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I Started a Nightly Sleep Routine and Here’s What I Learned

Did you know practicing a routine in the evening can help your body prepare for resting throughout the night? It’s true! So many of us are barely getting the sleep we need, but the exciting thing is that there are tools you can use to help! 

Who am I?

My name is Caysea, and I am the Copywriter and Content Specialist here at the ENT Institute. I’ve struggled with my sleep patterns for as long as I can remember. I would often wake up exhausted before my day even began. In college, I had a terrible case of insomnia which led me to falling asleep and waking up at strange times. I found myself struggling with productivity during the day and often felt irritable due to lack of sleep. I knew something had to change, so I decided to do some research to learn how I could achieve the sleep my body and mind so desperately needed. This research led me to learning about nightly routines and how I could create my own! 

What is a nightly routine?

A nightly routine is creating good habits that help you go to sleep and get the rest you need during the night. 

Studies have shown that people who practice a nightly routine have :

  • healthier brain function
  • a healthier emotional well-being
  • an increase in their performance throughout the day
  • an improvement in physical health 
  • and MORE! 

What does a helpful nightly routine look like? 

Nightly routines can look different for everyone, but the goal is always the same: a person should create consistent, healthy habits that help them prepare for bedtime.

Some of the tips I initially found to help a person make good choices for sleep include:

  1. Stay hydrated
  2. Nap at the appropriate time
  3. Exercise
  4. Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol
  5. Create a comfortable sleep environment

You may be wondering, how can these tips help me? Here’s what I found to be true during my own experience: 

  • Go to bed at the same time. Consistency is key. Go to bed around the same time and wake up around the same time, even on the weekends. Personally, my body has begun to adjust to these times, and I now have my own internal alarm clock. Please note that I don’t recommend not using an actual alarm clock! No one is perfect, and we all need a little extra help sometimes.  
  • Stay hydrated. Most people know to stay hydrated during the day, but not everyone knows that drinking water before bed can help your body function well at night. On the other hand I’ve also learned to make sure you don’t drink too much so you’re not waking up in the middle of the night rushing to the bathroom. It’s a balancing act.
  • Nap at the appropriate time. Don’t nap just because you can. This can be hard sometimes! If your body is tired and needs the extra rest, make sure you nap earlier in the day and only for a short amount of time (it’s said that approx. 20-30 minutes can help increase alertness and performance). This is the perfect example of where those alarm clocks come in handy! If I don’t set one, I will take a 2 hour nap. Every time. 
  • Exercise. Moving your body and staying active can help you sleep more soundly throughout the night. I’ve found working out in the evening helps me decompress from the day! I often come home after my visits to the gym, take a warm shower, do my skincare routine, and lay down in bed. It’s a great way to show small acts of kindness to yourself after a long day.
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. I think it’s safe to say that most of us have experienced having one glass too many at some point in our lives, and the next day ended up being a rough one. Many of us have also had that last coffee later in the afternoon and regretted it in the evening. That’s because these items have the potential to disrupt sleep later in the night and affect our ability to get the right amount of REM sleep.
  • Create a comfortable sleep environment. It’s recommended to consider little to no lighting, a cooler or warmer room temperature based on preferences, and even what kind of mattress you have. I’ve learned over the last couple of years that I like to turn all the lights off and sleep best in a cool room. I’m a fan of cuddling with lots of blankets and pillows, so warm settings are not for me!

I can attest that implementing these actions into your life sounds easy, but it’s actually a little bit of work if you weren’t doing it ahead of time. My recommendation is to take the process slowly and be gentle with yourself. Your body and your mind will catch up with you as you continue to take intentional and healthy steps towards a nightly routine that works for you!

What if you need something different, or a little extra help?

For example, I struggle with anxiety and the never-ending cycle of restless thoughts replaying in my head at night. I have found incorporating some extra tools at night can be beneficial in helping me create a calming atmosphere and quieting my mind as I prepare for a good night’s sleep. 

Some of these tools include: 

  • Journaling. Life can be stressful. I find it helpful to express the hard parts, so I don’t keep them all bottled up inside and stress myself out. 
  • Scents. Lavender and vanilla are some of my favorites. Other smells, like rose and chamomile, are known to ease the mind and create relaxation around you. 
  • Cut out electronics. Everyone loves to scroll through social media or watch a movie before bed. I know I do, but I recently learned that the blue light on screens can actually keep you awake. I work hard to turn off my electronics about 1-2 hours before I plan to fall asleep.
  • Wind-down activities. You might wonder what there is to do if you’re not using technology – it’s important to find activities that help you wind down. I enjoy reading a book or making myself some herbal tea. If you’re a book lover like myself, here are a few reads I’ve personally enjoyed:

Conclusion

A nightly routine can be helpful for everyone and is strongly recommended. Be aware of your sleep challenges. 

Getting good sleep helps you get the rest you need and deserve as well as sets you up for the next day ahead. You’re likely to be more productive, more focused, and better equipped to handle the challenges that come your way. 

Better sleep is a step towards better health!

Sleep Apnea and Other Sleep Disorders

Do you or your loved ones struggle with snoring? Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night because you can’t breathe well? This could be a sign of sleep apnea! 

Sleep routines are great, but sleep disorders should be met with special attention from your doctor. Sleep apnea along with other sleep disorders can cause serious health complications, and if untreated, can even be fatal. At the ENT Institute, we offer Home Sleep Tests–a convenient and simple device that allows you to monitor your sleep patterns from the comfort of your own home. 

Take our Sleepiness Screening TODAY! Bring in your results and we’ll help you take the necessary steps to ensure you’re getting the best sleep possible.

We’re here for all your ENT needs (770) 740-1860

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