This week, our friends over at Mattress Advisor took over the Zonkd blog to spread some of their wisdom. When you're finished reading, be sure to head on over to mattressadvisor.com to learn more!
Getting quality, consistent sleep is vital to a good health routine. The best way to do this is by sticking to a schedule. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even on the weekends, helps keep your sleeping pattern on track.
Our bodies run on a circadian rhythm. We naturally respond to changes in the light and our energy levels shift according to the differences in light. When it is sunny out, our brain is signaled to suppress the production of melatonin (the hormone that makes us sleepy). However, once the light source goes away, our brains are signaled to start producing the melatonin and prepare for sleep to recharge.
Sometimes there are external forces that prevent our bodies from naturally responding to light like having a bedroom in a basement without windows or taking a weekend trip to a different time zone.
The best way to make sure you can stick to your schedule for a consistent, healthy amount of sleep is to create a wind-down routine so you can take control of signaling to your body that it’s time for sleep.
How to create a wind-down routine
You should be intentional with your choices when it comes to building your wind-down routine. Follow these steps to create a personalized routine for you, guaranteed to lead to great sleep.
- Lower the lights
Mimicking the way our circadian rhythm works will help you instruct your body that it’s time for sleep. Turn down the lights a few hours before bedtime. Instead of having bright Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFBs) lighting up your home, use incandescent bulbs. Red lights are also known to be effective in signaling melatonin production.
- Take a warm bath
A warm bath is more than just relaxing -- it’s scientifically proven to give you a better night’s sleep. Dr. Robert Oexman, Director of the Sleep to Live Institute, explains that a temperature drop is necessary in order to reach deep sleep. A warm bath an hour before bed causes a rapid drop in body temperature once you get out. This is said to help you fall asleep faster and sleep deeper.
- Have a cup of warm tea
A warm cup of herbal tea is great for calming your mind and body for bed. Shake off the stress of the day with a cup of chamomile with a splash of lavender to help you doze off.
- Bring out the essential oils
Speaking of lavender and chamomile, essential oils are known for their calming aromatic effects. Rub essential oils like sage or lavender on the soles of your feet, wrist and palms to experience the relaxing sensation. You can also use an oil diffuser to fill your home or bedroom with a relaxing scent.
- Put down your technology
Screens from our technology emit blue light which stimulates our minds. Blue light has the opposite effect we desire to create with a wind down routine. This means put down the smartphone and cut out the Netflix binge before bed.
- Do some nighttime yoga
Nighttime yoga stretches can go a long way in helping you achieve the zen you need for a good night’s sleep. If you aren’t a yogi, you can keep it simple with stretches that help you relax your muscles and stretch points of tension like your spine and shoulders. Here’s some simple moves to get you started. (You can even do them in bed!)
Just like you stick to a workout routine, in order for your wind-down routine to be effective, you should be consistent. Humans are creatures of habit - once you develop pattern, it will be easier to stick with it.
Having trouble sleeping?
If you create a wind-down routine and still have trouble getting to sleep at night, you may need to consider other factors that are preventing you from your best night of ZZZs.
Make sure you aren’t allowing light or noise pollution to disrupt your sleep. Try out blackout curtains or a white noise machine to drown out external sounds.
If you spend your nights tossing and turning across your queen sized mattress, it may be time for a new mattress. Whether you sleep on an innerspring, hybrid, or memory foam mattress can affect your sleep quality based on your sleeping needs. Make sure to do the research necessary to find the best mattress for you, and while you’re at it, you should also make sure you have the best pillow and premium sleep products to keep you cozy in your dreams.
In conclusion, the best wind down routine for better sleep is:
- Lower the Lights
- Take a Warm Bath
- Have a Cup of Warm Tea
- Use Essential Oils to Help you Calm Down
- Put Away the Technology
- Do Some Nighttime Yoga
Make this a routine and stick to it for the best sleep of your life!