I've included an audio version of this blog post for your convenience!  Let me know if you prefer the audio or written versions and why.  Thanks!

Raise your hand if you've been told or read somewhere that having routines is super important for you.  Keep your hand up if you actually know why this is true.  Honestly, I would have put my hand down before I decided to actually look at the science behind habits.  Sounds like a snoozefest, am I right?  I hope so because I decided to really hone in on sleep habits and sleep hygiene.

sunrise alarm clock, bedtime routine, sleep hygiene

Sleep hygiene includes all of the things that you do throughout the day that affect your sleep.  Exercise, sunlight, caffeine, room temperature, and routines can affect your sleep negatively or positively.  For example, going outside and basking in the sun between 6:00 AM to 8:30 AM can improve your sleep that night.  10 minutes of aerobic exercise per day can also improve your sleep.  Taking long naps or drinking caffeine later in the day can disrupt your sleep.

When it comes to your bedroom, it's important that your bedroom is comfortable and relaxing at all times.  You should only associate your bedroom with relaxation, sleep, and intimacy.  That means you should eliminate any habits or items in your bedroom that increase your sleep.  You should also use your bedroom to set up a bedtime routine.  Your body and brain love routines at specific times of the day because you already have a natural routine when it comes to being asleep or awake.  It's called the circadian rhythm and it's actually linked to a lot of health benefits or problems, such as obesity, depression, and insomnia.  I won't go into it, but it is an interesting topic to research if you want to know more!  This is actually something that I've struggled with, so I'm working on improving it.  That's right - even when bloggers talk about their routines, tips, and tricks, they may not be completely perfect.

bedtime routine, sleep hygiene, sleep

If you don't have a bedtime routine but want to make one, think of the things that you need to get done at night and the things that you want to do that make you feel relaxed.  You don't have to stick to the routine exactly.  Don't worry if you're 10 minutes later one night, as long as you're asleep within an hour of your usual bed time.  And don't worry if you don't always hit every task on that's part of your routine or if you don't complete your routine in the same order each night.

Here are the tasks and items that I include in my bedtime routine:
  • Drinking chamomile tea
  • Taking a shower
  • Oral, skin, and hair care
  • Journaling
  • Essential oils for aromatherapy
  • Background noise or music

And here are some items that I'm trying to incorporate into my bedtime routine:
  • Meditation
  • Reading
  • Only using my sunrise alarm clock
  • Going to sleep and waking up at the same time

As you can see, there are tons of different ways that you can improve your sleep hygiene and bedtime routines.  I only covered a few of them that I know work for me, but there are tons of ideas out there.  If you're interested in learning more about sleep hygiene or your circadian rhythm, check out which is actually part of the National sleep foundation.

No comments