Do you feel like you spend half of the night tossing and turning?
Is your partner’s loud snoring making it impossible to sleep?
Are you concerned that you might have some sort of sleep disorder, like insomnia or anxiety issues that keep you up at night?
If so, you’re certainly not alone. Studies show that nearly 70% of Americans struggle with both falling and staying asleep. Sleep deprivation doesn’t just leave you tired.
It can also cause hunger spikes, lower your immunity levels, increase your blood pressure levels, and even put you at a greater risk for diabetes.
What can you do to get your sleeping routine back on track?
You need to create a bedtime routine that’s effective at helping you to fall and stay asleep. Read on to learn more about why it matters, and how to create a bedtime routine that’s right for you.
Why a Bedtime Routine for Adults Matters
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If you’re a parent, you’ve likely read countless articles about the importance of putting your children to bed on time.
Perhaps you even have memories of your own childhood bedtime routine.
Even if you’ve aged out of being read to and tucked into bed every evening, developing your own bedtime routine for adults is absolutely essential to both your physical and mental health.
Read on to find out.
The Physical Toll of Lack of Sleep
First of all, let’s discuss the physical consequences of not getting enough sleep.
Believe it or not, a lack of sleep actually increases your risk for serious heart problems, including but not limited to heart attacks, heart disease, and even an irregular heartbeat.
This is because, when you’re not getting enough sleep, the C-reactive proteins in your body go into overdrive. These are the proteins associated with stress and an increase in inflammation.
So, those with high levels of CRP in their bodies are at a greater risk for heart disease.
Plus, if you’re not adhering to a bedtime routine to help you sleep more, your body’s insulin resistance will start to go down. This means that, in addition to getting heart problems, you’ll also increase your likeliness of being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
You may even notice that a chronic lack of sleep actually impacts the way you look. Sure, a couple of wild nights out may give you puffy eyes and dark circles.
But if you’re consistently failing to get enough sleep, you can expect to see your skin lose its glow, fine lines and wrinkles to appear more quickly, and your skin to lose its elasticity.
This is because your body actually has to pump out more of cortisol, a hormone that destroys collagen levels (what keeps your skin looking young and healthy) in your body.
The Mental Consequences
Of course, in addition to the physical consequences of not having a nighttime routine, you can also expect to deal with emotional and psychological ones.
For example, people who struggle with insomnia and other sleep disorders are two times more likely to be diagnosed with depression.
Not getting enough sleep also interferes with your body’s ability to cognitively process information. You won’t be as able to make the “right” choices as you were in the past. You may also note that you struggle with remembering things, keeping your focus and concentration levels up, and even basic problem-solving skills.
This can cause you to become incredibly stressed out, quick to anger, and can even impact your relationships and your work performance.
And speaking of your relationships…
The lack of a bedtime routine to help you fall and stay asleep also wrecks havoc on your sex life. Your entire libido will be lower, and both men and women may struggle with performance issues.
For men, not getting enough sleep can actually cause your body to produce lower levels of testosterone than average.
A Nighttime Routine Trains your Body
So, what are the benefits of a sleeping routine for adults?
The main reason to start one is because it helps you to train your body to remember when it’s time to go to bed and wake up every day. This means that, if you’re able to stick with the routine for a long time, you’ll soon be able to fall asleep much more easily than in the past.
When you begin your routine, you’ll send signals to your body and mind that it’s time to start shutting things down for the day.
This means that you’ll be able to wake up with much greater ease in the morning. The overall quality of your sleep will also improve, and you’ll be much less likely to wake up in the middle of the night.
Now that you know why nighttime routines matter and what not having one can do to your mind and body, let’s take a look at the things you should take into consideration in order to create the ideal bedtime routine.
Creating a Bedtime Routine
There are lots of different things that you need to start thinking about when you’re ready to create a bedtime routine that works for you.
Remember that not all of these ideas will be a good fit for you — and you may need to do more trial and error than you’d like.
However, the ideas listed here have certainly worked for others. Read on to determine which ones you’d like to try out for yourself.
Rethink your Day
Ah, three in the afternoon, the time when you’re ready to reach for your mid-day pick-me-up cup of coffee.
Stop right there.
Remember that any caffeine you drink actually stays in your system for up to six hours. So, if you’re trying to call it an early night, you should aim to cut off any coffee or caffeine after about 2:30 PM.
Reach for decaf instead — or better yet, a bottle of water to help you to get yourself hydrated.
If you’re dehydrated, your body often interprets this as being tired. So, make sure you’re doing everything you can to get those eight glasses of water a day.
Additionally, try to hit the gym before work, not afterward.
First of all, this boosts your metabolism and causes you to burn more calories for the rest of the day.
But that rush of “feel-good” endorphins that you get after a workout? They can also keep you up at night.
Ditch the Electronics
We know that you love being lulled to sleep by your favorite television shows.
Maybe you just scroll through Instagram until you fall asleep.
But keeping screens in your bed doesn’t just make it harder to fall asleep. It also creates what’s known as “blue light.”
This means that, even when electronic screens are shut or if you’ve fallen asleep with them on, they’re still messing with your sleep cycle. Sometimes, light sources as small as the power buttons on electronics make it difficult for you to get into the right sleeping pattern.
This is why sometimes even when you get a full eight hours of sleep, you still feel exhausted when you wake up in the morning. Consider placing light-blocking stickers over these power buttons and light sources.
If you live near a busy street, give a white noise machine or sleeping apps a try. This will block out sounds like car horns, people walking by, or pretty much anything else.
To fully block out light in your bedroom, try investing in an eye mask. Also, take a look at the curtains in your bedroom, and consider switching to blinds instead.
Blinds block out much more light than curtains do.
A darker room is easier to sleep in.
Ready to Create your own Bedtime Routine?
We hope this post has helped you to better understand not only the importance of creating a bedtime routine but also how to find the sleeping solutions that work for you.
Remember to ditch the electronics and the caffeine, and look for hidden sources of light in your bedroom.
Of course, making the perfect sleeping routine is only a small part of what will make it easier for you to fall and stay asleep each night.
You’ll also need to learn more about the best sleeping positions, find the right mattress for you, and understand about potential sleep disorders you may have.
That’s where we can help.
Be sure to check out our website and blog for some of the best sleeping tips anywhere on the web.