An awful night's sleep can leave you feeling rotten: fact. Insomnia has been found to make people feel 30% more anxious, and can have other side effects too including low mood and issues with concentration.
Speak to the experts, and they'll all say the same thing: half the battle is in your bedtime routine. If you can nail down a calming, repetitive routine that prepares you for a good night's sleep, it should come more naturally.
So with that in mind, what makes a healthy bedtime routine? We asked the experts what the most important component was for them when it comes to setting yourself up for a long, deep sleep. Read, and learn...
1. A regular bedtime
"The most important element when it comes to your bedtime routine is securing regulated hours. Put simply, this is going to bed at the same time each evening and waking up at the same time each morning. Our bodies love regulation, so it’s particularly important to wake up at the same time each day – arguably even more so than going to bed at the same time each night.
"Following a bad night’s sleep, many people move away from their usual sleep routine and tend to sleep in, in an attempt to claw back some hours of lost sleep or shake off fatigue. However, when you sleep in or move away from your regular sleep pattern, you are teaching your brain that it is not important to get one block of quality sleep at night, which can train your brain to move in to a different sleep pattern.
If you regularly sleep in, it can leave you feeling tired and unable to wake up when your alarm clock goes off. Therefore, even if you do wake up feeling groggy and are tempted to lie in following a bad night’s sleep, try and resist temptation as this increases the risk of it becoming your new routine."
- Expert Sleep Physiologist Stephanie Romiszewski
2. Keeping cool
"A good bedtime routine should be focused on dropping your heart rate and being relaxed, as well as lowering your core temperature so you feel cooler."
- Sleep Expert James Wilson, AKA The Sleep Geek
"The most important aspect of my bedtime routine is making sure I feel relaxed and calm before I drift off, so I do a quick yoga routine. Yoga is a wonderful tool to use before bed as it calms the nervous system, which can be a big help if you are feeling over-stimulated from the day.
I created the following mini routine especially for a Premiership footballer who was having problems sleeping after playing football in huge stadiums filled with noisy fans. The three positions within the routine are:
Legs up the wall pose
The routine only takes five minutes or so, and you don’t need any additional equipment."
- Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, Silentnight’s resident sleep expert
4. Ditching screens
"The most important aspect is to have a wind down period before bed. We cannot expect our body and mind to be in work mode on minute and sleep the next. Approximately an hour before bed, switch off all screens and technology - and anything work related."
- Dr Sue Peacock, consultant health psychologist
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