UNITED STATES—Having a sleeping routine might be difficult to maintain as an adult, especially when you’re constantly tired. But being well-rested requires effort and good habits. Your meals, physical activity and even a stressful life will influence your sleep. In the following paragraphs you’ll find some suggestions of lifestyle habits you can adapt to develop a healthy sleeping routine.
Set a bedtime hour
Your body runs by a circadian rhythm that controls the body’s basic functions. One of its mechanisms is the sleep-wake cycle which influences your sleep habits. This system works by sending signals to your body to know when to wake up or go to sleep. Therefore, the daylight will cause your body to be more active, while the dark will make your body produce melatonin, which is a hormone that promotes sleep. Therefore, your body needs a bedtime schedule to get ready to shut off each night at the same time. So go to sleep at the same time every day (even during weekends).
Have a proper bed setting
The bed setting will make a huge difference for your sleeping pattern. For example, the mattress you choose can give you restless nights or decrease lower back pain. Another important element for your bed is the pillow. You can avoid neck troubles and headaches if you’re getting the right one. If you’re unsure which model is the best, buy one from a family owned business, where quality is more important than quantity.
Depending on your sleep position, you can find the best pillows to fit your needs. The right cushion should align your spine and allow your neck to sit in the proper position (not too high or low).
Cut down electronics before bed
Watching your favorite show before bed has never been unhealthier. The blue light from your devices (laptop, smartphone) makes your brain think it’s daytime; therefore, it keeps you active in the nighttime. You have two options to prevent this:
- Eliminate the exposure to blue light before bed;
- Use a blue light filter that you can download on your devices (or wear glasses that block the blue light);
Additionally, you can get reading lamps with orange or red light and try to get enough sunlight during the day (to improve a healthy circadian rhythm). Don’t forget that the light around you easily influences your body.
Even if it seems too complicated, meditation is a good habit for your sleeping routine. This method is made to practice mindfulness and be more receptive to your thoughts and accept them. The only thing you have to do is sit comfortably in your bed (optionally, you can listen to meditation music) and observe your breathing patterns and how your thoughts wander around your mind. You’ll be surprised how fast you’ll get tired.
Lastly, build a routine that fits your lifestyle and your preferences. Try making it enjoyable and be patient with yourself if it doesn’t show results immediately. Let your body get used to the new and adapt to good habits.