Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for your overall wellbeing and health. When you are asleep is when your body has time to repair and recover from the day, while also preparing you for the day ahead. Good sleep offers many health benefits that simply can’t be ignored.
A lack of sleep has been associated with bad blood pressure and high cholesterol, increasing the risk of heart disease and strokes. Not only that but the hormone that regulates sleep, melatonin, is thought to help protect us from certain types of cancer.
It isn’t just cancers and diseases that sleep helps with, but regular and decent sleep also promotes happiness and general wellbeing. If your body is sleep-deprived, it can enter a state of stress, which ultimately makes falling asleep more difficult. Getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night can leave you feeling more energised and alert, while also increasing your concentration and overall mood.
These benefits are all well and good for those who nod off easily and have no struggles getting a solid eight hours a night, but what about those of us that find getting an early night a difficult task? Taking time out to wind down before bed is one of the easiest ways to get a to sleep quickly and get a decent quality of sleep throughout the night. Read on form our expert advice on how to build the perfect wind-down routine to help you sleep better.
Set A Reverse Alarm Clock
The first stage of any wind-down routine is to properly prepare and plan for it. Set yourself a reverse alarm that alerts you one hour before it’s time for bed. Use this as an alert to let you know that your wind-down routine begins now.
Setting a physical alert as a reminder is an excellent prompt to help you remember your wind-down routine and stick to a schedule. You now have yourself one hour to let go of the stresses of the day and prepare for a good night’s sleep.
Start With A Stretch
Meditating and stretching before bed can help improve sleep and relaxation. Simple yoga poses and a light stretch through the major muscle groups is proven to ease the tension from the day. After a few minutes of stretching, you will be left feeling relaxed, calm and ready for the rest of your wind-down routine.
Set The Ambiance
As your body prepares for sleep, it needs a calming and relaxing environment. Lights activate the brain and sitting in a bright room or staring at a bright screen will have a negative effect on sleep. Those who spend an hour scrolling their phone in front of the TV before bed are likely to be the ones who then struggle to nod off. Blue lights from screens are particularly bad for a pre-bed routine as they are proven to keep the brain awake.
During your one-hour wind-down routine, reduce your screen time on all devices. Turn the TV off, put your laptop away and leave your phone alone unless absolutely necessary. Reduce bright lights in your home and use lamps and dimmers to create a relaxing ambience.
Pick An Activity
Your wind-down routine doesn’t have to be the same every single day. You can spend your last hour of the day doing any calming activity that will help send your brain off to sleep. Grab your favourite book and snuggle up for an hour of reading before hitting the hay.
Meditating is another excellent wind-down activity that can help your mind and body switch off after a long, busy day. Try controlling your breathing to help reduce blood pressure and stress.
Soak Away The Stress
A warm bath before bed is another excellent way to prepare for slumber, and a soak in the tub could reduce anxiety and soothe any aching muscles from your day. Be careful that the water isn’t too hot as this can have the opposite effect on your body and leave you feeling alert and awake.
Add some drops of essential oils such as lavender to introduce some relaxing aromatherapy to your wind down.
After your wind-down routine is complete, you will be left feeling completely relaxed and calm, ready for a good night’s sleep. Experts recommend between 7 and 9 hours sleep a night to really reap the benefits of a good kip. Be sure to plan enough time into your schedule for a full night’s sleep as well as a decent wind-down routine to help you nod off.