It's easier said than done: go to bed early and get a good night's sleep. If you suffer from occasional or chronic insomnia, then you'll want to keep reading. Today we're sharing ten steps to achieving the ultimate calming bedtime routine.
1. Turn the lights down ahead of time.
Your body automatically shifts into sleep mode when you're surrounded by darkness, but all the bright lights/TVs/phones/tablets that surround us these days work to sabotage that natural process that would otherwise ease us into dreamland. But we can mimic this progression into darkness by lowering the lights an hour or two before bedtime. And if you're planning to read before bed, make sure you use a task lamp that it just bright enough to read comfortably. Be sure not to use overhead lighting... the rest of the room should be dim (plus you don't want to have to get up to turn off the lights!). Check out 9 other before-bed tips over at Refinery 29.
2. Create a cozy atmosphere.
The first step is done before you even go to bed - add soft bedding and a great pillow to make sure that you're as comfortable as possible. And be sure to customize your bedding to your own preferences... if you're a hot sleeper, try a breathable cotton blanket instead of a heavy duvet. Check out some additional ways to set up your bedroom for a great night's sleep here.
3. Use warm water when you're washing up.
There's nothing like splashing ice cold water on your face to wake up - so you want to make sure to avoid this at bedtime. Instead, use warm water to wash your face and even to brush your teeth.
4. Keep a note pad handy for to-do's.
Do you lay in bed thinking about all the things you have to do tomorrow? Or maybe you work in a creative field and you often come up with ideas when you're laying in bed? Place a pad of paper next to your bed so you can write these thoughts down as you think of them, instead of trying to remember them for tomorrow. Find out how to add pretty scrapbook paper to plain old notebooks using this tutorial.
5. Set a bedtime reminder.
The iPhone has a "bedtime" setting in the Clock app which you can set to remind you to go to bed. I'm usually already in bed when mine chirps, but it's a good reminder to put my book down and drift off to sleep.
6. Switch to Night Shift.
If you must look at your phone, be sure have it automatically switch to a warmer screen tone after 9pm (this is called “Night Shift” on the iPhone, and you can find it in the display and brightness settings).
7. Limit your internet use.
This day and age it's seemingly impossible to avoid using phones or tablets completely, but at least limit your use to reading books or other low key internet activities. Things like online shopping or Pinterest browsing will kick your brain into overdrive, which is exactly the opposite of what you want at this time of day. And definitely no email... I have a strict no email in bed policy. But here's a good argument to banish your phone from the bedroom altogether.
8. Turn on a white noise machine.
This is one of the best purchases I've made for my bedroom. The goal is simply to block out street noise and other distractions... and most machines allow you to choose which type of noise you prefer.
9. Wear a heated eye mask.
You can make your own DIY aromatherapy eye pillow, or buy one online or at any store that sells wellness products. There's something about the warmth and darkness combined that works wonders for me. I can't remember the last time I actually took mine off (which means it always falls off while I'm asleep... yay!).
10. Empty your mind.
Whether you practice mindfulness or simply listen to a calming guided meditation (my favorite technique), you're bound to fall asleep once you've successfully eliminated unnecessary thoughts from your mind. Try this awesome method from Curbly associate editor M.E. Russell.
Do you have other tips and tricks for creating a calming bedtime routine? Share your ideas in the comments section below!