Tired of being tired all the time? Good for you. While some people pride themselves on being endlessly exhausted (“Look how much I’m accomplishing!”), there are few real-world rewards for chronic sleepiness.
So let’s talk sleep hygiene. Let’s talk bedtime routines. And our #1 Bedtime Routine shall be…
#1. Have a Routine.
This tops our list of healthful sleep habits because it’s something study after study has shown can improve your “sleep success” (defined as feeling rested throughout the day and falling asleep easily). Going to bed and waking up at or near the same time every day, and having some sort of bedtime ritual, will have the biggest impact on your quest for better sleep.
The other elements of your routine are up to you. These can range from the tried and true (glass of warm milk; relaxing bubble bath) to the idiosyncratic (50 sit-ups and a bowl of Cheerios.) The point is to do it the same way every time. This sends your mind and body the message: We’re done here. It’s sleepytime.
#2. Power Down.
You’ve probably heard it elsewhere but it bears repeating: Screens Before Bed = Bad. Your brain gets tricked by the light from your phone or laptop into thinking “Oh hey. It’s sunny in here. I’m not tired at all. Let’s play Cones of Dunshire.”
As for books and magazines, opinions vary on the relative merits of reading before bed. It’s something you can experiment with to see what works for you. With screens though, the evidence is quite clear—have a device-free period an hour or two before bed.
#3. Get Comfortable.
How’s your bed? And your bedding? Do you get overheated during the night? Do you often wake up with a stiff back? Is your nose always runny in the AM?
Having a mattress, sheets and pillows that suit you can make a big difference for your sleep quality. You’ll want to be sure you’re sufficiently cool (though not cold), and that your mattress and pillows are providing the right amount of support for your body.