Written by Danielle Pacheco
One-third of Americans don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis, according to the CDC. If you’re one of them, creating a bedtime routine is one of the easiest steps you can take to enjoy better sleep. Bedtime routines are a simple lifestyle change that can help your mind and body relax before bed.
What Is a Bedtime Routine?
A bedtime routine is a set of activities you perform in the same order, every night, in the 30 to 60 minutes before you go to bed. Bedtime routines can vary, but often include calming activities like taking a warm bath, reading, journaling, or meditation.
Why Are Bedtime Routines Important?
Humans are creatures of habit. Like any other routine, bedtime routines establish habits that help our brains recognize when it’s time to sleep. By performing the same activities in the same order every night, your brain comes to see those activities as a precursor to sleep.
Bedtime routines also play an important role in reducing late-night stress and anxiety — the kind of worrisome thoughts that keep you up at night. Anxious thoughts and rumination Trusted SourceNational Library of Medicine, Biotech InformationThe National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information.pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov activate your mind and sympathetic nervous system. Left unchecked, these thoughts can intensify and develop into insomnia. By following a bedtime routine, you can keep your mind focused on other tasks and encourage yourself to relax instead.
The importance of bedtime routines stems back as far as childhood. All on its own, a consistent bedtime routine has shown to relieve cranky infants and their parents, helping children fall asleep fasterand wake up less frequently during the night.