Cultivating Your Sleep Routine
You’ve got a morning routine. So why don’t you have a sleep routine?
Even if you don’t think you have a morning routine, chances are you probably do. In the morning, our minds, fresh from dreamland, immediately seek to put things in order. In contrast, after a long day at work, all our minds wish to do is unbutton their brain-pants and kick up their brain-legs—meaning, they just want to relax and let loose.
The not-so-good part? Most of us “relax” in ways that actually light up our brain activity. Binge watching that new true crime documentary until 1 a.m.? Bad call. Scrolling through your social media feed or emails? Silly! Pounding sugary snacks because you didn’t have enough time to eat that day? Please, no. By letting our brains check out in this distracted, harmful way, we set our sleeping selves up for failure.
Here’s the kicker—it’s all connected. A poor sleep routine means poor sleep. And poor sleep means poor performance throughout your day.
It’s pretty painless to make a few beneficial changes that will help you drift off into dreamland just a little bit easier. Just like how that first cup of coffee invigorates you, something as simple as deep breathing for three minutes before bed can make a world of a difference in the quality and length of your sleep. Now, because we’re nice, here’s a couple of our best pointers for making the most out of your evening, and therefore your sleep.
1 - Stretch it out.
Ever wake up with a crick in your neck? Could be your pillow, sure. Or, it could be the fact that you’re slumped over a desk all day. Most of us use the same muscles in the same way every day. This can lead to soreness, stiffness, and discomfort that you seem to feel just as you’re trying to turn in for the night. Gently stretching out your body before bed helps you not only fall asleep, but stay asleep.1 And boy, do we love a good child’s pose stretch.
2 - Do not be disturbed.
Yes, yes, we both know how easy it is to pick up your phone and how hard it is to put it down. During the day, sure! Scroll to your heart’s content. But at least 30 minutes before you tuck yourself in, put your phone in a safe place and tell it you will see it tomorrow.
The blue light emitted from your phone does a couple of dicey things: it stimulates daylight, messing with your circadian rhythm; it suppresses melatonin, your body’s natural control over your sleep cycle; and it prevents you from achieving REM sleep, which your body needs in order to fully rest and recover. 2 (BTW, our Blue Light Evening Glasses can help).
3 - Get your mind right.
Racing thoughts, anyone? You know the drill – as soon as your head hits the pillow, it seems as though every single thing you’d thought you’d forgotten from your day comes flooding back in, wearing tap shoes and doing the tango behind your forehead. Even though your body has left the workplace, your brain hasn’t. Look, we promise you can water your plants and compose that email in the morning. Quiet your nagging thoughts by writing them down just before bed, along with your plan for the next day and anything that needs to be accomplished. If you and your brain feel more prepared for the day ahead, you commit yourself to a dreamy, restful sleep that evening.
4 - Welcome the darkness.
Take this as the sign you’ve been looking for to get those blackout curtains. Similar to the blue light emitted by your phone, any light in your bedroom impedes your body’s ability to produce melatonin, which will prevent you from falling asleep and makes it a chore to wake yourself the next morning.3 Even a seconds-long exposure to light can affect your sleep.
So get your room as dark as possible with good shades (or check out our Ultimate Sleep Mask), and by covering any lights from electronics. Also make sure you don’t need to turn on bright lights to go to the bathroom or get a drink by using a small night light in the bathroom and having a water bottle next to you.
5 - Ditch the old boxers.
Sleeping is special. Dress like it. By stepping into clothes that are reserved for sleep and staying comfortable under the covers, you help your body recognize that it’s time to wind down. Say goodbye to the ratty boxers, old t-shirts, gym shorts, and flannels. Check out our ultra soft and breathable modal sleepwear and our bamboo cooling sleepwear for the sleep you’ve only dreamt about.
Here at Bedfellow we’re on mission to help people get better sleep. Let’s start with a better sleep routine tonight.