Curating a Healthy Nighttime Routine

Having a set nighttime routine is one of the best ways to encourage healthy sleep. When you do the same activities every night, your body will start producing melatonin in response. This melatonin release will make you sleepy and help you fall asleep faster and easier. Trying to build a bedtime routine can be a bit confusing, however. If you’re trying to curate a healthy evening habit, the following ideas are ones to include. 

Grab a Snack

As silly as it may seem, having a snack before bed can help you wind down. Certain foods are high in molecules that let your body know it’s time to sleep. For instance, turkey, nuts, and whole grains are some of the best foods to encourage rest. If you’ve ever been desperate for a nap after Thanksgiving dinner, that’s thanks to a molecule called tryptophan. This amino acid is vital to the body’s melatonin production, which is the neurotransmitter that makes you sleepy. Eating foods high in tryptophan, like turkey,  leads to an increase in melatonin, helping you wind down. 

On the other hand, nuts and whole grains contain melatonin. While all nuts have a marginal melatonin content, pistachios and almonds have the highest concentration of this molecule. Eating a handful of these nuts or fruits dipped in nut butter will help you feel sleepy without needing a sleep supplement. Healthy late night snacks like oatmeal, yogurt with nut granola, or a turkey sandwich can all lead to better sleep. 

Take Time to Relax

Once you have your snack, it’s time to relax. Letting your mind wind down is just as important as allowing your body to decompose. If you’ve spent all day at work, chances are you brought some of that tension home with you. Not dealing with that stress can lead to low-quality sleep, which will have you waking up exhausted in the morning. Before you climb into bed, take some time to wind down properly. Take a hot bath with a calming soap, practice meditation, or do a gentle workout. Giving your mind a chance to release its stress will let you go to sleep without anything holding you back. 

One of the best ways to mentally wind down is with some form of mindfulness. This topic is a broad one, but it’s not as complicated as it seems. Use your brain for something other than working or stressing. If you like to write, journaling about the day’s experiences can help you release any leftover tension. If you’re artistically inclined, drawing or painting before bed can help you wind down. For those who just want to relax, curling up with a good book and a cup of tea can help your mind slow down. No matter how you like to relax, taking time to wind down will let you fall asleep without leftover stress or tension. 

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Put The Phone Down

Finally, your bedtime routine shouldn’t include technology. While technology is incredibly useful in your daily life, it can become a distraction at night. Around an hour before your head hits the pillow, put your phone and computer away. Believe it or not, the blue light on the screen can inhibit the production of melatonin in your brain and prevent you from getting sleepy. By removing technology from your nighttime routine, you can limit your distractions at bedtime and fall asleep quicker. 

Limiting phone exposure at bedtime has another benefit. Social media and news sites can be incredibly depressing. Whether or not you realize it, social media is incredibly competitive; there’s always pressure to be perfect enough to fit in. Being exposed to this pressure right before bed can increase stress and anxiety levels, leading to poor sleep quality. Similarly, the news these days is often very negative. While there’s nothing wrong with being informed, you shouldn’t take that stress to bed with you. By limiting your media exposure before bed, you can fall asleep faster and sleep better. 

Overall, building a healthy nighttime routine can help give you more restful and restorative sleep every night. With these tips, you’ll have a routine that works for you in no time. 

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