Building a Good Sleep Routine
A good sleep routine consists of having a structured, consistent routine before bedtime. This will lead to a more restful night’s sleep. A good sleep routine can differ from person to person but it’s recommended for everyone to get at least eight uninterrupted hours of sleep a night. Sometimes this isn’t so easy. The healthy sleep program at Harvard University states: “While we may not often think about why we sleep, most of us acknowledge at some level that sleep makes us feel better. We feel more alert, more energetic, happier, and better able to function following a good night of sleep. However, the fact that sleep makes us feel better and that going without sleep makes us feel worse only begins to explain why sleep might be necessary.”
We’ve all felt the grogginess of the morning following going to bed too late. A couple of nights of this shouldn’t have too many longer term effects on your health. However, over time, your body and brain will start feeling it.
The Risks of Not Having a Good Sleep Routine
There are risks to not having a good sleep routine. These are:
- Prolonged sleep deficit can negatively affect your immune system. You may notice that you get sick more often when you’re not sleeping well
- Studies show that people who do not get enough sleep are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease
- Brain fog, lack of focus during daily activities
- A bad night’s sleep affects mood, and may make you less than pleasant during the day. Also, those with depression and anxiety may find their symptoms are more intense when they’re lacking sleep
- Risk of injury or accidents
- Lack of sleep prevents the body from healing and regenerating
- Studies have shown that those who get less than five hours a night on average have an increased risk of developing diabetes
We all know that sleep is vital to our day to day functioning and well-being. Being in a sleep deficit, especially long term, can have negative effects on your physical and mental health. Sometimes certain health conditions like sleep apnea can contribute to poor sleep, but it can also be some of our own habits that affect our sleep patterns. If you want to start your wonderful full night of sleep the best way possible, consider setting a routine, or a set of structured tasks that help your brain understand that it’s time to wind down.
Ways to Build a Good Sleep Routine
- There are now bedtimes around here…even for the adults! Pick a consistent time to go to bed and wake up. Our bodies like to follow a pattern. Consistent sleep and wake times will help your body know when it’s time for bed. (Need help keeping consistency in your routines? Check out our article on using routines to create habits here!
- Lights out! Turn off devices one hour before sleep. Phones, tablets and televisions emit a blue light which affects our bodies ability to judge our own wakefulness. An excess amount of this blue light can cause us to be more awake when we are trying to wind down
- Self -care isn’t just for Sunday! Take part in some self-soothing activities. Take a shower, read a book, listen to peaceful music, create a skincare routine. These are all low energy activities meant to calm your body and mind during that last hour or so before bed.
- Make your bedroom a sleep haven. A good mattress and pillows are worth it when it comes to sleep quality! Your bed for bedroom activities only. A bed should be a place for sleep and sex only. Our brains associate places with feelings. If you’re doing work activities or having family time in your bed, it may be difficult to associate the bed with sleep when it’s time to sleep. Conversely, if you are having difficulty getting to sleep and tossing and turning, you should get up and go out of your bedroom to avoid your brain associating the bedroom with the anxiety and frustration of being unable to sleep.
- Just get up! Avoid setting an alarm and snoozing. Determine the maximum amount of time you can sleep and set an alarm to get you up with enough time to do what you need to do in the morning (this should probably include a workout, since exercise helps with better sleep too!). The broken sleep from snoozing an alarm is not a good way to start your day and you may even be more tired!
Having a good sleep routine should be a priority right along with eating good food and exercising. The long term negative effects of sleep deprivation can be long-lasting and can aid in the development of some pretty serious health issues down the road. Setting a bedtime routine and buckling down on a few habits can help you get to sleep faster and feel better every day.
If you enjoyed this article and want to know more about creating routines, you can find the link here for more info!
Tell me about your sleep routines and what helps you get a good nights rest in the comments below!