7 Simple Ways To Create A Restful Bedtime Routine
The things you do before you head to bed can have a significant impact on the quality of your sleep.
Especially if you have trouble switching your mind off because of stress or anxiety.
So if you’re struggling with insomnia, adopting a restful routine before bed can help you relax, fall asleep more easily and wake up feeling well-rested the following day.
A restful bedtime routine is a series of relaxing activities that help you prepare for sleep. In addition to helping you to wind down after work, they also train your brain that it’s time to get some rest.
By following our simple routine from start to finish, we think you’ll feel calm, cosy and ready for restful sleep in no time.
Here are 7 steps to a restful bedtime routine
1. Dim the lights
There’s a reason the Danish use candles to create hygge (a feeling of cosiness). Lower levels of light helps your brain produce melatonin - a hormone that winds you down and makes you sleepy. In fact, a 2011 study from the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that bright lights before bedtime can suppress melatonin levels and potentially keep you awake and wired.
So turn off the bright overheads, switch on some soft lamps and light those cosy candles.
2. Reflect on the day
Journaling before bed can help you process the day and let go of rumination. Instead of rehashing your day in bed, you can release it all onto the paper.
First, acknowledge the wins. What went well? What are you grateful for? What felt easy, joyful or light?
Next, acknowledge what went wrong. Take a moment to rant if you need, but also look for potential solutions. What could be done better next time? What would future you do in a similar situation? What can you learn from this event?
Taking a few minutes to recognise the good and bad in your day will help clear your mind, ready for bed.
3. Write a Next Day list
While your journal is out, why not write up tomorrow’s to-do list too? Doing it before bed means you won’t spend precious bedtime hours worrying about what needs to be done.
Writing it down will set your mind at ease, knowing everything is prepared for the morning. The next day will also start quicker and smoother. Because you’ll have a clear picture of what’s in store. You won’t need to spend the morning figuring it out.
4. Have a hot shower
Temperature plays a role in your body’s natural circadian rhythm. Which means a hot shower can encourage better sleep.
According to sleep specialist Dr Alex Dimitriu, if you warm up and then cool down, sleep gets deeper. So a hot shower or bath before bed can accentuate this drop in temperature.
Just be sure to time it right. You want to give your body some time to cool down before you hit the sack. Ideally one to two hours before your intended bedtime is the sweet spot.
5. Give yourself a massage
Easing physical tension is a great way to wind down before bed. You could massage your face for a few extra minutes while you do your skincare routine; give yourself a neck rub; or gently massage your lower legs and feet with some nourishing moisturiser.
If you’re in a relationship, you could take turns giving each other a neck & shoulder massage.
6. Try legs up the wall
‘Legs Up The Wall’ or viparita karani is a gentle and deeply restful yoga pose. Elevating your legs above your chest helps bring blood flow back to the heart, improving circulation and boosting relaxation. And you don’t need to be a yogi - or even that flexible - to reap the benefits.
To make this pose super comfy, place a towel or yoga mat under you for some padding, and a small cushion or pillow to place under your head.
- Sit with your knees bent and your right side against the wall
- Exhale as you lie back flat and gently swing your legs up the wall
- If the back of your legs feel too tight, shuffle away from the wall until you are comfortable
If this sounds too challenging, you can modify the pose:
- Place a chair in front of you
- Lie on the floor and lift your calves onto the seat of the chair
Natalia Tabilo has a great video demonstrating Legs Up The Wall and the chair variation.
Although legs up the wall is safe for most people, if you are pregnant or have been diagnosed with glaucoma, high blood pressure, or any serious problems with your neck or spine you should consult your doctor first.
7. Listen to meditones
Meditones make you calm without you having to do a thing. They are precisely tuned frequencies of sound, that when heard with headphones, help you produce restful brain waves effortlessly. Combined with ambient music, meditones make for a deeply relaxing playlist before bed.
The technical term for meditones is binaural beats and their results are completely backed by science.
Simply slide into bed, pop on your headphones, and the meditones effect occurs naturally and easily. You’ll be drifting off to sleep in no time.
You can find hours of soothing meditones music inside the Restful app, including a very calming Sleep Playlist.
By creating a restful bedtime routine, you’ll be better prepared to enjoy hours of deep restful sleep. And by sticking to the same pattern each night, your body will start to know when it’s time to unwind.
Falling asleep will become easier. And instead of scrambling to hit the snooze button when the alarm goes off, you’ll wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go.