23 Feb Why Routine Is Crucial For A Good Night’s Sleep
For many of us, a good night’s sleep is something that we dream about but don’t always experience.
From physical problems such as back or joint issues through to overworked bodies and minds, there are lots of factors that can spoil a night’s sleep.
There are also lots of ideas about how to combat the problem and to get the rest that we all need.
But one that is easy to get into is the idea of having a routine around sleep that can have surprising benefits.
Creating a sleep schedule
While having a sleep schedule might sound like something that kids have, there are clear benefits to a sense of routine around sleep.
Part of it is the body’s response to routine – when we do something the same way each day, then our bodies begin to naturally fall into the routine, knowing what comes next.
This can be preparing for bed and having a sleep schedule that results in a good night’s sleep.
Going to bed at the same time each night, even at weekends and when on holiday, is a key factor to getting a good night’s sleep.
This creates a ‘sleep-wake cycle’ that lets the body know it is time to shut down and nod off.
But there is a point to remember – if you go to bed and within 15 minutes haven’t dozed off, then it is best to get up, do something to relax for a short time and try again.
Lying there trying to go to sleep will definitely have the negative effect after a short time.
Getting ready for bed
Another important part of creating a routine around going to bed is what you do in the lead-up.
For many people, it might be having a warm bath or shower (not too hot!), maybe listening to some relaxing music or reading.
Whatever you do just before bed, ensure it is relaxing and helps move you towards falling asleep – so playing computer games, watching scary movies or reading controversial newspaper reports might not be ideal!
Take a look at your bedroom to make sure it is conducive to good sleep.
Room darkening shades or curtains can be a good step while the use of a fan in warmer months might help make the room a more comfortable temperature.
Make sure that your pillows and other bedding are comfortable and not adding to the problem.
What you eat and drink before bed
One of the biggest causes of bad sleep can be the food or drink consumed before bedtime.
Caffeine is the obvious one, with its ability to keep us awake and it can be surprising how many drinks contain it in some form – even some teas, for example.
Don’t drink alcohol before bed as the idea of a nightcap may be relaxing but doesn’t actually help sleep and watch liquid intake during the evening to reduce bathroom trips.
If you are eating near bedtime, avoid large meals, spicy or acidic foods.
Keep a two-hour window between eating these foods and going to bed.