9 steps to creating an evening routine that guarantees a good nights sleep

Having a good nights sleep is so important to our well being. If you have had enough rest it can make or break the effectiveness of the next day. Sleeping well will help you be more focused, happier and more productive.

The following 9 steps will help support you in getting a good nights sleep:
1)  Prepare your environment
To have effective sleep, the environment you are in is so important. Ensure you have the room at the right temperature, not too hot, not too cold. Try to limit the amount of clutter you have in your bedroom, a clutter free room facilitates better sleep. Ideally have no TV in your bedroom, if you do have a TV don’t watch it in the evening, before bed. Have your room as dark as you can get it, if it’s too light use a sleep mask. Ensure your bed is comfortable. You spend so much of your life in bed, it is well worthwhile investing in a good mattress and pillows.
2) Get your timings right
Everyone is different, but you need to ensure you get sufficient hours of sleep for you. Depending what time you are going to get up in the morning should dictate what time you go to bed. If you are not tired at night, try getting up a bit earlier. Aim for between 7 and 8 hours sleep a night, although some people do need less.
3) Keep hydrated
If you ensure you have a glass of water before bed, it will mean that you keep hydrated and don’t wake up thirsty. You should avoid caffeine and alcohol intake as they both disrupt your nights sleep and impact the quality of sleep you get. If you find a hot drink soothing before bedtime, you can try hot water and lemon or fresh mint tea.
4) Switch off electric equipment
Ensure that you turn off the TV, laptop, ipads, phones and any other electronic equipment in plenty of time before you start getting ready for bed, ideally at least an hour before. You shouldn’t have any of that equipment in the bedroom. You want to try and allow your brain to wind down before going to bed, and these things do not help to accomplish that.
5) Write your next days to do list
To declutter your mind before bed, a good technique is to write down your to do list for the next day. This will help stop your thoughts wandering aimlessly around in your mind as you have committed them to paper (or online equivalent!) This can help to clear your mind ready for sleep rather than worrying about what you have to do tomorrow.
6) Keep an notebook by your bed
This allows you to write down anything that pops into your mind following your to do list creation. Again, this should stop distracting thoughts preventing you from getting to sleep.
7) Take a nice hot bath
If you have a soak in a bubble bath, this can really help you unwind after a hard day. It can help relax you, make you feel sleepy and ready for bed.
8) Read
Even if you can only manage a view pages, reading a book before bed can help to relax you and get you ready for sleep. You will often feel your eyes starting to shut and you starting to nod off half way through a page.
9) Use a meditation app
Listening to a meditation app can help you fall asleep very quickly. 2 apps that you can use are the Digipill app and the Headspace Sleep App. If you turn the lights off and settle down to go to sleep, turn one of the apps on (you can try them both and see which one works best for you) then start listening to the app whilst you are going to sleep. You should find that you will only hear the beginning of the app as you will have already fallen asleep by the time it finishes.
I’d love to hear if these steps helped you get a more effective nights sleep, or if you have any other techniques that help you, in the comments below.

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