Good night sleep is as essential to your body as a healthy diet and regular exercise. Poor sleep can have a toll on your brain function, hormones, exercise performance, productivity, and even your weight. Most people struggle getting sleep at night. They keep on tossing in bed even as late as 3 a.m. but one thing they fail to realize is that they have control over their quality of sleep than they will ever know.
Growing up I had issues sleeping at night. To compensate for that, I would watch movies till as late as 4 am in the morning, go on the phone to chat with whoever would be online. This affected me negatively and made my parents worry because I would spend the better part of the day sleeping. My waking time was always after midday. Sleeping before 4 a.m. was not in the cards for me and I had accepted that fact. I tried taking sleeping pills, herbal medication but all that did not help. It is until later on that I realized I had to change my daily routines and boy, did that improve my sleep.
I learned the hard way that there is a solution to lack of sleep and it was as simple as changing my night routine and habits. After sticking to these routines, that is when I started feeling re-energized, emotionally balanced, mentally sharp and full of life all day long. Ride along with me as I share these tips. Hopefully, they help you too.
Read a book.
The best option for staring on the phone is reading a book. Reading your favorite book or newspaper can ease stress and tension in your body and also calm your nerves. They say ‟book lovers never go to bed alone” and true to that, it is an excellent workout for your brain. Anybody who has tried reading before bedtime can attest to the fact that it works like magic. Whether it is just spending 10 minutes, it will make a whole lot of difference especially for your mind, and I believe everyone has 10 minutes to spare no matter how busy they are. Sleep experts also recommend switching off bright lights at night so why not ditch that tablet and phone and grab your print book under your dim light? Reading a book before bedtime is, in fact, a fabulous way of reminding your brain that it is time to sleep.
Take a bath
If you have trouble getting sleep at night, probably a change in your shower schedule can help so why not give it a try. Taking a warm bath at night relaxes the body temperature and enables you to feel fresh and relaxed by the time you hit the sack. After a long day of hard work and sweat, taking a warm shower is recommended to cool down and prepare your body for sleep.
Only go to bed when you are worn-out.
Struggling to sleep can be hectic and daunting. After 20 minutes of no rest, get up, switch rooms and either listen to some cool music, read your favorite book or watch a movie, to relax your body and mind. Whatever it is make sure you go to bed when you are exhausted. Listen to your body cues, if your body feels fatigued or exhausted, retire to bed and sleep. If you are not sleepy, regardless of the timing, keep yourself busy and some relaxing chores or activities.
Praying or meditation.
Oftenracing thoughts and worries which we go to be with rob us of our good night sleep. In our busy world today, where we can’t help but worry about where our next paycheck will come from, often than not, getting a sound sleep might be a hard nut to crack. The study shows that mediation‒which focuses on breathing, mind‒calming and concentrate on the present moment, can help. Focus on your breath, bringing your mind to the present without wandering about the concerns of the future or the past. Allow yourself to live in the moment. Whatever technique you deem perfect, this routine will evoke the relaxation response of your mind. To achieve this, try these two steps
- Choose a soothing focus. Focus on your breath, a short prayer as you breathe out tension. If you choose a sound for instance ‟OM,‟ make sure you repeat it either silently or loudly as you inhale and exhale.
- Relax and let go. Allow yourself to completely absorb in the whole process. Pay attention to your thoughts, if your mind wanders, quickly take a deep breath and return your attention to your focus. Try this before going to bed, and you will thank me later.
Your bedroom should be a sleeping zone.
Lastly ensure your bedroom is dark, quiet and serene. Ever noticed how bats converge in caves for the day sleep? Lower the volume of any noise that might come in your bedroom, use heavy curtains, an eye mask or blackout shades to block light. Ensure you keep the temperature in a room cool not forgetting a comfortable mattress and pillows before you eventually retire to your bed.
How to stick to your bedtime routine‒The easy way
As I embarked on my night routine, I began with a positive mindset; I knew it was going to be a walk in the park (or so I thought). I mean who cannot read for 10 minutes a day? Meditation? Hmm. Sounds easy, right?
But heck no, I was wrong.
The first few nights I found myself watching movies till midnight, reading was just another story, going to bed anytime and the cycle went on and on. Sticking to a routine looked like a ´mind game´, but I was more than determined to stick to it no matter what because I was tired of having unproductive days.
By the third week, I was making some headway. Talk of motivation huh. I realized I had overcome so many problems I had when I was starting out and here is what I did.
- Come up with a clear plan that will be easy to stick to. Think about what you want to include in your list and Make it as simple as possible.
- Put alarms and reminders. Believe you me, it will be hard to rely on your willpower the first few days or even weeks, and this is when alarms will come in handy. You can decide to be creative with this, and the beauty of this is that after a month of following this, you will no longer need alarms, it will have become a positive habit.
- Start small. Make it as easy as possible and fun that you can’t say no. Setting up big goals, in this case, is a recipe for disaster. Better start with small targets that will be easy to accomplish.
Before reading this article, night routines may have been alien to you, do you see the tangible benefits now? No one says it is going to be easy, but it will be worth all the effort. You will look back and ask yourself, why you didn’t do it all along. Ensure your routine is in place for the first 30 days and after that, you will be basking in the glory of long peaceful nights.