up at the same time every day. This means that this time should be the earliest you have to get up in the week. If that means you get up at six every morning, then that’s the time you should choose. This may not sound like much fun, especially if you’re having a hard time getting up that early right now, but there’s a reason for it. It will become a routine and after a few weeks of getting up at six every day, it will come easy to you. Trust the process and just give it a try.
Next, determine how many hours of sleep you need each night. Most people need between seven and nine hours. If you’re not sure how many hours of sleep is optimal for you personally, start with eight hours and go from there. Let’s stick with the example of waking up at six in the morning. To get eight hours of sleep, you need to be asleep by ten at night. Since none of us can put our head on the pillow to fall asleep right away, a good bedtime would be around nine-thirty.
Now it’s your turn. What’s the earliest you have to get up? Subtract eight and a half hours from that time and make that your regular bedtime for a week or two. How does it feel? If you regularly wake up well before your alarm clock, you’ll feel better.ou may only need seven hours of sleep. If you still feel tired after establishing your evening routine, you can try giving yourself an extra half hour of sleep to see if that helps you cope. Above all, stick to going to bed and getting up at the same time every day – even on weekends and when you’re on vacation. Your body and mind will thank you.
Part 2: Simple ways to bring calm to your evenings.
Many of us have trouble falling asleep at night. We toss and turn or swallow pills before we can fall asleep. If you’re having trouble falling asleep or just want to work on a better sleep routine, here are a few simple ways to bring calm to your evenings. When your mind and body aren’t overstimulated, you’ll find it easier and faster to fall asleep at night.
Stop caffeine early
Caffeine has an amazingly long half-life, meaning it stays in our bodies longer than we think. You may have developed a tolerance and tell yourself you can drink coffee or caffeinated tea late in the day, but that won’t help you fall asleep. Most experts recommend that you stop drinking caffeinated beverages after 12 p.m. or 2 p.m. at the latest. Stick to this for a while and see if it helps you stay calm at night and get sleepy before bed.
Turn off the screens
I’m sure it won’t surprise you that screens like computers, TVs, and especially tablets and phones make it harder for you to fall asleep. The reason is that the light they emit mimics the sun, fooling our bodies into thinking it’s earlier in the day than it actually is. This, in turn, messes with our circadian rhythms. Cell phones and tablets are especially bad because we hold them so close to our faces. I recommend you turn off all screens at least two hours before bed. It will make a bigger difference than you think.
What about blue light blockers or filters? They help and are better than nothing, but they won’t help you develop a good bedtime routine. It’s okay to check your email first thing in the morning. Now is also a good time to be honest with yourself. Are you doing productive things on your phone or scrolling through social media, playing games and being entertained? Try putting your phone aside at night and see if you don’t sleep better.
Reduce the noise and lights
At the same time, it’s a great idea to dim the lights and sounds around you. It even helps if you lower your voice and ask your loved ones to do the same. Use softer light bulbs and turn off all overhead lights. They mimic the sun and can fool your body into thinking it’s still early in the day.
Now that we’ve talked about everything you shouldn’t do in the hours before bed, let’s discuss a few things you can do to get some rest. Reading a book is a good idea, as is having a quiet conversation. Listen to music or play a relaxing song. Board game with your family. Or take time for yourself and treat yourself to some self-care.
A warm bath or shower has been shown to promote sleep. Light a candle, turn on some soothing music and meditate or write in a journal. Spend some time relaxing and leaving your busy day behind. After that, falling asleep will come easily and naturally.
Part 3: Why you should ban screens from your bedroom.
You know it’s better not to use your phone or tablet in the hours before bed. I hope you’re making progress in putting your phone away at night, but I’d like to suggest taking it a step further and banning all screens from your bedroom. Instead, make it a sanctuary for sleep, or maybe you can think of other things to do.
There are some excellent reasons why you should ban screens from your bedroom. First, let’s talk about what kind of screens there are. The obvious one is a television or computer. If there’s no other option, you should keep them out of your bedroom. If you must have a computer in your bedroom because it’s also your study, turn everything off and unplug it before you go to bed. That way, there are no flashing lights or fans on to disturb your well-deserved rest. Plus, you won’t be tempted to secretly check your email one last time or turn on the TV to watch your favorite show when you’re supposed to be sleeping.
Of course, if you have your smartphone on the nightstand, it can cause the same problem. Even if you put your phone on silent, there’s a good chance it will flash or the screen will light up during the night. And if you wake up in the middle of the night, you’ll be tempted to check what time it is or if you’ve received any messages. When your phone is within reach, the temptation to turn it on is too great. That, in turn, not only floods your eyes with intense light that mimics sunlight. It also gets your brain going when you see a few email subject lines or notifications on the screen. Both make it much harder to fall back asleep.
What if you need your phone because you’re using it as an alarm clock? Simple. Buy an old-fashioned alarm clock and leave your phone in the kitchen or living room. It can charge there without you, trust me. One of the best things you can do for better sleep is to stop looking at your phone an hour or two before bed. And don’t even think about replacing it with a tablet or e-reader.
One of the big problems with all kinds of screens is something I alluded to earlier. Screens emit a kind of blue light that, when it hits the back of the eye, tricks the brain into thinking it’s daytime, not nighttime. Filters and glasses that block the blue light can help somewhat, but it’s best to avoid using them late at night, and even more so if you wake up in the middle of the night. Try it out and they
h yourself how big the difference is.
Part 4: Make yourself comfortable – temperature, sensations, sounds and smells.
It’s time for bed and you want to get comfortable and fall asleep. The more sleep-friendly you make your bed and bedroom, the easier it will be for you to rest and actually fall asleep. Let’s discuss a few simple things you can do to create a better sleep environment.
One of the easiest things to change and improve is the temperature. It’s easier to sleep in cooler temperatures. Turn your heater or air conditioner down a degree or two when you go to bed. Make sure you’re dressed appropriately. Lightweight pajamas if it’s warm, and a blanket that will keep you warm enough without sweating in the middle of the night. If it’s chilly outside, open the windows briefly before bed to let fresh air into the room, or you can sleep with the windows open. There’s something about that that makes for a more restful night. Of course, you should ignore this advice if you have allergies and the cold air makes you sneeze or stuffs up your nose.
Next, let’s think about sensations. What makes you feel good? Is it the smooth, cool feel of satin bedding? The comfort of flannel and a heavy comforter on you? How about soft cotton to wrap yourself in? Find your perfect sheets and bedding. Don’t forget what you wear to bed. Your clothes should be comfortable because if they are, you’ll fall asleep easier and sleep deeper.
If you have trouble falling asleep because the slightest noise from outside wakes you up or you can’t turn off your thoughts, try white…
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