Sleep and Routine
What is a Bedtime Ritual?
A bedtime ritual can be anything you want it to be as long as you do it each night. An appealing ritual for many might include: a light snack, laying clothes out for the next day, a warm bath or shower, brushing teeth, listening to soft music and/or reading, followed by lights out. Begin your ritual 30 to 60 minutes before your bedtime, and don't rush through it.
Our bodies like to sleep on a regimented routine. It might seem unnatural to schedule your sleep like you would an important appointment, but this is one of the most vital principles to getting a good night's rest. Here are several ideas for keeping a scheduled sleep routine.
Establish a Bedtime Ritual
Most of us begin our day with a morning routine. It helps us prepare ourselves physically and mentally for the day. So why not establish a bedtime routine that helps to prepare you for sleep? The purpose of a bedtime ritual is to send a signal to your body and mind that it's time to sleep.
You probably already have some regular bedtime habits, even if you haven't realized it. Brushing and flossing your teeth, lowering the thermostat, and setting your alarm clock may all be part of your evening routine. To help you get to sleep, you should perform these activities in the same manner and order every night.
Avoid activities that are stimulating or laden with emotion right before bedtime. Starting to assemble your new computer or paying a stack of bills 30 minutes before bed would not be wise. Begin those types of activities earlier in the evening, and end them in time to go unhurriedly through your bedtime routine.
Establishing some type of bedtime ritual also provides closure to your day and allows you to go to bed and sleep with a more quiet body and mind.
Some people think going to bed on a schedule is only for children. While it's good for children to have a regular bedtime, it's also very good for adults who want to sleep like children when they hit the sack.
Within weeks of keeping a regular sleep-wake schedule, you will begin to feel more alert than if you were keeping a variable sleep-wake routine. Not only will a stable rhythm of sleeping and waking improve the quality of your sleep, but it will probably also improve the quality of your life. Try it for six weeks and see the difference it makes in your energy and alertness.
Your nightly ritual is one way to prepare yourself for sleep. Learn some others on the next page.