For so long my “bedtime routine” went like this: Go, Go, Go, Go! All the way up until bedtime and then I would literally fall into the bed hoping to drift off to sleep quickly. And it usually wouldn’t happen.
Even though I was utterly exhausted I found that those nights were the ones where it was hardest for me to fall asleep and stay asleep.
If you think bedtime routines are just for babies, think again. This article is all about bedtime routines for adults and if you don’t have one you need one!
Otherwise, you’ll find yourself staring at the ceiling, tossing and turning much more often than you should. When you can implement a simple bedtime routine that helps you to relax and wind down before sleeping you’ll notice a difference.
Not only will you have more rejuvenating sleep, but you’ll find that it’s easier to stay asleep, too. After two babies just 2 years apart I know what it’s like to be sleep deprived.
I have experimented with many sleep hacks to keep myself energized – especially in those early newborn days when I wasn’t really getting more than 2 to 3 hours of sleep at a given time.
The struggle is real.
Unfortunately, there is no magic formula that works for everyone. When it comes to bedtime routines for adults, the key is to be very observant of everything you do leading up to bedtime. This is going to help you identify:
- a) How you respond to different foods and/or activities before going to sleep
- b) How much time you need to unwind before going to bed
- c) And the specific activities that resonate with you to help you relax and prepare for sleep
And that’s really the key here: You need to prepare your body for sleep. So often, people approach bedtime with the same pace and urgency that they do throughout the day. We watch TV, text, browse the web on the phone or computer, pay bills online, send emails, and even work all the way up until bedtime.
Then we wonder why – after stimulating the brain in the hours leading to up to sleeping – we can’t just fall asleep at the drop of a hat. Or, we don’t get quality sleep – the kind that leaves you feeling refreshed and ready to wake up and tackle the day.
This is why bedtime routines for adults are not just “nice to do.” They are something we all need to do.
Bedtime Routines for Adults in 4 Simple Steps
1- Say, “See ya Siri!”
My husband loves everything Apple (and so do I)- but he even loves Siri. I really can’t stand her. She only has a few basic commands that she can get right on a consistent basis and so I never use her.
Isaac, on the other hand, though he sighs with frustration at her inability to execute the first time, continues to give her commands…over and over and over again. I gotta love his faith in the technology though it does make him almost furious every day.
He loves the “Hey Siri” command where you can speak to her even if the phone is on the other side of the room.
But there comes a time in the day where we unplug from the phones. Since we run our businesses virtually it can be so easy to justify staying plugged in pretty much all the time. But I found that when I was on my devices all the way up until bedtime, my brain was in “work mode” racing with new ideas, creating new task lists and thinking about the objectives that need to be tackled the next day.
And I’m sure I’m not the only one that has made the mistake of checking my email right before bed only to find an urgent message that needs to be addressed. If you ignore it, you’re stuck trying to go to sleep without thinking about that email (good luck with that!).
More times than not you end up logging on to your computer or typing something out from your phone, justifying it by saying that you won’t be able to sleep until it’s resolved (and you probably won’t). I’ve been there and done that!
If we go upstream here, to the root cause of the problem it’s the fact that we need to draw some boundaries between activities that go on during the day (like checking email, web browsing, etc.) and activities that help us to prepare for sleep.
Here’s the other part: According to Lisa Medalie, a sleep specialist at University of Chicago, the light emitted by digital devices like your smartphones, laptops, tablets and computers is blue light. This light can disrupt your sleep, because it interferes with melatonin secretion. Just a few minutes of exposure is enough to make you stay awake.
Trust me, it can be one of the hardest things to avoid when you are in bed. I literally had to move my phone into the bathroom at night instead of having it on my bedside table. I did this for two reasons:
1- It was way too tempting to check my phone right before bed.
2- It was way too tempting for me to check my phone first thing in the morning.
I invested in a simple bedside clock – no radio, just a clock that’s small and portable and doesn’t have a lit up digital display.
I have reframed my brain so that I’m not on the phone leading up to bedtime and I’m also not sleeping with a digital device right by my head all night. I can actually do my iCloud updates because I can turn my phone off airplane mode because it’s in the bathroom away from me.
So, this is Step 1 of the Bedtime Routine for Adults: Designate a Device Cut-off Time. Mine is one hour before bedtime, I’m unplugged from everything – including TV. We do this at least 5 out of the 7 days of the week, making some exceptions on the weekend for movies and things like that.
2- Make a Bedtime Brew
This bedtime routine for adults is one that I love. It’s healthy for the body and it’s also relaxing.
In fact, did you know that preparing a tea was historically highly ceremonial? You don’t have to do it the Japanese way (popularly known as chaji) which involves four hours of preparing a tea.
You probably don’t have 4 hours to spend making tea at night, though I do commend the Japanese for their excellence in everything they do.
But if you have a few minutes you can make this delicious recipe of Creamy Turmeric Tea: Click here. It will calm you at night and energize you in the morning.
I also love to make a sleepy time tea with essential oils of Lavender, Lemon and Frankincense just before bed. You have to be sure to use very high quality essential oils if you go this route, but this is one of my favorite ways to use essential oils.
Just add one drop of each to 1 cup of hot water along with your sweetener of choice. Stir with a spoon and sip away!
You can add any tea into the mix as long as it’s not caffeinated or stimulating. Chamomile is a great option as well. Just be sure not to have the tea too close to bedtime so that you aren’t interrupting your sleep with trips to the bathroom.
I usually have this tea at least an hour before bed.
Step 2 of the Bedtime Routine for Adults: Make a Bedtime Brew
3- Tap Into Aromatherapy
Here’s another bedtime routine for adults, that maybe you haven’t tried: aromatherapy! And I’m not talking about burning scented candles from Yankee Candle Company.
In fact, fragrances in the majority of those scented candles are synthetic and they can disrupt hormones. No, thank you!
Instead, try diffusing essential oils. Essential oils are created from the leaves, seeds, bark, flowers stems and other plant parts. They are natural, aromatic compounds that work by interacting with the olfactory nerve and limbic system after inhalation.
Your limbic system regulates everything from heart rate, blood pressure, stress levels, emotions and more. That’s why essential oils are so powerful – it’s because of their ability to affect the body in powerful ways without invasive treatments or side effects.
Lavender essential oil, for example, is known to promote parasympathetic activity and has a reputation of helping insomniacs get deep, rejuvenating sleep. This essential oil is often used in hospitals, especially in intensive care units, to reduce stress and improve sleep.
I also love Vetiver Essential Oil for before bed. It has a beautiful, earthy aroma and grounding effect on the body.
I blend this one with Serenity Essential Oil for total rest and relaxation. To use it, I add one to 2 drops to the palm of my hands, rub my hands to combine and then cup my hands over my nose. I inhale deeply several times and I can just feel the relaxation wash over me.
If I’m really feeling exhausted and in need of rejuvenation, I’ll diffuse it throughout the night. For more details on where I get the highest quality essential oils in the world, send me a message using the Contact Us link at the bottom of this page.
Step 3 of the Bedtime Routine for Adults: Tap Into Aromatherapy
4 – Connect with Your Physiology
So often we go throughout the day, going about our business without being mindful or even aware of how the body is feeling and functioning.
Only when we’re in absolute pain or discomfort do we notice differences in our physiology. I invite you to take a different approach. Take a few minutes before bed to get in tune with your body. Before you begin, start diffusing your essential oils or inhale in the palms of your hand to relax and unwind.
Sit or lay quietly and take some deep breaths. Notice where you feel tension or little aches.
Then, gently incorporate some stretches that can help to relieve that muscle tension. Or if you have a partner/significant other ask that person to give you a short massage focusing on the areas of tension.
Isaac and I do this regularly. We go through a sequence of stretches together and then we do a massage swap where we’re both able to release tension and promote relaxation.
The nights where we do this, we sleep SO well! I can tell a huge difference in my sleep quality when we complete this bedtime routine and when we don’t.
It’s a proven fact that massage improves the quality of your sleep and it’s probably the most revolutionary change you can bring to your bedtime routine.
If you’re not that excited about massaging your partner – get a new partner. 😛 I’m just kidding. Massaging the other person is actually helping you too.
Studies suggest that there are multiple benefits of giving massage to others. It is believed that massaging other people is a kind of meditation and the activity helps you relax and decrease anxiety.
Step 4 of the Bedtime Routine for Adults: Connect with Your Physiology
This bedtime routine for adults is a simple, 4 step process. Feel free to change it up and do what resonates with you. The most important thing is to focus on preparing your body for sleep.
We also have some other great suggestions in this article if you need tips for waking up early and energized.
Do you have a bedtime ritual that you love? What are some of your favorite things to do to relax and unwind before bed? We love to hear from you! Please sound off in the comments below.