8 Steps to Build a Sleep Routine (That you'll Look Forward to)
Getting a good night's sleep is the foundation of wellness. Adequate rest is essential to maintaining long-term healthy habits. Sleep deprivation (defined as anything less than 7 hours) can impair your cognitive abilities. If prolonged, it can lead to serious health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, and even lowered sex drive.
By building a sleep routine that you look forward to, you can hack your brain into sleeping easier, longer and deeper. Below we have a list of 8 ways to build a sleep routine.
1) Cut off caffeine
The sleep you have is determined by the day you lead. Caffeine intake within 6 hours of bedtime can follow you into the night. In the afternoon and evening, switch to herbal teas, or if you're desperate for a hit of caffeine, try a mildly caffeinated beverage like our Energy blend.
2) Move gently
Similarly to caffeine intake, our daytime activity level can significantly impact our ability to fall asleep (and stay asleep) during the night. Avoid strenuous physical activity before bed as it can energize the body and raise body temperature, making it more difficult to sleep. Alternatively, you should ensure you get ample daytime physical activity and engage in some light yoga or stretching before bed.
3) Ditch the blue light
"Just one more episode" does more harm to your sleep cycle than you think. The blue light emitted from smartphones and computer screens flood your brain, tricking it into thinking that it's daytime. As a result, your brain suppresses melatonin production and works overtime to keep you alert. By 10 pm, we recommend putting your phone down and using it only for sleep assisting functions like playing relaxing music or a podcast.
When picking a book before bed, the trick is to "bore yourself to sleep." For this purpose, any thrillers, cliffhangers, or page-turners won't do. Try getting through that dense historical book on your shelf instead.
5) Make a morning to-do list
Many of the thoughts racing through your head are reminders of things you have to do tomorrow. Address these thoughts before they disturb you by prioritizing them in the form of a to-do list. Keep a notepad beside your bed to get any intrusive thoughts out of your head and onto paper.
6) Practice mindfulness
Waking time and bedtime are some of the best opportunities to meditate. Meditating in the morning can help set your day up for success. Alternatively, when you meditate before bed, you can focus easier as your day is behind you, and the only thing left to accomplish is getting a good night's sleep. One easy meditation technique to help you release the day's stress is to complete a body scan where you focus on one part of your body at a time, going from head to toe, sensing and relaxing muscles until you have scanned your entire body.
7) Consume herbs for relaxation
Adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha and valerian root help to ease anxiousness and rebalance your stress system. Aromatic herbs like chamomile and lavender help you tap into all your senses to max your relax. You can find them all in our Rest blend.
8) Take a bath
The act of elevating then dropping your core temperature sends a signal to your brain that it is time to rest, as that is what happens internally as we go to sleep. By taking a bath 1 hour before bed, you can mimic this signal.
There you have our 8 steps to build a sleep routine (that you'll look forward to). Introducing even just a couple of these into your routine is a great way to ease yourself into getting more restful sleep. See what works best for you and go with the flow.
Do you have a tip that works for you that we didn't mention? Let us know in the comments.