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A Bedtime Routine For Adults: 10 Calming Activities

Have a light snack or drink

It’s a good idea to avoid caffeine, alcohol and sugary drinks before bed.

But drinking one of the many relaxing herbal teas is a good way to spend some quiet time, perhaps whilst reading or listening to music.

If you find yourself hungry at night it’s ok to have a light snack before bed. 

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Decompress from your day

The brain is preparing for sleep about two hours before our actual bedtime. That waking system has to slowly come down to allow the sleep system to take over.

Set an alarm an hour to two prior to your expected bedtime to remind you to wind down from the day. Do something you truly enjoy and find relaxing.

Don’t wind down with your gadgets
If you do decide to catch up on your favorite show, don’t do it on your computer or tablet. 

Even just a few seconds of exposure from a blue light-emitting device an hour before bed can disrupt the melatonin rhythm, a rhythm that is so critical to helping us fall asleep, stay asleep and wake up feeling refreshed.

Eat a light, pre-bedtime snack

In our perpetually dieting world, it’s not uncommon to lie in bed hungry, but not wanting to eat in an effort to save calories. However, hunger is stimulating and fragments sleep.

Eating a light carbohydrate or protein snack prior to bedtime will stave off hunger without causing you to crash and awaken later in the night. 

Keep in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle
  • Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day;
  • Avoid sleeping in, even on weekends;
  • Limit naps to 15 to 20 minutes in the early afternoon;
  • Fight after-dinner drowsiness. If you get sleepy way before your bedtime, get off the couch and do something mildly stimulating.
Melatonin

Is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. 

Your brain secretes more melatonin when it’s dark, making you sleepy, and less when it’s light, making you more alert. 

However, many aspects of modern life can alter your body’s production of melatonin and shift your circadian rhythm

Influence exposure to ligh

During the day:

  • Expose yourself to bright sunlight in the morning. 
  • Spend more time outside during daylight. 
  • Let as much natural light into your home or workspace as possible.

At night:

  • Avoid bright screens within 1-2 hours of your bedtime.
  • Say no to late-night television.
  • Don’t read with backlit devices. 
  • When it’s time to sleep, make sure the room is dark.
  • Keep the lights down if you get up during the night.
Make "power down" time a priority

Shut down those activities that stimulate your mind, such as work, emails, internet browsing and even watching TV. 

Try reading a book, taking a bath, listening to music or practicing some gentle yoga or meditation. Develop rituals that work for you.

Try a brain dump

Dump it all out. Write some lists, or simply use the "worry diary" technique and jot down all of the things you’re stressing about. 

Do this before your "power down" time. This helps your mind let these things go. Once they're written down, you can relax; there's no chance you'll forget them.

Eat, drink and move mindfully

If you’re experiencing sleeping problems: 

  • Cut back on caffeine (particularly after midday). 
  • Avoid eating a particularly heavy meal late in the evening.
  • Meditation and supplements can also affect sleep so it’s best to get educated about what you’re taking.
  • Intense exercise late at night isn't recommended.