As grown-ups, we rarely stop to think about our bedtime routine, and yet it has such a huge effect on the quality of our lives. Good sleep translates to good health, plain and simple. It has an impact on every system of the body, acting as the scaffolding for cardiovascular health and helping our bodies regulate weight, blood sugar, immune response and mood. There’s no Fountain of Youth, but sleep is the closest thing we’ve got. Here are some quick and easy tips to enhance your adult bedtime routine.
Take CBD Oil — Did you know that CBD products — products made with a non-psychoactive and totally legal compound derived from the hemp plant — can be a miracle worker for helping you chill? If you suffer from a racing mind or feel physical discomfort as you’re trying to doze off into dreamland, take a few drops of CBD to signal to your body that it’s time to get some rest. We recommend starting with a sublingual CBD oil for sleep.
Prep for Tomorrow — While you’ve still got an ounce of energy left over from the day, put it to good use by laying out your clothes and making your lunch for the next day. This takes so much stress out of tomorrow — isn’t that what bedtime routines are all about, anyway? — and prevents you from that oppressive get-out-of-bed dread you feel when waking up to an especially busy and stressful schedule ahead. Oh, and set the coffee!
Set a Bedtime — We know, we know. It’s a strange thing to do when you’re over the age of 10, but setting a bedtime may actually do you a ton of good. According to research conducted at the Duke University Medical Center, adults who set — and followed — a regular sleep time got more sleep and had better heart and metabolic health. You can use apps or set the bedtime on your phone to remind you when it’s time to wind down.
Ditch the Phone — Speaking of your phone. Yes, it can do some good in helping you follow your nighttime routine, but it can also be detrimental to your quality of sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, staring at your devices before bed keeps the brain alert and delays the onset of REM sleep, which can make you feel less alert and well-rested in the a.m. Try to stop scrolling at least an hour before your designated bedtime.
Meditate — Meditation is a fantastic way to boost your overall mental and physical health, especially when you’re de-escalating from a stressful day. The practice helps support a reduction in stress and can even diminish feelings of anxiety, helping you set yourself up for a fruitful night of sleep. Oh, and meditation isn’t just good for supporting rest. It also helps you in your waking hours by lengthening the attention span, boosting memory, decreasing inflammation and increasing emotional intelligence.
Relax the Muscles — Call this meditation lite. Rather than going through a full-blown meditation session, if you can’t sleep, take 10 or 15 minutes to check in with your body and remind yourself to relax and unclench any muscles while lying in bed. Starting at the forehead and working your way down to your toes, consciously release any tension you may be holding, especially in the jaw, neck, shoulders and hips.
Take a Bath — Sylvia Plath said there’s nothing a hot bath can’t cure, and we think that goes for a bad bedtime routine, too! Taking a soak in some toasty water can help relax the muscles and the mind, helping you sink into a state of serenity before you hit the hay. Go ahead and splurge on some nice-quality bath bombs — they’re for your health!
Stay Out of the Kitchen — You never want to go to bed hungry, as that will only keep you awake. With that said, be careful what you consume in the hours leading up to bedtime, as some foods and beverages will keep your brain active and prevent you from lapping up the deep sleep you need to feel refreshed in the morning. Obviously, skip any caffeine, alcohol and other stimulating drinks, but you also want to steer clear of sugar, chocolate or anything that might trigger an upset stomach.
Automate Bedtime — Try saying, “Hey [Google/Alexa/Siri/Whichever Robot You Trust], goodnight.” Your smart home devices were designed to work with your routine, and many of them have special tricks that will enhance bedtime. For example, you can set up your Google Home so that when you say, “Hey Google, bedtime,” it will automatically set your phone to silent, give you a rundown of your calendar for tomorrow and set an alarm for the morning. It will even dim the lights for you and play some calming music if that’s what you need to settle into a good mental sleep state!
Try Aromatherapy — Nothing enhances everyday activities quite like some great-smelling candles or essential oils. Fill your space with soothing scents that encourage calm, such as lavender, chamomile or jasmine. Just remember to always blow out any candles before you fall asleep! We love electric oil burners and plug-ins to bring the aromatic vibes sans flames.
Sleep Associations Are Strong
One thing sleep research has proven over the past few decades is that humans make very strong and long-lasting sleep associations. If you liked sleeping with a fan on or music playing as a child, there’s a good chance you still do today. The same goes for your bedtime routine as an adult. A short meditation session or a relaxing bath can kick your brain into sleep mode and help you sink into a restful slumber. Building positive associations with the tips above is a great way to enhance sleep and, in turn, your quality of life.
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