Who needs sleep?
You. All living things need time to rest and repair themselves.
Why do you need a bedtime routine?
Because sleep affects everything including our growth and stress hormones, our immune system, appetite, breathing, blood pressure and cardiovascular health. Research shows that a lack of sleep increases the risk of obesity, heart disease and infections. In this cost-of-living crisis, stress levels are pretty high and will only increase, so we need to do things that manage and reduce them. Sleep is an easy fix, building a routine around increasing sleep time and quality is an easy way to not only look and feel better but possibly increase life expectancy.
How do you build a bedtime routine?
1. Set a bedtime
Decide what time you want to wake up and take away 7 – 9 hours, that’s the time you need lights out. On those 7 – 9 hours, remove a further 2/3 hours to factor in the actual bedtime routine. everything.
2. Get Clean – 8:00pm to 8:30pm
Bath/Shower – A shower or bath – is an essential step, the shower washes off the day’s stresses and burdens that you do not want in bed with you. Personally, I like using Lavender based bars, as they have a soothing effect on the mind and relax the muscles, and they maintain clear skin due to their antibacterial properties.
Oral care – Do your entire oral routine which should include flossing, tongue scraping and oil pulling for healthy gums and healthy teeth. It takes about 7 minutes to brush, scrap and floss and an additional 7-20 minutes for oil pulling which you can do during your skincare routine.
Skincare – The point of weekday skincare is to clean, moisturise and protect your skin. No need for a complicated routine with a million parts. Keep that for the weekend, on the weekday, you want to be time efficient whilst being effective.
- Oil cleanse
- Foam cleanse
- Hydrating toner
- Treatment serum
Hair care – no fuss, just a bonnet or satin scarf to cover the locs. Protecting your hair is the only mission at night.
3. Mindfulness 8:30PM – 9:30PM
Yoga/Stretching – Move your body in a gentle and relaxing way to ease stress, increase oxygen flow and reduce tension in the muscles. Mindful movement is a wonderful relaxation tool and should be a regular part of your bedtime routine. Deep breathing exercises are proven tools that relieve tension and stress resulting in better quality sleep.
Journal – Another mindfulness activity to include in your routine is journaling. I am a big advocate of this, journaling has many benefits including improved communication skills, the more you write the better at finding the right language to express yourself. Outside of self-development, journaling is a wonderful way to reduce stress, because more often than not, negative thoughts and emotions can run on a loop in our heads, exacerbating stress levels. By penning your thoughts and expressing your emotions unreservedly, you release negative thoughts from your mind. Sometimes when you purge, you may even come up with a solution to the problems you have expressed.
Whilst journaling and reading I have a cup of relaxing tea. Anything with lavender or chamomile will do the trick to relax and hydrate the body. I also like lemon and ginger and liquorice teas. Now is not the time for the iced latte, nothing with caffeine after 12:00 pm for me as it keeps me awake. Yes, I will do my whole oral routine and then have a cup of honeyed tea when in bed, don’t know what to say, I’m a crazy girl.
4. Downtime – 9:30pm – 11:00pm
This is the time of the evening when you can binge-watch TV and scroll to your heart’s content. This is your time and can do whatever you want, you and the Mr or Ms can even get busy and finish in time to meet your lights-out time.
5. Read a book – 11:00pm – 11:30pm
Reading a book at night has many benefits, including better cognitive function, which means you are able to understand things better, it also helps relax the mind by disassociating yourself from your problems, and it helps you connect better with others through empathy and so much more. It is recommended that you read for at least 20 minutes before bed, to extract the benefits.
6. Lights out – 11:30 – 12:00pm
Audible – You guys already know I am a big audible fan. After reading a physical book, I do like to turn the lights off and put on an audiobook for the final relaxation stop. I set a timer for 30 minutes and I am usually asleep before the book stops.
This was a pretty comprehensive and long routine but here is an express version if you just starting out, or don’t have the luxury of hours to yourself.
Express Bedtime Routine – 55 minutes
Shower & Skincare – 20 minutes
In the shower, use a gentle lavender aromatherapy shea soap to soothe the skin and calm the sense. For skincare, double cleanse (to remove SPF) moisturise and seal with an oil to nourish and condition your skin throughout the night.
Mindfulness – 15 minutes
Journal and purge your mind off the day’s activities or stretch the body with a nighttime yoga routine. Don’t skip this part, because mindfulness is a really important way to reduce your stress so don’t skip this part.
Read 20 minutes
As mentioned above, reading is a good way to improve your communication skills and live vicariously through other people. It is an important part of your routine so, read a physical book for at least 20 minutes daily, to help ease you into a restful sleep.
Once you have finished your 20 minutes of reading time, turn the lights off and go to sleep.
And there you have it, a bedtime routine for grownups. It is more a framework than a rigid must-do list. Play around with it, and come up with a version that best fits your lifestyle. I really do hope you find this helpful and that you get into a routine that works fo you and your family.
That is all from me this week, hope you sleep better and remember to be good to yourself.
Mama Bear and Brand Owner/Founder