The Importance of Winding Down Before Bed

Sleep is vital to health but sometimes it can be hard to shut off the brain in order to wind down for bed. Studies show that winding down before bed, as opposed to working, significantly improves sleep quality and helps to avoid the vicious cycle that occurs from lack of sleep. As April is stress awareness month, it seems only fitting to discuss the various ways to de-stress and unwind before sleep, to ensure a quality rest.

Creating a routine is a great step towards winding down for bed, thanks to the rule of repetition. By doing the same thing every night before bed you are teaching your body to begin to recognise and understand when it is time for sleep. Eventually, you will have trained your body to anticipate sleep when you begin this routine, for example if you begin reading before bed, your body will see this as an indicator that sleep is on the horizon. You should also try and stick to a schedule where possible, as this will further reinforce the training of your body into understanding when it is time for sleep. Here we outline several things that could be added to your evening routine in order to work towards getting a quality night’s sleep.

Plan Ahead

Before you even begin your wind down routine, make sure you’re prepared for the next morning to stop the thoughts of tomorrow from lingering in your mind. Whether this means laying out your outfit for the next morning, preparing any food you may need or even making a to do list for the following day, taking these steps can greatly reduce any unnecessary before bed stress.

Hot Bath

Having a hot bath is an excellent first step in a bedtime routine; it raises your core temperature meaning that when you step out of the bath, the cooling down period begins to relax you and prepare you for sleep. If you intend on having a pre-bed bath, this should always be the first step in your wind down process, as having a bath too close to bedtime can actually have a negative impact on sleep due to being too hot. Having a bath also helps your muscles to relax, and if your body is relaxed, your brain should soon follow.

No Screen Time

Turning off devices before bed is one of the best ways to get a good night’s sleep as blue light has a whole host of negative effects if exposed pre-bed time. Not only does blue light stop melatonin production, meaning your body is tricked into believing it’s daytime, but if you’re using your phone in bed, you’re also exposing yourself to a distraction from relaxation.

Stress Free Zone

Although it can seem hard, avoiding stress at bed time is key. This means not paying bills, discussing or in fact doing work in the bedroom. If you bring these things into the bedroom you are far more likely to begin to associate the room with stress, which can have a negative impact on your sleep. If you’re struggling to forget your stresses or worries, try something to take your mind elsewhere, such as meditation or gentle stretching.

Create an Optimal Environment

To be able to completely unwind and prepare for bed, you need to be in the optimum environment for sleep, which happens to be a darkened, moderately temperature, quiet space. Knowing how to optimise your bedroom for sleep will mean that you reap the benefits of a wind down routine and a good night’s sleep.

There are plenty of different activities that you can include in a bedtime routine in order to help you de-stress and unwind. You can have free reign in terms of working out what works best for you, as long as the process is something that you personally find relaxing. As long as you stick to your routine, you should find that you’re more readily prepared for a more successful, and less uninterrupted sleep.

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