Habits are things we do on cue. For example, when I get the chills after staying in my sweaty workout clothes too long, I go take a hot shower. Feeling cold and shaky is the cue; taking a shower is the habit.
Sometimes it is a struggle to go to sleep. But often, it’s our own fault because we haven’t made sleep a habit, and we haven’t developed cues for it. What makes you want to go to sleep? When you feel tired? When it gets dark outside? When the clock strikes eleven?
Our cue to sleep should be when we feel tired. However, in this day and age, there are lots of things that mess with that cue. The blue light emitted from our phone, laptop, and TV screens cause our brains to think it’s daytime, and then we don’t feel tired. We have so many things to remember, that our brains swim with thoughts, and we are afraid to go to sleep, lest we forget anything.
What if we could eliminate the difficulties to falling asleep and create healthy cues? Well, then, let’s create an evening routine! There are five essential factors:
- Pick a bedtime. Make sure it works with your schedule. Ideally, it should be before 10:30 pm, so as to not disturb your sleep cycles.
- Back the clock up one hour from your bedtime. This is when you should start getting ready for bed. Take ten minutes and brush your teeth, remove your make up and contacts (if you wear any), and put on a pair of comfy pajamas.
- Also, an hour before you go to sleep, activate the blue light filter on your phone and laptop. There are several apps available. Or invest in a pair of blue light blocker glasses – perfect for watching TV.
- Take ten minutes and plan for tomorrow. Write down all the things you need to do and the times you need to do them. You won’t feel the need to remember anything during the night, and you will know exactly what you need to do in the morning.
- Now, spend the rest of your hour before bed doing whatever relaxes you. It could be watching a movie or show, taking a shower, sipping a cup of tea, relaxing in a bath, lighting a few candles, or reading a book. Figure out what makes you feel relaxed and at ease, and do that every single night.
Create your own evening routine, and follow it! You will feel relaxed and ready for sleep when your bedtime arrives.