Last updated on September 27th, 2023 at 03:20 pm
Your head hits the pillow, and you close your eyes and poof, you’re asleep. If only it was that simple, right? While for some lucky few, sleep comes easily, our recent study revealed it takes over 41% of 18-34-year-olds more than 30 minutes to drift off. Perhaps they’re doing something differently? Here are the five best and worse things to do before bed and how they can help you sleep better.
What are the best things you can do before bed?
Let’s start with how to do things right. Here is a list of three things good sleepers tend to do before bed that can help you fall asleep faster and wake up more refreshed:
1. Enjoy a hot bath
If you need a good reason to indulge in a warm tub of bubbles, research suggests they could help you snooze better. Hot water helps to increase your body’s temperature and drop again before you go to bed. According to a study, this can make you fall asleep faster by up to ten minutes. Add some Epson salts and lavender to your bath for extra sleepy benefits, and make sure you’ve got some soft, fluffy bamboo bath towels ready to dry off before you hit the hay.
2. Listen to sleepy sounds
Sleepy sounds such as white and pink noise have been proven to help you fall asleep up to 38% faster. The noises can include anything from soft, running water to someone speaking gently- retelling your favourite bedtime story. If you struggle with a racing mind and relentless overthinking, these sounds can help you switch off and start to feel sleepy. Experiment to see what kinds of sounds work best for you. Everyone is different though you will soon discover what noises relax and ease you into the land of nod.
3. Have a bedtime routine
Setting a bedtime routine can be challenging because life is so unpredictable. However, the benefits of following an unwinding ritual and going to bed at the same time make it oh-so worth it. Whether it’s using relaxing bedtime oils and popping on an eye mask or flicking through a chapter of your latest book, a routine can help set your circadian rhythm so you drift off for a deeper, more restorative rest.
What are the worse things to do before bed?
Now you know the things to do before you hop into bed, check out this list of things to avoid. And why these sabotaging sleep habits can make it harder to get the recommended 7-9 hours that keep you feeling your best.
Why are certain habits before bed detrimental to sleep quality?
Falling into bad sleeping habits can reduce the quality and length of your shut-eye, taking its toll on your well-being. For example, going to bed early or drinking late at night can deprive you of the rest you need to stay healthy. Over time, these bad habits can lead to sleep disorders such as insomnia. It is important to be aware of how your habits are affecting your sleep quality in order to make the changes you need to improve your rest. Here are a few of the worse culprits;
1. Scrolling Instagram
Many of us are guilty of constantly scrolling our phones all day. With emails, social media, and all those TikTok videos, taking time away from our screens can be the ultimate challenge. Though avoiding blue light at least two hours before bed can not only make it easier to fall asleep, it can also improve the quality of your shut-eye. Try leaving electronics outside the bedroom and swapping those Instagram stories for a good book or some pillow talk with your partner. You will thank yourself when you wake up in the morning.
2. Consuming caffeine
While that morning coffee can be a great way to start your day, you might want to watch those post-dinner espressos. Drinking caffeine too close to bedtime can make it harder to fall asleep reducing your total sleep time. Caffeine promotes alertness and stimulates the mind, which is the last thing you need before snuggling into bed. Swap coffee for herbal tea or hot milk, which has some delicious sleepy benefits. And watch out for sneaky caffeine culprits like chocolate- yummy as it may be. Indulging too late at night is not so sweet for sleep.
3. Having the wrong bedding
Find yourself tossing and turning till silly ‘o’clock? Overheating is one of the leading causes of broken shut-eye and can even make it harder to drift off. 18.3 degrees is the recommended temperature for ideal sleep. If you do not have breathable bedding, nights can get hot and sticky, especially in the summer. Thermoregulating and hypoallergenic bamboo bedding feels silky and smooth on the skin and regulates body temperature throughout the night. Plus, it’s perfect all year round, so whatever the season, you’re doing bedtime right.
How can you improve your sleep routine before bed?
Setting a healthier sleeping routine does not have to be overwhelming. Here are a few snooze-friendly tips to get you started;
Decide on a bedtime you can stick to- Aim to get to bed at the same time every night. This starts with setting a realistic time of what works for you giving you enough time to relax between finishing work and hitting the hay.
Avoid bad sleeping habits- If any of the bad habits above sound familiar, make an effort to reduce them by swapping them for healthier alternatives.
Get enough movement- Regular exercise can help you sleep better. Studies show that getting enough daily movement can reduce the time it takes you to fall asleep. A great reason to get those 10,000 steps in.
Creating your perfect bedtime can take trial and error. When it comes to rest we are all very different, from how firm we like our mattress, how many hours we need to our favourite sleeping position. Whether it’s allowing yourself more time to unwind, enjoying a bath or treating yourself to breathable bedding. Small adaptions to your sleeping habits will lead to a better night’s kip and far brighter mornings.