An Intentional Nighttime Routine
With Fall right around the corner, many of us are enjoying better sleep thanks to cooler nights. However, those of us who have ever suffered from insomnia know that even the most optimal conditions don’t always promote refreshing and restorative sleep.
As a former insomniac, I spent many restless nights anxiously watching the clock and feeling downright hopeless. My insomnia took a toll on my energy, my mood and my ability to function throughout the day. To make matters worse, my system was so run down that I frequently caught colds or felt as though I was fighting something off.
Earlier this year, I wrote to about my intentional morning routine and about how focusing just a little bit of time and energy on my personal goals each morning sets my day up for success. Now, I’m realizing that it may be of greater importance to share my intentional nighttime routine with you.
Poor sleep is quite common for many adults. Currently, 60 million Americans are suffering from chronic insomnia. Much of my time as a coach is dedicated to helping clients to optimize their nighttime routine because it is such a common issue.
While it is true that emotional issues such as stress, anxiety and depression cause half of all insomnia cases, our daytime habits, sleep routine and physical health also play a major role. Drinking too much caffeine throughout the day or too much alcohol before bedtime can be problematic. An irregular sleep schedule, a sugary diet and a heavy meal before bedtime can also disrupt sleep. Exercise can even trigger insomnia; not getting enough exercise throughout the day or exercising right before bed can keep us tossing and turning at night.
While treating underlying physical and mental issues is an important first step, it may not be enough to cure insomnia. I recommend that my clients also take a hard look at their daily habits and create an intentional nighttime routine as a means for improving sleep quality.
Here are just a few of the tips and tricks that have helped me over the years to enjoy more restful sleep:
-Stick to a regular sleep schedule. Getting up and going to bed at the same time each day, even on the weekends, has helped me fall into a regular sleep rhythm.
-Avoid screen time at least an hour before bed. The blue light that is emitted from our devices disrupts melatonin production and combats sleepiness. I recommend listening to music or reading a book instead.
-Make sure the bedroom is dark, quiet and cool. I have a hard time falling asleep when our bedroom is hot or noisy from the traffic outside. I recommend experimenting with fans, noise machines, cooling mattress toppers, earplugs, or all the above!
-Avoid stimulating or stressful activities before bedtime. Nighttime is not the time to finish up work-related projects or initiate dramatic conversations with our loved ones. Postpone these activities until morning.
-When in doubt, count sheep. A busy brain can keep us awake at night. I have also noticed that the more trouble I have falling asleep, the more it begins to invade my thoughts. Now, instead of lamenting the fact that I’m not able to fall asleep, I find that reciting a mantra, counting breaths or listening to a guided meditation helps to relax my overactive mind and eventually lulls me to sleep.
I hope you found these tips and tricks to be helpful for getting more restful sleep. If you’re still needing help, please feel free to reach out to me for a complimentary coaching session. I’m here to support you!