The Best Things to do Before Bed
One-third of American adults are sleep deprived, meaning they're likely spending their nights tossing, turning, and waiting for sleep. If you happen to fall into this sizable majority and are sick of counting sleep, read on. We've put together a list of things to do before bed to help you fall asleep fast.
Why is it Important to Have a Bedtime Routine?
Humans are drawn to things like patterns, symmetry, and repetition. Doing the same things in the same order every night helps our brain recognize the pattern, and what it leads to. If you establish a routine, your brain will start to understand those things as instances that take place before bed. That's right, it's possible to condition yourself to sleep.
Setting a consistent, predictable set of activities before bed is also helpful in reducing late-night stress and anxious thoughts, both of which can evolve into full-blown insomnia. This is true for children and adults alike. A study found that a consistent nightly routine is beneficial in improving infant and toddler sleep. It helps them fall asleep faster, longer, and it also helps their parents feel better.
10 Things to do Before Bed for a Good Night's Sleep
Building routines are just as important for adults in helping the brain separate night from day. Here are ten things to do before bed to help you fall asleep.
1. Listen to Music
You've likely heard people remark how music makes us human, but did you know that music also makes us sleep? Research has proven every time that listening to music improves sleep quality among students, adults, as well as the elderly. Studies have shown that this activity is also helpful even among preschool children.
Listening to music can help you get a good night's sleep by easing your stress and anxiety. It doesn't matter what music you use, either, as it mainly comes down to preference, but you may want to choose a playlist of songs that help you relax and avoid the ones that incite emotional responses.
2. Read a Book
If you're the type that really likes books and often feel the need to stay up late in favor of finishing a novel or a series, this may sound counterintuitive to you. You may have even blamed books many a time for the bags under your eyes. However, some claim they can reduce stress, boost brain power, improve creativity, improve concentration, give you peace and empathy. It can also help you relax and sleep better.
As long as you avoid exciting dramas, books should be able to put you to sleep with no problem. Avoid using e-readers to read as the blue light-emitting electronic devices are known to negatively affect sleep and disrupt your circadian rhythm. Stick to boring, no-drama paperbacks. And try not to overdo it.
3. Hands off Gadgets
As mentioned, light-emitting electronic devices are bad for your sleep. This includes phones, laptops, e-readers, and what have you. Exposure to light may be beneficial during the day, but it's going to catch up with you at nighttime.
A study found that blue light suppresses melatonin production, thereby tricking your brain into thinking that it's still daylight. This makes it harder for you to feel sleepy because your brain perceives daylight as an indicator of wakefulness.
It's best to stop watching TV and turn off bright lights at least two hours before you go to bed so your head won't be confused. You can also switch on the blue light filter or use amber lenses to block blue light if you really can't put the devices down.
4. Take a Hot Bath
One study found that taking a bath an hour and a half before bed enhances sleep quality and helps people fall asleep faster. This is because of the hormonal changes our body undergoes as we fall asleep, one of which is a drop in our core body temperature.
Taking a warm bath triggers a rapid decline in core body temperature similar to what our body is used to and increases the likelihood of sleep initiation and may facilitate an entry into the deeper stages of sleep.
5. Try Meditation and Yoga
Your body and mind are related. Relaxing your body will help relax your mind, and vice versa. This is why a daily yoga routine may help improve your sleep and achieve a better quality of life.
Meanwhile, when you meditate, it helps bring about a relaxed state that makes it easier to fall asleep, the so-called relaxation response. In other words, this is the state where your body recognizes it is no longer in danger.
Mindfulness invokes acceptance and awareness, reducing psychological stress and in doing so, improves sleep quality. Mindfulness also increases melatonin levels, so if you're having trouble sleeping due to excessive rumination, yoga and meditation may do wonders for you.
Your senses of sight, touch, and sound are the ones that usually take front and center when you consider activities or items that impact sleep. However, your sense of smell may also impact how much and how often you get to have a restful sleep at night.
Scents are known to trigger physiological responses. Do you know that urge to gag when you smell rotten food or something similarly unpleasant? By contrast, pleasant smells tend to be relaxing.
In a study among patients with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) exposure to pleasant smells has been linked to an overall improvement in sleep quality. Scents such as lavender, roman chamomile, and cannabis have been shown to have calming effects and appear to help improve sleep quality.
Aromatherapy as a whole has been associated with better sleep by helping create a conducive environment for a healthy rest. It has also shown a positive impact on anxiety.
7. Set Your Bedroom Environment
Have you noticed that your sleep is affected by where you fall asleep? Your bed, the lights, the angle of your head, the space around you, all the sounds—these little details impact your sleep.
A review on non-pharmacological sleep interventions found that environmental modifications such as wearing earplugs to reduce noise and eye masks to reduce light exposure are potential activities that may support sleep improvement. Other studies suggest keeping your room at a set temperature, preferably around 60 to 71°F (20°C), may help reduce wakefulness.
Keep your space quiet and dark to avoid disruptions. You may also want to get a good quality mattress, pillows, and sheets as these also affect sleep quality. Also, it doesn't hurt to be kind to your back.
8. Avoid Drinking
Although hydration is indeed important for your health, drinking at night isn't going to be very kind to your sleep. Nocturia, or excessive nighttime urination that can be quite disruptive, occurs for a variety of reasons that may or may not be relevant to an underlying condition.
However, drinking large amounts of water right before bed is likely to result in having to pee several times throughout the night. That's why it is best to avoid drinking any liquids an hour or two before bed.
And by any liquids, we mean any liquids but especially alcohol and coffee. Alcohol won't just make you pee over and over again, it will also affect your REM sleep and cause sleep disruptions.
Meanwhile, the amount of caffeine coffee contains will also make it difficult to fall asleep. If you need to drink something, maybe try something that has calming properties such as chamomile or valerian. Though, we still recommend you do this an hour or two before you plan to lay down.
9. Avoid Deep, Serious Talks
As we mentioned before, it's important to clear your mind before sleep. This will help you relax. What won't help you relax is if you engage in a serious, anxiety-inducing conversation right before bed.
There's a reason why they say you shouldn't go to bed angry, and that's because it's incredibly hard to fall asleep during this state. If a conversation leaves your blood boiling, chances are your cortisol levels are on the rise, and that's a big no-no if you want to fall asleep. It's better to leave it to earlier in the day or when you've done your best to think things through.
The basic rule of thumb is to avoid anything too exciting before bed, fights included.
10. Take Sleep Supplements
If all else fails, you may want to try sleep supplements. Taking medication for sleep sounds scary, but sleep supplements are different from sedatives.
Melatonin, for instance, is a naturally occurring hormone in our body that is responsible for sleep regulation. They're the mechanism that makes our brain recognize what time is best to sleep and is usually at higher levels when you're in a dark environment.
Sandland Sleep products are made from top-graded hemp and its terpenes, hops, peppermint, and trace amounts of Melatonin for efficacy. This helps users fall asleep fast and wake up with the residual grogginess that sedatives often introduce.
You may also consider taking cannabinol, ashwagandha, or valerian. No matter what type of supplement you use, make sure to do ample research as they're not guaranteed to work the same way for everyone. It's also important to take note of possible side effects.
Setting a consistent routine at night is a sure way to avoid insomnia in the long run. However, some people may still have problems sleeping in spite of their efforts. After all, day-to-day stress is inescapable and is often detrimental to sleep. There may also be other factors that can disrupt your sleep even after doing your best to relax.
Sandland Sleep believes that everyone deserves a good night's sleep, every night. This is why we formulated sleep supplements to help you rediscover the relief of a full eight hours of sleep. Unlike prescription sleeping pills, our hemp-derived products pose no dangerous side effects.
The basic rule of thumb is to avoid anything stimulating several hours before you go to bed. This includes drinking, eating, and smoking. You will want to avoid caffeine and naps close to your bedtime as these may disrupt your sleep cycle and make it harder to fall asleep. You also don't want to expose yourself to blue light which usually comes from your computers or phones. Aside from that, you may want to push any deep, serious talks that can agitate you to morning.
If you want to establish a healthy bedtime routine, you may want to try taking a warm bath, reading a book, listening to soothing music, or meditation. Anything to relax your body and mind is sure to help you release stress and give you a restful sleep. Yoga may also be helpful, along with aromatherapy and breathing exercises. If this doesn't help, you may also want to try taking sleep supplements like melatonin and cannabinol.