Get Your Best Sleep Ever with This Ideal Bedtime Routine
After a long day, there’s nothing better than crawling into bed for a restful night of sleep. But did you know you can optimize your sleep and set yourself up for success by following an intentional pre-bed routine? As a doctor, I often prescribe evidenced based “sleep hygiene” to my patients who are having trouble sleeping. This includes recommendations like:
Create the Right Environment
First, set the stage by adjusting the temperature. Ideal is around 65°F. Cooler air helps activate the body’s natural sleepiness cues. Warm baths 1-2 hours before bed also cue the circadian rhythm that nighttime is approaching. Dim the lights and eliminate blue light from phones/TVs. Consider blackout curtains to block excess light and sound. The brain needs dark and quiet to release melatonin and transition into deeper NREM sleep stages.
Do some Light Yoga
A few restorative yoga poses can relax the body and calm the mind. Child’s pose, legs up the wall, and gentle twists activate the parasympathetic nervous system to relieve stress. Yoga Nidra is a game changer as it takes this further with guided meditation that brings the body into a deeply relaxed state between waking and sleeping. As little as 10 minutes can induce the relaxation response.
Supplement with Magnesium
This key mineral plays a biochemical role in regulating sleep. It binds to GABA receptors in the brain which promotes calmness and tempers anxiety. It also helps muscles fully relax which prevents tossing and turning. Take 200-400 mg of magnesium glycinate or citrate form about an hour before bed. But check with your doctor first if combining with other medications.
By intentionally structuring your evening with sleep-enhancing rituals, you can program your body to easily transition into a state of rest.
The result is falling asleep faster, staying asleep, and waking up refreshed.