Is there a better way to start each day than to be happy and well-rested? Unfortunately, our fast-paced, instant-gratification seeking and over-scheduled society often stands in the way of a good night’s sleep. Thus, improving your nightly habits can increase your quality of slumber.
Sleep is our secret weapon. There isn’t one part of your life that isn’t affected by sleep. The quality of your mental, emotional, and physical performance relies on the quality of your sleep
There are plenty of habits that can help you sleep better and make you happier every morning.
Here are 11 mindset and tactical habits to implement into your nighttime routine.
Use these 11 bedtime habits to establish a ritual to honor your sleep and let your happiest self emerge when you awaken.
1 – Keep a Journal
Journaling helps to release the hold our thoughts have on us so we can relax and let the stresses of the day fall away. Just write what is on your mind. Keep your journal by your bedside so if you find random thoughts are preventing you from sleep, you can write them down.
2 – Breathe
Andrew Weil, the founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine and clinical professor of medicine at the University of Arizona says, “Persistent insomnia becomes more common as we age.” He suggests the 4-7-8 breathing method for relaxation at bedtime.
Start by exhaling and close your mouth. Begin inhaling through your nose for a count of four. Hold your breath while you count to seven. and then exhale to a count of eight. Repeat the sequence until you start to feel relaxed.
3 – Quiet the Inner Chatter
It always seems as if our best ideas and our entire to-do list for the next day surfaces when we get into bed. All of this noise going through our head is a result of a stressful day and a lack of control over our time.
We are inundated with information and it is important to understand how to handle it. One suggestion is to create your to-do list for the next day at the end of your day. Then bring it to bed and keep it with your journal. If you think of something you missed add to it. If you have a great idea, jot it down. Then it’s time to let it go and revisit it tomorrow.
4 – Reflect on Your Day
When you hear “reflect on your day” you probably think expressing gratitude. And while yes, you should think of the good things in your day, you should also think about the bad. It is a fact of life that bad things happen and it is important to acknowledge them or you risk suppressing them.
5 – Ask yourself these three questions at the end of every day:
1. What is something good that happened today?
2. What is something not so good that happened today?
3. Am I able to forgive myself and let it go?
You can think about these questions or you can journal them. The goal is to process the events of the day. End your reflection on the engagement you had with people throughout your day. What better way to end your day than to reflect on smiles, kindness, and love.
6 – Change Your Thoughts About Sleep Habits
Have you ever thought as you were crawling into bed, “I am so tired, I know I will never get enough sleep.” Or maybe you have said something like, “I only have six hours and that isn’t enough.”
Just like everything else in our life, our thoughts help determine our destiny. If you think you are going to have trouble sleeping, then chances are you will. Instead reframe your thoughts to positive ones. Thoughts like, “I am ready to feel refreshed and energized in the morning,” or “I have earned a good night’s sleep.”
Talk yourself to sleep with positive thoughts around sleep. Now, take a look at these tactical tips that will help you set the environment for better sleep.
7 – Tactical Habits for Better Sleep
8 – Ban the Blue Light
Ban blue light in the bedroom. Blue light interferes with your sleep. So get rid of the blue numbered alarm clocks and night lights. And avoid bringing tablets and phones into the bedroom.
9 – Turn your clock around.
When you glance at the clock, you will begin to worry about how few hours are left. I know you can relate, we have all been there. A simple remedy is to turn the clock around.
10 – Create a separate sleep haven for your pet.
Animals are restless and they can prevent you from settling into a deep sleep. They also track all sorts of allergy-type of stuff into your bed and sneezing is a sure fire way to get out of good night’s sleep.
11 – Set your body clock
Try going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Yes, even on weekends. Once your body clock is set, you will find yourself falling asleep quickly. I was skeptical at first, but I am proof it works.
BONUS HABIT: Eat light and drink right at night.
Heavy foods and big meals late in the day can burden the digestive system making it difficult for your body to be at rest. And alcohol may make you sleepy but when the effects wear off it actually will cause frequent awakenings during the night.
Final Thoughts on Improving Your Bedtime Habits
These tips are helpful when your insomnia is fleeting. But if you have tried everything and are still having trouble sleeping, you should consult your wellness provider. There are many conditions that can contribute to insomnia and the only way to figure it all out would be to consult a medical professional. What have you got to lose except sleepless nights?