Can a bedtime routine help adults with their sleep? Absolutely it can! Sleep is the single most important part of daily life. It is essential for the body and its ability to repair. If you are not getting enough sleep, then your health can and will suffer as a result.


If you have noticed your sleep has been impacted through COVID, you are not alone. The stresses of 2020 have impacted all of us in a variety of ways. One of the most common ways that the stresses of the year have presented themselves is through a lack of sleep.


When we were young, we had a bedtime routine, we just didn’t realise it. Often we would have a bath, a warm drink and then get read to in bed. As we get older, this routine falls by the wayside as we are left to our own devices. If you are someone who has been impacted by a lack of sleep recently, then the creation of an adults bedtime routine should help.



How can a bedtime routine help sleep?


There are a number of reasons that the repetitive nature of a bedtime routine can help improve sleep quality:

  • It slows your mind down and helps you decompress.
  • By repeating a regular pattern, you are training your body and mind to get prepared for bed and will start to do so automatically.
  • It can reduce overstimulating activities that are detrimental to effective sleep.
  • It gets you away from screens and allows your body to adjust to the end of the day.



How long should a bedtime routine be?


It is up to you to decide how long your routine will be. You should always base the length of time around how long it takes you to relax at the end of any day.


Your bedtime routine should always work back from the length of time you are planning on sleeping for.


I.e. if you need to be asleep by 10:00pm, then you need to work back from then.


You should never plan to start your routine from the minute you actually need to be asleep.


Hint: For the best results and the most effective routine, you should always start your bedtime routine 30-45 mins before you are planning on going to sleep.


This will allow you to avoid feeling rushed throughout the process.



What to do in your bedtime routine


The key to success with finding an effective bedtime routine lies in your ability to find a combination of things that work for you. We are all different and as a result we will have different things that help us succeed.


There should always be a few bare minimums that you should be looking to incorporate into an effective bedtime routine.

  • Making sure that it is a quiet environment.
  • Ensure that the lights are down.
  • Make sure there are no loud noises or distractions.


On-top of this, you should look to incorporate some (or all) of the below in to your bedtime routine to allow for a great sleep.



Switch off the electronics


We all have them; they are incredibly addictive but they are doing us no good. From the light they emit through to the stimulation they are giving, they are exactly the opposite of what is needed before bed.


Turn them off at least 60 minutes before you plan on going to sleep.



Pick up a book


A great way to decompress is through reading. It allows you to forget about the day and immerse yourself in something else. 30 minutes of reading in a low light room before bed will ensure that you are in a relaxed state to go to sleep.


Just make sure that it is not an absolute page-turner otherwise you might be up later than expected!



Write down your thoughts and leave them on the paper


If you are someone who lies in bed thinking about everything that needs to be done tomorrow, then this is a great idea for you. Simply writing down everything that is filling your brain will allow you to declutter and switch off a bit easier. As adults looking for a bedtime routine, we also have to navigate the fact that we have a lot more running through our minds that we ever have before. If you are able to get your thoughts down on to paper, then it can dramatically help with the ability to fall asleep faster.



Have a relaxing drink


Whilst it should always be advised to stay away from caffeine, alcohol and sugary drinks before bed, you can definitely have some other options.


A herbal tea or a relaxation drink can be a great way for the muscles to start to relax and allow your brain to switch off.


Combine this with a bit of reading and your eyes will be closing before you can jump in to bed.



Bring your temperature down


Temperature is an often-overlooked factor in a good night’s sleep. Not only is it important to have the right bedroom temperature, but also the right body temperature.


A good way to bring the body temperature down before bed is to have a shower and finish off with a burst of cold water. Whilst this may seem counterintuitive, it is actually helping your body to get ready for its optimal sleeping temperature.


If this doesn’t sound overly enjoyable, then you should always shower 60 minutes before sleep to allow for your body to cool off (perhaps use this as the start of your routine).


You should also look to have a window open or a fan on throughout the night to help maintain a balanced temperature as you sleep.



Turn the tv off and have a chat


Being in front of the tv can definitely help with relaxing, but it is another screen that is providing a level of stimulation that can impact sleep. With the amount of streaming services around and the ability to continually watch tv without ad breaks, it is also very easy to watch another episode.


If you can switch off the tv before you are planning on going to bed, then you will give yourself a great chance of success.


Plus is opens up the chance to have a chat to others in the house!


The bedtime routine for adults looks like this…


If you were to combine all of the above ideas you would have an incredibly effective bedtime routine that would look like this:

  • 60 minutes before bed
    • TV off, electronics off
    • Shower
  • 45 minutes before bed
    • Writing down everything in your brain and relaxing
  • 30 minutes before bed
    • Herbal tea
    • Reading in low lighting
  • 0 minutes before bed
    • Lights off and sleeping

Repeat this on a daily basis and you will be in a fantastic position to improve your sleep immediately and consistently moving forward.



Want To Learn More?


Since COVID-19 entered our lives, we have aimed to deliver some great weekly information as to how you can remain healthy, productive and in good spirits. This blog post is the latest addition to a growing library of information. Click to read more on our dedicated COVID support blogs.


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