One of the most vital parts of a good morning is having an established sleep routine that works for you. Attaining a healthy sleep routine is beneficial for all age groups and those benefits span across mental and physical health, leading to an overall improved quality of life.
Health.gov, the website of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, recommends at least 7 or more hours of good-quality sleep per night. However, many people average far less. We figure a few hours of rest will suffice as we try to fit as much as possible into every waking hour, when one of the best ways to increase cognitive function and productivity is putting a bigger emphasis on sleep.
According to the Sleep Foundation, a good night’s sleep promotes attention and concentration. It also supports memory, problem-solving, emotional processing and judgment.
Sounds easy right? But falling asleep, staying asleep and getting quality sleep is a challenge for many adults -- and that’s where sleep routines can help. Sleep routines are simple lifestyle changes that can help you mind and body relax. Keep reading to learn how small steps can make big differences.
What exactly is a sleep routine?
Sleep routines are a set of activities you perform before bed each night, usually in the 30 to 60 minutes before your set bedtime. The routines can vary from each individual but often include calming activities like taking a warm bath, reading, journaling, or meditation. It is a way to release the stressors from the day and put both your mind and body at ease.
Establishing a sleep routine that works for you is essential and can improve the quality and length of sleep and how you start the next day.
Little steps, big effects
Sleeping and sleeping well are not one and the same. Getting a good night's sleep is just as essential as maintaining long-term healthy eating and physical activity habits. It plays a critical role in reducing late-night stress and anxiety — the kind of worrisome thoughts that keep you up at night and can develop into insomnia if left unchecked.
Like any other routine, sleep routines establish habits that help our brains recognize when it's time to sleep, enabling us to fall asleep faster and wake up less frequently during the night.
The News in Health Newsletter published by the National Institutes of Health says that a comfortable sleep environment, limiting electronics before bed, regular exercise and relaxation activities go a long way towards eliminating minor sleep problems. And keeping a regular sleep schedule—even on weekends—maintains your body’s own internal clock, so you can fall asleep and wake up refreshed.
Regular sleep routines can also profoundly positively impact other essential health areas including improved memory, mental health, and attention throughout the day.
However, to improve your nighttime routine, you have to evaluate your daily habits. Here are some daytime habits that can disrupt your quality of sleep.
Common sleep disruptors:
- Random sleep schedules
- Bright, Artificial and Blue Lights
- Irregular daytime napping
- Hot bedrooms
- Caffeine after 3 pm
- Nighttime snacking
- Poor Diet choices
- Low blood sugar
By reducing or eliminating unhealthy habits and performing healthy bedtime activities in the same order every night, your brain comes to see those activities as a precursor to sleep and looks forward to it.
What worked for me and how to get started
Sleep is of the utmost importance to me. I only have one cup of coffee per day for good practice and even gave up alcohol six months ago to make sure my sleep is not interrupted. Truth be told, though, many factors affect sleep, so I make sure to keep consistent with my sleep routine each night to have the most restful sleep possible.
- I shower before bed, brush my teeth, and take kombucha + sleep before starting the rest of my evening routine.
- I turn off screens 90 minutes before bed
- I read for 20 minutes
- I meditate for 10 minutes
- I listen to ocean sounds for about 30 minutes, but I'm usually asleep by the time I hear the first wave
- I start this routine about 9 pm and am asleep by 10:45-11 pm
Humans are naturally creatures of habit and routine, but changing behavior or pattern is not achievable overnight. It will likely take some time to "unlearn" a behavior or routine. For me, taking the Zenwise Kombucha + Sleep has been the perfect addition to help support my sleep routine. It's a great holistic approach that promotes digestive health and soothing relaxation with no added melatonin—providing me the support I need to maintain gut health, overall immune health, and a goodnight's sleep.
Though my routine may not be ideal for everyone, figuring out what works best for you will be highly beneficial. Start small and find what works for you. Are you ready to dream up your perfect sleep routine?
Written by: Vanessa Rissetto