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This 20-Minute Bedtime Routine Is So Helpful You'll Be Mad at Yourself for Not Trying it Sooner

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Researchers at the University of Sussex found that just six minutes of reading per day can reduce stress levels by 68%


A good, old-fashioned paper book or magazine is best. Otherwise, try to use a tablet that doesn’t have blue light (which keeps you awake).

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This 20-Minute Bedtime Routine Is So Helpful You'll Be Mad at Yourself for Not Trying it Sooner

This 20-Minute Bedtime Routine Is So Helpful You'll Be Mad at Yourself for Not Trying it Sooner

https://www.themuse.com/advice/this-20minute-bedtime-routine-is-so-helpful-youll-be-mad-at-yourself-for-not-trying-it-sooner

themuse.com

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Key Ideas

Plan Out Your Morning

Take a few minutes to pick out an outfit, decide what you’re going to eat for breakfast, prepare your work bag, or even write a short to-do list of the things you need to accomplish before you head to the office.

Even if you don’t have every detail of your morning thought out, doing this gets the stressful thoughts out of your brain and makes you feel less scrambled when it’s game time.

Get Your Bed Ready

Are your pillows as fluffed as they could be? Is your comforter evenly laid out? Does your bed look appealing to get into?

Research shows that things like fresh sheets can easily make your slumbering experience better, and 71% of people surveyed said they sleep better when their sheets are clean.

Journaling for 5 minutes

Take five minutes to consider how your day went. Journaling reduces stress and helps boost your EQ.

Instead of going the “dear diary” route, write two bullet points for each of the following questions:

  • What are the two things you did well today?
  • What are the two things you can improve upon tomorrow?

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Benefits of an evening routine

Haphazard evening routines can have serious effects on our sleep. 

The right evening routine helps us wind down, relax, and get into a deep, restorative sleep—making us refreshed and ...

The science of sleep

When we close our eyes for the night, our mind cycles through different stages of sleep:

  • Light sleep: Which is most similar to being awake
  • REM (or Rapid-Eye-Movement): Where our minds are asleep but active and where dreams are most likely to happen
  • Deep sleep: Where our mind is in “regeneration” mode

So many things can get in the way of us reaching deep sleep, from stress and burnout to late-night screen usage, eating late, and physical issues. To make sure we reach our deep, restorative sleep, we need a proper evening routine.

Create a “closing ritual”

For most of us it is the mind, rather than the body, that disrupts restorative sleep.

To cleanse our mind of the leftover responsibilities of the day, we need to bring a mental wind down into our evening routine.

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Why a Night Routine Matters

A night routine is the things you do immediately prior to going to bed.

Three benefits of having a decent night routine:

  • You’ll have a more restful and higher-quality sleep....
Before You Head Home…
  • Get rid of caffeine after 4:00 pm. Caffeine stays in your system for up to six hours.
  • Stay hydrated. Dehydration can make you feel sluggish and tired when you want to be awake.

  • Decide when the workday ends. Establish a cut off time for work-related emails and phone calls as well.

Immediately After Work…
  • Avoid alcohol. Alcohol may make you drowsy, but the sleep you get won’t be restful. Stop consuming it at least two hours before bed.
  • Have a healthy dinner. 

    When you need a snack closer to bedtime, reach for something light and healthy.

  • Take time to tidy. Waking up in an orderly space will work wonders for your mood.

  • Prepare for tomorrow. 

    When you don’t have a million things to do upon waking, it’s easier to fall asleep.
  • Take time for yourself. Perhaps you watch an episode of your favorite show or play video games.

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A bedtime routine will help you sleep
  • It can calm an overactive mind.
  • You can think, plan and prepare for tomorrow, so you don’t lie awake worrying about details when you go to bed.
  • By repeating a regular pattern, ...
Duration of your routine

It’s up to you to decide how long your routine will be, based on the amount of time you feel it takes you to relax.

It may be, for example, that by the time you’ve put the kids to bed and tidied up, 15 minutes is enough time. If you do have more free time and suffer from regular sleep problems, maybe 30 to 60 minutes would be better.

Switch off the electronic devices
  • They stimulate your brain.
  • The light that some devices emit might affect your internal body clock. If you can’t separate yourself from your phone, at least put the blue light filter on and dim the screen brightness.
  • They can be addictive, eating into even more sleep time.
  • Checking emails, the news and even social media at night can create worry and stress.

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