Us humans are creatures of habit. This rings true throughout all aspects of our lives. Sleep is no different. But what if we could wire our brains to recognise that it is time for sleep? What if we could convince our bodies that for the next eight hours we want to be asleep? There is a way, and it is rather simple. It all boils down to having an effective bedtime routine.
So what is a bedtime routine? Well, this is a collection of habits which are performed in the same way on a nightly basis. These habits may only take a short amount of time but they are enough to trigger our mind into readying itself for sleep. The routine will be individual to you so you need to come up with it yourself but for now I will share my routine with you all.
My bedtime routine begins around half an hour before I intend to go to sleep. Between half past ten and eleven is when I aim to be asleep by, so I begin this routine at about ten in the evening, every evening. I turn off my television and laptop. I then check the messages on my smartphone and set my phone alarm for the morning. That is it for screens at that point. No more technology before bed.
I then boil the kettle and make myself a hot drink. Sometimes this is a decaffeinated cup of tea, and sometimes this is an herbal tea, depending on how I feel. I am a big fan of Clipper’s Sleep Easy Tea (Amazon link here). This tea contains chamomile and valerian root which are known to help with inducing sleep.
I clean my teeth and change into my pyjamas. Then I spray some lavender sleep mist onto my pillow and climb into bed. I use Avon’s Sleep Serenity Mist which can be found on this Avon link. For the next 20 minutes or so I drink my tea and read a book (I highly recommend reading before bed, see my post: Why Creating a Reading Habit was so Important to Me). By this point my eyes are usually getting heavy so I use this as my cue to switch off the lamp and go to sleep.
Now, this may not work straight away, but do not be disheartened. By performing the same routine every night, even for only a week, our minds begin to associate these actions with sleep. Persevere and falling asleep will happen quicker and quicker. The quality of sleep will also improve. Following my bedtime routine religiously I have been known to fall asleep within five minutes, something which I never would have achieved in the past.
What do you do before bed? Have you found anything which helps you to fall asleep more quickly?