Developing a healthy pre-bedtime routine is key to falling asleep naturally and quickly. Taking steps like avoiding caffeine and limiting your exposure to screens before bedtime can help you to relax and wind down in the evening and get ready for a good night’s sleep.
Let’s look at some tips for creating an effective pre-bedtime routine:
Avoid caffeine and alcohol
In order to have a restful night’s sleep and be able to naturally fall asleep quickly, it is important to avoid consuming caffeine or alcohol before going to bed.
Caffeine, like coffee, tea and energy drinks is a stimulant and may lead to you feeling alert and awake despite it being close to bedtime. Additionally, although alcohol can make you drowsy initially, it has been shown that it disrupts deep sleep later in the night leading you feeling unrested when awoken.
It is also important not have electronically stimulating activities such as watching television or being on social media for the same reasons as preventing stimulation from caffeine.
Cut down on screen time
Cutting down on screens before sleep can help limit how alert and excited your brain is when it’s time to go to bed. Research has shown that blue light from our screens suppresses the secretion of melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate our sleep cycles. So if you’re finding yourself unable to naturally fall asleep quickly, try turning off your screens a few hours before going to bed.
This includes not just TV and computer screens, but phones too. If you’re having trouble breaking away from devices, there are a few things you can do to offset screen time:
- Put devices out of reach an hour before bed – this gives you an incentive to stay off them until it’s time for lights out
- Choose a relaxing activity instead – reading a book, doing light yoga stretches or writing in your journal can be a great substitute
- Add in relaxation rituals such as taking an Epsom salt bath or diffusing essential oils like lavender & chamomile
- Keep the temperature of your bedroom cool – 68 F (20 C) being optimal for most people
Exercising regularly is an important part of your pre-bedtime routine for multiple reasons. Not only does exercise revive and energize you during the day, but it can also help you to relax before you go to sleep. Exercising in the early evening or just before bed has been linked to improved sleep since it helps set a circadian rhythm and establish a healthy sleep pattern.
Additionally, exercising will help reduce stress hormones and make you feel more relaxed as bedtime approaches. Furthermore, even light physical activity can increase overall body temperature and then lead to a drop in temperature when exercise stops – this drop often helps us fall asleep faster.
When considering what type of exercise to do at night, pick something milder than what your normal routine is like such as light biking or going for a brisk walk rather than running or doing a spin class. Exercise releases adrenaline in preparation for activity so if you do intense activity at night it could be counter-productive as far as helping you relax goes. Additionally, strenuous exercises that are done just before bed might leave your body feeling too energized for sleep if done shortly before attempting to fall asleep.
Journaling is a great way to relax and de-stress before bed. Take some time during your pre-bedtime routine to write down your thoughts, concerns and ideas in a notebook or journal. This allows you to push anxiety and stressful thoughts away so you can clear your head for better rest.
Journaling before bed can also allow you to process any strong emotions or complicated situations that may be bothering you, helping you relax and prepare for sleep. Additionally, writing down your tasks for the next day can help put your mind at ease before heading off to dreamland.
Your sleeping environment is key to falling asleep quickly. To get the best and highest quality of sleep, you want to set up the right bedroom environment. This will include choosing the right temperature, adding blackout curtains, eliminating noise, and other steps to get your bedroom ready for deep sleep.
Let’s dive into the details of how you can create the ideal bedroom environment:
Keep your bedroom dark
Creating a dark environment in your bedroom is an important factor for sleep regulation. Darkness prompts the release of melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate sleep-wake cycles, and lighter environments can disrupt this natural process. Even low light levels in the bedroom can interfere with your quality of sleep, making it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep through the night.
To achieve a darker bedroom setting and maximize melatonin production, follow these tips:
- Installing blackout curtains on windows help block out bright morning and evening light
- Dimming or covering warm LED lights on daylight timers helps to reduce exposure to blue light waves which can disrupt your circadian rhythm
- Investing in an eye mask provides you with an immediate solution if you are sensitive to light even if you cannot adjust your environment completely
- Adding thick blinds and heavier curtains blocks out unwanted murmur from outside disturbances as noise can interrupt falling asleep quickly
Keep the temperature cool
Keeping your bedroom environment cool can help you sleep more soundly and promote better overall health. The ideal temperature range for sleep is between 60–67°F (15.6–19.4 C). This range has been found to help promote both depth and duration of sleep better than either a cold or hot environment.
Making sure to keep your bedroom space at a comfortable, cool temperature can contribute to getting a good night’s rest. Investing in simple techniques like:
- blackout curtains
- turning off electronics before bed
- having comfortable bedding such as breathable materials or cooling pillows
- setting up fans for air circulation
can all help keep the temperature of your room cooler during the night time hours and make it easier to get a good night’s sleep.
Use a white noise machine
White noise can be beneficial for those struggling to get to sleep quickly or stay asleep throughout the night. White noise helps by creating a consistent, low-level noise that masks other disruptive and potentially wakeful sounds in the bedroom like passing cars and creaking doors.
White noise machines emit a consistent sound at every frequency, so what you’re hearing is not always the same tone. This soft, hissing sound is gentle enough to provide comfort while loud enough to block out distracting and unwanted noises. Ideally, white noise should be set between 40–60 decibels – just loud enough that you can hear it but not so loud that it risks disrupting your sleep again once you fall into slumber. The most common sounds used are fans, air purifiers and even vacuum cleaners as these appliances will generally stay on for hours at a time providing an atmosphere of background sound without fear of interruption.
Other white noise options include:
- Downloading an app
- Playing natural nature sounds such as ocean waves or thunderstorms from your phone
- Playing recordings such as chimes ringing out softly in the background
Regardless of what types of noises you find comforting and calming, adding some sound in your bedroom environment can help to ensure better sleep quality overall and give you direct access to shut-eye when you lay down on your pillow each night.
Invest in a comfortable mattress
Investing in a comfortable mattress and bedding is essential for creating an ideal sleeping environment and getting a good night’s rest. Your mattress should be supportive and provide your body the right amount of cushioning that’s just right for you. Consider spending time trying different mattresses in a store, especially if you sleep with a partner, as there are different types available to accommodate both of your preferences.
When it comes to bedding, use high-quality sheets that are made from natural materials like cotton or linen which will allow your skin to breathe and keep you cool during the night. Fluffy duvets, comforters or blankets can provide extra warmth on chillier nights, while lightweight materials such as quilts can help stay cool in the warmer months. Pillows should also be chosen carefully in order to offer necessary neck and back support while providing comfort. Memory foam pillows are beneficial for those who need more support when they sleep as they mold to the natural curvature of your head and neck.
If you are having trouble naturally falling asleep quickly, relaxation techniques can be an effective way to help quiet your mind and reduce any stress which can be preventing you from falling asleep. Relaxation techniques involve deep breathing, mediation, progressive muscle relaxation, and more.
In this section, we will explore all of these methods in detail and provide tips on how to incorporate them into your bedtime routine:
Progressive muscle relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation is a stress reduction technique that focuses on the gradual tensing and relaxation of different muscle groups throughout the body. This technique is often viewed as one of the simplest ways to reduce stress, improve sleep and help with physical pain. When used regularly, progressive muscle relaxation can also lead to increased self-awareness and mental focus.
The technique begins by focusing on one set of muscles at a time, usually starting with the feet and progressing up to the head. To practice progressive muscle relaxation, work your way through different muscle groups in your body, consciously tensing then releasing each group for 10-15 seconds at a time. It’s important to remember that when tensing muscles it should not be so tight that it causes pain or discomfort; rather, it should result in mild tension. After completing this cycle for one round of all the targeted muscles from feet to head, repeat again from feet up until you reach a point of relaxed awareness.
You can enhance your progressive muscle relaxation session by using visualization techniques or positive affirmations while going through each step. Visualize the tension leaving under control as you release each group followed by feeling waves of warmth or healing energy entering into its place afterwards. Positive affirmations can also aid in releasing negative energy or blockages as you progress throughout this exercise. As progressive muscle relaxations becomes more comfortable over time it is also suggested to create specific scenarios or imagery that supports desired outcomes such as lulling yourself peacefully into sleep after completing this exercise nightly before bedtime.
Deep breathing exercises
Deep breathing exercises involve taking slow, deeper breaths than normal and are used as a relaxation technique. During deep breathing exercises, one inhales deeply through the nose, filling the abdomen with air and expanding the chest. The deep breath is then slowly exhaled through the mouth. It can take some practice to get into the habit of deep breathing but it can be done anywhere and at any time, so it’s worth giving a try if you need help getting to sleep quickly.
Some people find that imagining a peaceful scene or sound such as rain falling on leaves or gentle waves lapping against a shore helps them to relax and fall asleep more easily. Counting from one to ten backwards or by focusing on each inhale and exhale can also help achieve a quiet state of mind that leads to sleep.
Incorporating deep breathing into your daily routine is an effective way to naturally fall asleep quickly. Performing this simple exercise at least twice daily for about five minutes will assist in getting the most restful sleep possible – minimizing insomnia and anxiousness throughout the day.
Guided meditation is an age-old practice for inducing relaxation. Through visualization and listening to calming audio, it can help you relax both mentally and physically so that your body can prepare for sleep. A simple guided meditation begins with the following steps:
- Find a quiet place. Take a few deep breaths and settle into a comfortable position to sit or lie-down.
- Close your eyes and pay attention to the present moment – the sights, smells, and feelings in the space around you – without judgment or expectation to actively relax your body from head to toe.
- Focus on your breath as you inhale and exhale deeply for a few more moments, allowing your mind to slow down bit by bit with each cycle of breath.
- Begin listening to the guided meditation audio, if possible with headphones on or turn off any external lights/sounds/noise that may distract you from really diving into this experience of relaxation; take note of any additional instructions provided by the guide such as focusing on specific imagery or repeating certain words or phrases within the session itself etcetera depending again on what type of guide/session is being followed (i.e., traditional Eastern Meditation practices vs Music Therapy).
- When you come near the end of this session (typically after 10-20 minutes), become aware again that you are in complete control over how long it lasts – experience however much comforted release required before coming out off it gently at your own pace; take once again one more minute just sitting there undisturbed enjoying this tranquil state before eventually opening up eyes back up into reality when ready!
- Finish up with gently releasing all tension from body by stretching out muscles in order for transition back into full awake life mode feeling more relaxed than before if possible having naturally achieved desired peaceful sleep result!
Visualization is a relaxation technique that involves focusing on calming images, words and ideas. It can help to direct your attention away from a stressful situation and bring your awareness to peace and relaxation.
To use visualization, find a comfortable place to sit or lie down. Close your eyes and relax your muscles. Take several deep breaths, allowing your body to relax more with each exhalation. Begin visualizing soothing images – whether it be of a peaceful landscape, that you think will bring you calmness – or something else that brings feelings of serenity.
The goal of visualization is to connect with the senses while immersing the mind in peaceful thoughts. You can also visualize sounds, smells or touches that make you feel relaxed, such as a babbling brook or the smell of fresh-cut grass after it rains. Practice repeating positive affirmations out loud or silently as you focus on the visualization – such as “I am relaxed” or “I am at peace” – until feelings of relaxation take over and any worry fades away completely.
While getting the recommended amount of sleep is important for your health, some people have difficulty falling asleep. If this is the case for you, there are other tips you can try in addition to the natural tricks we’ve already discussed. This section will explore other methods that can help you fall asleep quickly.
Avoid naps during the day
Although taking a nap during the day can seem like a good idea to get some rest from a hectic schedule, it can actually affect your ability to naturally fall asleep when you need it the most. Napping during the day can throw off your body’s natural circadian rhythms, which are what regulate sleep patterns.
If you want to naturally fall asleep quickly and stay asleep, it’s important that you keep your body’s sleep-wake cycle regular and consistent. Avoid naps after 3 p.m., and don’t nap for longer than 30 minutes each time – naps for any longer than this could leave you feeling groggy when you wake up. If you need additional rest during the day, consider going for a walk in nature or meditating for 10-15 minutes instead of taking a nap.
Establish a regular sleep schedule
Establishing a regular sleep schedule is important in order to make it easier to fall asleep quickly and also to promote healthy sleep. Try setting an alarm for the same time each night and sticking to a routine for the hours leading up to bedtime. This can include activities such as reading, meditating or taking a warm bath in order to relax your body and mind. Aim for 8-9 hours of sleep per night, depending on what works best for you.
Additionally, be aware that some activities before bed can disrupt your natural sleep patterns such as eating or exercising too close to your bedtime or spending too much time on electronic devices with bright screens before you attempt to go to sleep.
Avoid eating late at night
Avoid eating late meals or snacks a few hours before bedtime. Eating close to bedtime can make it harder to fall asleep and remain asleep. Eating late causes your body to work harder to digest the food, which can interfere with relaxing for sleep.
If you do need a bedtime snack, choose one that is light such as fruit, toast and peanut butter or yogurt. Avoid fatty foods, greasy foods and large meals as these are more likely to cause problems sleeping.
Cut down on your intake of caffeine after mid-day if you’re having trouble sleeping in the evening as caffeine can stay in your system for up to 8 hours, making it more difficult for you to relax and fall asleep quickly.
Avoid drinking fluids before bed
While nine cups of water a day are essential for proper hydration, it is important to limit your intake during the evening hours. Drinking fluids too close to bedtime can cause frequent trips to the bathroom, disrupting your sleep. If you feel thirsty before bedtime, try sipping some herbal tea instead of water – it can help you relax and focus, while providing just enough hydration.
Avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bedtime will also help, as these both have diuretic effects that could lead to disrupted sleep.