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Many individuals thrive when incorporating regular routines and rituals into their day. Cultivating good rituals and habits can have a profound impact on various aspects of life, from physical health to personal growth and happiness. Routines provide structure, discipline, and a clearer path to achieving our goals and living a fulfilling life. Athletes have widely-varied pre-game rituals that help them get focused and dialed-in to perform at their peak levels. Many professionals follow detailed morning routines that prepare them for a positive and successful day at work. Even children tend to find daily routines and rituals comforting, where consistency allows for more predictable and enjoyable days. While we are often familiar with “start-of-day routines,” we often miss the equally-powerful benefit of “end-of-day routines.” Bedtime routines help prepare our bodies and minds for the best sleep possible. Research shows that a quality night’s sleep affects everything from body repair processes to brain performance, focus, mood, and overall health. Let’s explore the many things we can do to create a successful bedtime routine and get the most out of our sleep.

Keep a consistent bedtime

Go to bed at the same time each night to regulate your body’s internal clock. Research has shown that by doing this your body gets used to the consistent sleep schedule and naturally adjusts by feeling tired at about the same time each day. This in turn reduces the amount of time spent simply waiting to fall asleep, as well as the midnight tossing and turning.

Wind down

Spend 30 minutes to an hour winding down with calming activities like reading, taking a warm bath, or practicing relaxation exercises. It is so important for our brains to decelerate slowly, and process any wandering thoughts and stresses of the day. This is vital for a restorative night’s sleep. So choose an activity that you personally find relaxes you and and releases tension. Ending the night with something that makes you happy means sleeping with a smile on our face. How beautiful is that!

Limit screen time

Winding down also means avoiding electronic devices like phones and computers at least an hour before bed, as the blue light can disrupt sleep. This is often hard for many as the demands of work and life require longer hours. It can still be tempting to fall down the rabbit hole of endless social media and scroll for hours. This is where intentional mindfulness in our bedtime routine can have a major impact. Challenge unhealthy habits by replacing nightly screen time with a calm wind-down activity. Once you start to notice the positive impact on your evening and sleep, you’ll find maintaining a healthy bedtime routine without electronic devices much easier.

Create a comfortable sleep environment

Quieting the senses can also help prepare you for a restful sleep. A dark room signals the body to produce melatonin, a natural hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. A quiet room minimizes disruptions that can wake you or prevent you from falling asleep. Take simple steps to reduce noises from the outdoors, household activities, or electronic devices. When your environment is both dark and quiet, your body will find it much easier to enter and remain in the deeper stages of sleep, which are essential for feeling refreshed and rested. Lastly, adjust the thermostat for bedtime, since extreme temperatures can disrupt sleep patterns. This may be different from your daytime temperature. Experiment until you find an optimal temperature for the best sleep, since there may be different preferences in the same household. Make smaller adjustments with an extra blanket or room heater.

Eat light

It may be helpful to eat a light snack, or adjust your meal times and sizes to make sure you aren’t going to bed on the edge of hunger. Be careful not to eat heavy, spicy, or sugary foods right before bed, since they can be difficult or uncomfortable for your body to digest right before bed. Instead, opt for things like bananas, greek yogurt, almonds, whole grain toast, cottage cheese, oatmeal, or herbal teas. Cherries contain melatonin, and can be a great choice due to aid in sleep regulation. Make sure to consume any of these light snacks at least an hour before going to bed, and choose foods that are right for your personal preferences and dietary restrictions.

Practice mindfulness

Consider meditation or deep breathing exercises to relax your mind. Your mind needs to be at peace for the best sleep possible. Meditation is a great way to center yourself and focus on the present moment. This creates a calm center to prepare your mind to relax. Stressful or anxious thoughts not only make it nearly impossible to fall asleep, but also make staying asleep much harder. Set aside a mindful moment before bedtime to write down thoughts, good and bad; this is a great way to take a load off and prepare for bed. A gratitude journal can redirect your thoughts to a positive mindset conducive for quality sleep. Daily mindful practices are also shown to improve mental health, enhance self-esteem, and manage stress.

Sleep rituals are important because they set the stage for restful, consistent, and high-quality sleep. They help align your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, reduce stress, and contribute to overall physical and mental health. By prioritizing healthy bedtime routines, you can enjoy better sleep and reap a wide range of benefits for your overall well-being. Remember, too, that everyone’s sleep needs are different, so it may take some trial and error to find the routine that works best for you. For more tips on sleep, and even specific wind-down sleep stories, check out the Innergy App! Don’t wait any longer to get a restful night’s sleep!


NIH News in Health (April 2021). Good Sleep for Good Health.

Wakefit (March 2020). Why you should go to bed at the same time every night.

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