You've probably heard about daily morning rituals to help set you up for success, but what about daily night routines? When it comes to getting a good night's sleep, the various habits that we engage in before bedtime — otherwise known as sleep hygiene — can have a significant impact on both the quality and quantity of your rest. In fact, our sleep is more like a dimmer knob and not a light switch you can flip on or off,
For this reason, it's important to have a consistent nighttime routine in which you allow yourself at least an hour before bedtime to begin winding down.
Set Your Alarm
Setting your alarm might be the one thing that's already in your daily bedtime routine, but what's most important is that you're setting it to the same time every day — even on weekends when you might be tempted to sleep in.
Put Away the Screens
There's a reason why we hear again and again to put away the screens at bedtime: Blue light emitted from screens negatively impacts our production of melatonin, the body's natural sleep-inducing hormone, thereby disrupting our sleep.
Dim Your Lights
Since light affects our melatonin production, it can be especially difficult in modern times for our bodies to get the natural cues to go to sleep.
Drink a Cup of Tea
Craving something to sip on before bed? Skip the alcoholic nightcap — which can actually disrupt your sleep — and go for a relaxing cup of un-caffeinated tea instead.
When it comes to simple rituals to do before bed, putting aside a few minutes to meditate each night can be immensely beneficial to help calm your mind in preparation for sleep. If you don't exactly know where to start, try out some guided meditations or a meditation app — or if meditation isn't really your thing, try any sort of quiet activity such as prayer or devotions reading
Take a Warm Bath
A warm bath or shower about an hour or two before bedtime can do wonders to help you relax in time for bed — especially since it lowers your body temperature to help facilitate the body’s natural flow into sleep
Listen to Music
Since the key to preparing for sleep is to do something that's "relaxing for the body and calming for the mind," spending some time listening to music is a great activity to add to your daily bedtime ritual — provided that the music you're listening to is personally relaxing for you. If you find that music amps you up too much, try listening to some calming nature sounds
Read a Book
Prefer a more engaging activity to do before bed? Try unwinding each night by curling up with a good book — but try to avoid any exciting page-turners that might keep you up. You should also go for a traditional paper book instead of a digital one, as light-emitting e-readers have been shown to negatively affect your sleep (though those that don't emit light should be fine). Or if you prefer to listen to a story instead, try out an audiobook.
Do Your Skincare Routine
Turns out there's an actual reason it's called beauty sleep! If you don't already have a nighttime skincare routine, consider making it a part of your daily ritual before bed — it'll not only lead to healthier skin, but will help you feel more relaxed (and pampered!) in time for sleep
Make Sure to Hydrate
"Hydration plays a very crucial role in sleep quality and energy levels," says Sassos. Since we lose moisture when we sleep (and going to bed dehydrated can disrupt your sleep as well), it's important to hydrate well throughout the day — but make sure not to guzzle too much water right before bed, as this may lead to nighttime bathroom trips.
Make a to Do List for Tomorrow
Beyond just writing down your thoughts in a journal each night, try making a list of tasks you want to tackle the next day — especially if you find that worrying often keeps you awake. Physically writing down a to-do list can not only help you be more productive the next day, but can help establish peace of mind for you to sleep better.
The SpineAlign Team