Most people would scoff at the idea of adults needing a bedtime routine. With our busy lives, it’s common to work until late at night, trying to catch up on general life admin until you suddenly see the clock and experience a moment of mild panic. Creating a bedtime routine helps you to get to sleep more easily, sleep more soundly and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day. Read on to find out why you need a routine, and what a good bedtime routine for adults actually looks like.
Think about what bedtime is like now
It might be useful to spend a few moments thinking about what your bedtime routine (or lack thereof) is like currently. Do you come home from work, then hit the gym, perhaps eat dinner late at night? Or, perhaps you like to watch TV to ‘wind down’? Many people have a ritual where they drink a couple of glasses of wine of an evening? Perhaps the time you go to bed varies greatly from night to night depending on your work and your social life. Unfortunately, all of these habits can contribute to poor sleep.
As any parent knows, the secrets of a successful bedtime routine are both consistency and gradually stepping away from exciting and stimulating activities and focusing attention towards calming and soothing activities.
Create your own bedtime routine
The routine that you create doesn’t have to be similar to what works for babies or children, a good bedtime routine for adults shouldn’t make you feel restricted or lacking. However, there are certain actions which work for everyone, regardless of age. Having a consistent routine, with a consistent bedtime and wake time is crucial to getting good quality sleep. By getting on a schedule your body clock knows what to expect and will start the internal chemical cascades that help you drift off.
First of all, make sure your bedroom is a place you enjoy being in. Is your bed comfortable? Have you got good curtains? Is it a comfortable temperature? Because you want to feel relaxed and happy while you’re in your room, you might like to consider a revamp.
Take time to wind down
Before you head to bed, take some time to let your body and mind relax. Research has shown that spending as little as 5 minutes mentally reviewing what went well during the day, or what you’re grateful for leads to better sleep quality. Therefore, before bed is is an ideal time for a simple reflective practice like a short meditation or journalling. The act of writing your thoughts down can be very grounding for some people. It doesn’t need to be amazing prose or even intelligible to anyone else; just a note of your thoughts at the time.
Some people write down their ‘wins for the day’, others focus on gratitude or what went well. It really doesn’t matter what you decide to focus on, perhaps you might choose to write about something that is still niggling at you that happened during the day. The simple act of putting pen to paper can help you gain clarity and perspective around unresolved situations. Furthermore, this removes worries from your mind, helping you sleep.
Make the bedroom a no-phone zone
We’ve all become thoroughly attached to our smart phones, kindles and ipads. Unfortunately, they are disruptive to sleep on a number of levels. Because the light they emit is blue light, your brain doesn’t start producing melatonin, a sleep hormone. More to the point, because we are always engaging with our phones, we struggle to ‘switch off’ from social or work mode.
Help yourself make that switch by turning your phone off a few hours before you go to bed and leaving it outside of the bedroom. It can feel uncomfortable at first, but keeping current on social media happenings is less important than decent sleep.
Introduce a winding down routine
It really doesn’t matter what you do, physical or mental, the idea is to create a ‘third space’ to help you separate the day and all its stresses from bedtime. Spending a little time doing gentle stretching, yoga or meditation is a fantastic way to help you wind down and switch off. Spending as little as 10 to 15 minutes, being mindfully present will help you let go of the physical and emotional pains of the day.
There are a range of different meditation apps that you can download or you can search on YouTube to find a meditation or evening yoga routine which relaxes you and prepares you for sleep. Adding a short meditation to your bedtime routine will almost certainly help you get to sleep more easily, and it will also probably have the added benefit of improving your mood throughout the rest of the day.
A hypnosis recording designed for sleep may be even more helpful than a general meditation. There are a wide array of different sleep meditations and self-hypnosis recordings that you can access on different platforms.
What if your bedtime routine isn’t working?
For some people creating a bedtime routine simply isn’t enough. The National Council for Hypnotherapy guidelines state that people with insomnia respond well to hypnotherapy. Many clients report significant improvement in their sleep satisfaction after treatment.
Working with your hypnotherapist you will uncover the root causes of your insomnia and learn skills to overcome it. Sometimes it’s a habit we have got into. Other times, it’s because something happened in our past which has lead us to believe that sleeping isn’t safe.
The causes of chronic insomnia are many and varied. Because of this, it’s important to find a therapist that you really click with. Working with someone you like and trust will make the process much more simple. Therefore, I recommend having a chat with a few therapists before deciding who you’d like to work with. I offer sessions online as well as face to face, so if you’d like to contact me to discuss your sleep needs more, I’m happy to help.
Please note: This article is not to be used as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional before using any sleep treatments. This post may contain affiliate links.