Nighttime Routines for Mental Wellness
As a child, you probably had a routine of things to do before bed. You'd put on some soft footie-pajamas, brush your teeth with superhero toothpaste, and have some Dr. Suess read to you – all while begging to stay up for five more minutes.
Fast-forward and no one is nagging you to go to bed, but your once easy sleep routine might have developed into poor sleeping habits. Establishing a bedtime routine can have a dramatic effect on your sleep quality and your mental health. Read on for tips on how a nighttime routine can improve your mental wellness.
Have the Right Bedding
Make sure your bed is right for you and your needs. What kind of pillow do you prefer? What temperature should your bedroom be? Having poor bedding can ruin even the best bedtime routine.
Start by deciding what fabric your sheets need to be. Quality sheets are essential for a good night of sleep, as inexpensive bedding can irritate your skin and prevent you from falling into a deeper sleep. On top of that, temperature-regulating bamboo sheets can keep you cool in the summer while staying cozy in the winter.
Use Your Bedroom for Sleeping
This step starts outside your nighttime routines. Focus your bedroom space around bedtime. If you're using your bedroom to work from home or watch TV, your brain will associate that space with those activities. Once you're up and dressed in the morning, try not to do other things in your room until it's time to sleep. That way, when you walk in, your brain is on track and ready for sleep.
Mental Health Check-in
Take some time to gauge how you're feeling at the end of the day. You can do this through journaling, meditation, or simply reviewing the day. Did you meet your goals? Have you had any persistent thoughts or feelings? Keeping track of your mental state can help you to notice trends.
In some cases, getting depression or anxiety treatment can improve sleep quality, as these disorders often coincide with insomnia. If you start to see some decline in your mental health, addressing those issues can help a lot.
Have a Bedtime
Maintaining a regular sleep schedule is a vital part of good sleep hygiene. Going to bed at a consistent time benefits your mental health because it improves the quality of your sleep and establishes your circadian rhythm. If your brain doesn't know when to anticipate sleep, it can poorly affect how quickly you fall asleep. By setting a specific bedtime and sticking to it, even on the weekends, your body can take full advantage of a good night's sleep.
Blue Lights Be Gone
Everyone is talking about the effects of blue light recently, and rightfully so. The blue light your phone and other screens emit tricks your brain's circadian rhythm and keep you awake longer.
Staying off social media benefits your mental health anyway, so don't touch your phone or TV for two hours before bed. Instead, try relaxing activities like reading a book or taking a bath. You'll have reduced eye strain, lowered anxiety, and improved sleep quality.
Wear Breathable Pajamas
In the morning, getting dressed can direct your mind to the activities you're doing that day. At nighttime, putting on pajamas (even if you won't wear them to sleep!) can help you to get into a sleeping mood.
This transition can help you unwind from the day's activity and fall asleep easier. Wearing comfortable bamboo sleepwear can make a big difference in how you sleep. The soft and lightweight fabric can help keep you cool and wick away moisture.
Stretch It Out
Stretching before bed has many benefits. While you're improving your sleep quality, you're also improving your flexibility and lowering the risk of arthritis and heart disease. Your mental health will also thank you, as stretching activities like yoga can improve your mood. Wind down with some mindful moving to relieve the stress of the day and welcome in the good vibes.
Tuck Yourself In