10 Bedtime Rituals that Make Mornings Hyggelig
For a long time, my evening routine consisted of watching Netflix followed by me lying in bed, scrolling through Instagram on my phone, reading emails and watching cute animal videos. This was obviously not healthy. Blue light limits the production of melatonin, and it makes falling asleep more difficult. I would wake up super groggy and annoyed the next morning. It became obvious that my screen time was the main factor standing between me and a good night sleep. I needed to make intentional changes and replace these habits of indulging in mindless technology before bed with ones that promote better sleep.
We're 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 sees those activities as a precursor to sleep. It reduces late-night stress and anxiety and helps you get away from any worrisome thoughts that keep you up at night.
We all need adequate sleep to function properly and stay healthy. The average adult requires 7–9 hours of sleep per night. Lack of quality sleep can lead to a bunch of health issues that include type 2 diabetes, poor mental health, heart disease, high blood pressure, and more. Getting in those z’s is important! So we've rounded up some ideas to create a nighttime routine that’ll get you in the snoozin’ mindset.
But first, let’s chat about things to avoid before bedtime.
Some things which can interfere with your sleep that should be avoided are - 1) Having caffeine in the evening. For most people, caffeine should be avoided for 4-6 hours before bedtime, as this is how long it takes the body to metabolize half of your (caffeine) consumption. If you are sensitive to the stimulant, you might consider cutting it out earlier. 2) Not leaving enough time between dinner and going to bed. Usually, it’s advised that you wait for about 2-3 hours before going to bed once you have had your dinner. This provides ample time for digestion and the contents in your stomach to move into the small intestine – and reduces the likelihood of various digestive problem symptoms. 3) Avoid strenuous exercise before bed. Traditionally, experts have recommended not exercising at night as part of good sleep hygiene. Recent studies suggests that you can exercise in the evening as long as you avoid vigorous activity at least 90 minutes before sleep. This time allows the heart rate to slow down and body temperature to return to normal.
Now let’s develop a bedtime routine that you’ll love.
Your bedtime routine should give you enough time to unwind without feeling rushed. The goal is to build consistency, which will train your body for sleep and encourage productivity the next day. You don’t have to do everything when you start your routine. Choose whatever fits with your lifestyle and get started! Once you’ve relaxed and are ready for bed, climb onto your comfy mattress with your favorite pillow and doze off into dreamland.
Every great day starts with a great night, so here are some of the best evening self-tested ideas to clear your thoughts and set your mind for the upcoming day before going to bed: Ready to dream up your ideal bedtime routine? Let’s get started!
Ease into your bedtime routine with an unwinding process that tells your body and brain that you’re preparing for sleep. I like to take a hot shower or a bath, indulge in some skin care and dim the lights or light a candle as I ease my body into relaxation.
Have a warm drink
A cup of hot chamomile tea, or warm milk can sometimes be just the trick to put us in the mood for a cozy, toasty slumber. Just remember to avoid caffeine, and drink in moderation. I always find that a hot cup of tea helps to ease any physical tension I feel. The heat is soothing and I feel much more comforted. Herbal teas have also been proven to contain certain extracts that promote better sleep. For example, peppermint tea is great for helping with digestive issues you may experience due to stress, rosehip tea contains certain compounds which have anti-inflammatory properties and chamomile tea is known for its calming effects.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends you create a hygiene ritual that sends a psychological signal that you are getting ready for bed. This can include brushing your teeth, flossing, washing your face, combing your hair.
While you’re in the bathroom… pamper yourself with your favorite skincare products, like a calming face mask or rejuvenating, anti-aging serum. Let the magic ingredients do all the work for you as you sleep, restoring your skin and leaving you refreshed and ready for whatever tomorrow brings. And if you’re not sure where to start when it comes to skincare — or you’re just looking for something more effective than your current products — check out Soothe Your Soul.
Wear comfy clothes
ABC (always be comfy) is a top priority for me in all aspects of my life. So, when it comes to pj’s, I make sure the clothes I’m wearing to bed are soft and breathable. Invest in nice comfy pajamas so you can drift off without fuss. When you slip into something comfortable, it can help get you extra excited for bedtime. Put on your softest pajamas, grab your favorite robe, or treat yourself to a new pair of insanely cozy slippers — because you deserve it!
Power down your gadgets and step away from the screens. Hard as it may be, putting your phone down and turning off your TV can do wonders for calming your mind as you turn away from the noise and check in with yourself. Also, the blue light from your phone mimics the brightness of the sun. This reduces hormones like melatonin — which help you relax and get deep sleep. Ideally, you should avoid all screens at least 2 hours prior to bedtime. Disconnecting from work is also important once you get home, and especially right before bed. It’s good to let your mind recharge, spend time doing something you enjoy, and feel ready to tackle the next day.
Reflect on your day
Help your mind find rest and detachment from daily life. Try bedtime journalling. Bedtime journalling is a wonderful instrument for you to reflect on the day. Taking some time to reflect and journal is a great way to gain perspective, de-stress and organize your thoughts. Consider what worked and didn’t work today. This helps you appreciate your accomplishments and shape a better tomorrow. Start by acknowledging one or two things you wish had gone better and end your reflection by thinking of a few wins you had. Even if you had a bad day, try to focus more on the positive aspects of the day rather than the negative ones. Write lingering thoughts or reflections in your journal. This keeps you from going to bed with a head full of worries.
I try to get 30 minutes of reading in before bed each day. It helps to prep my body for sleep since I’m reading instead of getting more screen time. I’m currently reading Wintering, by Katherine May.
Listen to calming music & sounds
Tune in and zone out. Escape into a place of peace and calm by listening to your favorite songs or sounds. Pick a playlist with soft, orchestral music, download a meditation app, or simply get lost in the sounds of rhythmic rain or a crackling fire. You'll want to choose music or sounds that relax you and don’t give you strong emotional responses.
I try to meditate at least three times per week. I either listen to some meditation music, or I’ll do some guided meditation.
Sometimes, the guided meditations include a few minutes of deep breathing. It can leave you feeling refreshed and lighter, resulting in better sleep. Deep breathing reduces stress, anxiety, depression, and it also improves sleep. One of the best breathing techniques to add to your relaxing bedtime routine is the 4–7–8 method. Basically, you breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold it for 7 seconds, and breathe out of your mouth through pursed lips for 8 seconds.
Express your gratitude
Scientists have found that people who feel grateful are usually happier. Surrounding yourself in a warm glow of calming thoughts before bed will help calm your brain and help it to drift off. So, snuggle up under your comforter, and think soothing thoughts.
Here’s how to get started. Lay down, relax, and spend a few minutes to recall the day. Think about the little things that happened to you – maybe something that made you feel proud, something you did to help someone else, or congratulate yourself for making it through the day. Take a quiet moment to reflect and celebrate all your victories, no matter how small they may seem. End your day with a bunch of positivity. No matter how the day was, no matter how bad you think it went, always find something good to be grateful for.
Making expressing gratitude a part of your routine can help you lead a healthy and happy life. The more you make an effort to notice the things that you feel thankful for, the more you prime yourself to just naturally feel grateful instead of having to work at it. Give it a try.
Keep the end goal in mind
Getting better sleep improves your overall health and wellbeing - so make it a goal. It’s important to have a consistent nighttime routine in which you allow yourself at least an hour before bedtime to begin winding down. The first few nights may be difficult but stay determined. Your routine can be as extensive or as compact as you want. Create a bedtime routine that you find enjoyable that helps you unwind after a long day and you'll have a good night’s rest and wake up feeling recharge. Have fun getting ready for bed and sweet dreams!