Need a good bedtime routine? Internationally award-winning therapist Marisa Peer shares how to create the perfect night routine to get a good night’s sleep.
Do you have trouble sleeping? If the answer’s yes, then you’re not alone. In fact, 40% of the world’s population has been suffering from sleep problems during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you’re looking to get a restful night’s sleep, creating a good night routine is a simple lifestyle change that can tremendously improve your sleep quality.
By changing what you do before bed—also known as “sleep hygiene”—you can eliminate sleep issues, get better quality rest, and feel more refreshed and energized in the morning.
But what exactly is a healthy night routine, and how do you cultivate it? I’ll share some of the most effective techniques to help you improve your sleep hygiene and sleep better each night.
What Is a Night Routine?
Simply put, a night routine is the sequence of activities that you do before bed each night.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, it may be because you don’t have a consistent routine, or your current routine is negatively affecting the quality of your sleep.
Having a healthy night routine means cultivating habits before bed that help you destress and improve your sleep quality.
Having worked with thousands of clients who have had trouble sleeping, I know that having a relaxing routine before bedtime and going to bed at the same time each night is key to sleeping like a baby.
Why Is It Important to Establish a Night Routine?
When you follow a set routine every night, you’re establishing a pattern that helps your mind recognize that it’s time to sleep.
This pattern cues the release of hormones that make you feel sleepy and helps your body rejuvenate itself during sleep.
Having a night routine also helps you fall asleep at the same time each night, which is just as important as getting sufficient sleep.
Studies have shown that having regular sleep patterns helps reduce your risk for cardiovascular diseases.
Having a healthy night routine isn’t just beneficial for adults either; setting a consistent sleep pattern with your baby helps them sleep throughout the night without interruptions. Eventually, they develop their circadian rhythm so that they can fall asleep by themselves.
How Do I Develop a Healthy Night Routine?
These tips will help you develop a night routine that regulates your bedtime and ensures that you consistently get a good night’s sleep.
Take a warm bath before bed
Research has shown that taking a warm bath 60-90 minutes before bed can help you sleep better.
After a bath, the evaporated water decreases your body temperature and signals your brain to release melatonin, which is a sleep hormone.
On top of helping you feel cleaner and more refreshed, bathing also enables you to unplug your mind from the day (since you’re not distracted by the TV or your phone) and allows you to ease into a more restful sleep.
Have a light snack one hour before bed
Some experts suggest that eating a light snack, especially those rich in carbohydrates, could help you sleep better.
As it turns out, low insulin levels negatively affect sleep. Eating a carbohydrate-rich snack before bed promotes insulin secretion and contributes to a healthy circadian rhythm.
Ideally, your snack should also have some proteins mixed in. Proteins provide an amino acid called tryptophan, which helps your body produce melatonin.
Avoid going to bed hungry as it may cause you stress and discomfort, making it harder to fall asleep. Hunger may also cause you to wake up earlier than intended or, in extreme cases, may even keep you awake.
Read a book before bed
Reading a book (paper, not digital) is an excellent habit to include in your night routine.
Reading helps unplug your mind from your day, reduces stress, and makes it easier for you to fall asleep.
One study found that just six minutes of reading could reduce your stress by up to 28%.
The best part is that it doesn’t matter whether you read fiction or nonfiction—as long as you’re lying still in a cool, dark environment, you’re allowing your body to power down and get ready for sleep.
Prepare your to-do list for tomorrow
If you find that you’re having trouble sleeping because you’re worried about your tasks for the next day, take about five to ten minutes to prepare your to-do list.
Randomly thinking of everything you need to do in your head is a recipe for stress. Instead, organize your tasks by writing them down and sorting them in order of priority.
Being organized helps mentally affirm that your day is over and clarifies which goals you need to focus on, helping you better manage that stress.
Prep your bedroom for a good night’s sleep
If you want quality sleep, make sure you have the right environment. Studies show that the best sleep environment is in a cool, quiet, and dark place.
Set the thermostat to a cool temperature, dim the lights, and pull the blackout curtains closed to keep light disruption at a minimum.
Having a quiet environment is also essential; if your room has outside noise beyond your control, a white noise machine may help drown it out.
I believe that gratitude is crucial to our overall health and wellbeing. Make it a habit to write down what you’re grateful for each day.
Studies have shown that gratitude doesn’t just strengthen your immune system and lower stress levels, but it also helps cultivate a positive mindset.
One of the biggest mistakes people often make when trying to go to bed is that they tell their minds to fall asleep.
Forcing your mind to do something is stressful to your body, which makes it harder for you to fall asleep. The key is to allow sleep to come to you by rephrasing the words you use to speak to yourself.
After working with thousands of clients who have insomnia, I’ve learned that sleep meditation is one of the most effective ways to aid falling into a deep, restful sleep.
If you’re interested in trying sleep meditation, I’ve prepared a free Deep Sleep meditation which you can find here. Many of my clients have come back and told me how much it’s helped improve their sleep!
What to Avoid In Your Night Routine
Cultivating these healthy habits can certainly help regulate your sleep and improve your sleep quality. However, a healthy night routine isn’t just about what you should do, it’s also about what you shouldn’t do.
Here are some activities you should avoid before bedtime. These activities disrupt your body functions, make you feel more alert, and may prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.
Reading on your Kindle or browsing any electronic devices while in bed exposes you to blue light, which blocks melatonin production and keeps you awake.
Stick to reading paper books in dim light for a healthier night routine.
You may have heard that exercise is good for sleep, but experts recommend no strenuous activity at least an hour before bedtime.
Intense workout sessions increase your heart rate and body temperature, which makes it harder to fall asleep and may even reduce your sleep duration.
Avoid heavy meals, sugary snacks, caffeine, and alcohol up to three hours before your bedtime.
Consuming these before bed may fire up your metabolism and make it difficult to fall asleep or sleep soundly.
Lying awake in bed
If you find yourself tossing and turning in bed for hours on end, it’s much better to move to another room and do something else instead.
You want to associate your room with relaxing activities and sleep only. Staying awake in bed will teach your body to resist sleep even when you’re lying down, ultimately prolonging the time you take to fall asleep.
Sleeping for too long
Pay attention to how much you sleep too. Research has shown that adults who sleep for less than six hours or more than eight hours a night could be more at risk of premature death.
Set your alarm to wake up in a timely manner so that you’ll avoid throwing off your internal clock, even if it’s on a long weekend.
Still Having Trouble Sleeping? Consider Hypnotherapy
If you’re still having trouble sleeping, you may be interested in trying sleep hypnosis. Sleep hypnosis is a powerful therapy method I’ve used to help thousands of my clients suffering from sleep problems.
Hypnotherapy works by directly addressing your subconscious mind and helping you release the stress and mental blocks that make it difficult for you to fall asleep.
After helping thousands of clients around the globe, I know how important sleep is to your overall quality of life. That’s why I’ve put together a specific program to help you achieve deep, unbroken sleep.
Using the latest techniques in hypnotherapy, I’ve designed my audio hypnosis course to guide you into a calm and relaxed state of mind so you can easily drift off into a restful sleep.
You’ll be able to fall asleep more easily at night without having unhealthy night routines like being glued to your screen or tossing and turning in bed.
The result is that you wake up each morning more rested and more energized during the day.
Click here to listen to an audio sample of the course.
Some of my clients who have tried this course swear by it, claiming that it has improved their night routine and allowed them to experience a deeper, more restful sleep. I cannot wait to hear about your experience.
Just as your morning routine can affect your health and productivity throughout your day, your night routine has a huge impact on your sleep.
Cultivating good sleep hygiene and combining it with sleep hypnosis will help you have consistent, high-quality sleep.
The result is you feeling energized, rejuvenated, and refreshed every day!