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Bedtime isn’t just for kids

Bedtime isn’t just for kids

Last updated date: 03/01/2024

Most adults would agree that it’s important for kids to have a set bedtime, but what about ourselves? Getting enough quality sleep every night is vital to everyone’s health and overall well-being. As an adult, you may be dealing with pain, worry, or anxiety. Focusing on quality sleep could help to ease or alleviate these issues.

Extra screen time, consuming alcohol and large meals before bed, and disrupted routines are factors that contribute to poor quality and quantity of sleep.

Use the practices below to bolster your sleep hygiene and give yourself the gift of quality sleep.

Create a sleep sanctuary

Making your bedroom a sleep sanctuary is key to getting that sweet deep sleep.

  • Love and look forward to sleeping in your bed. A good mattress, a variety of favorite pillows, and comfy bedding goes a long way!
  • Minimize light and loud sounds. Try soft, wordless music, white noise or nature sounds.
  • Lower the temperature: According to the Sleep Foundation, the best sleep happens in cooler temps (between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Add aromatherapy: Spray your bedding with essential oils or add a diffuser to your bedroom.

Follow a pre-bedtime routine

A well-timed pre-bedtime routine is critical for your body to achieve high-quality sleep.

  • Disconnect from electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and big meals at least three hours before bedtime.
  • During the day, exercise and get exposure to sunlight. This helps regulate your body’s natural sleep system.
  • Take a warm shower or bath before bedtime to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Unwind your body and mind

Activating your relaxation response can help you naturally drift off to sleep.

  • Try a guided sleep meditation (free on Youtube, Headspace, etc.)
  • Perform a body scan. Being by bringing your awareness to your feet and move up your body to your head. Simply notice the sensations inside your body without judgement.
  • Take a 10–20 minute power pause or nap in the middle of your day.

What happens when we sleep

Stage 1

  • Lasts several minutes and marks the transition between wakefulness and sleep.
  • uscles relax and your heart rate, breathing, brain waves, and eye movements begin to slow down.

Stage 2

  • The longest of the sleep stages.
  • Heart rate, body temperature, and breathing rates continue slowing and muscles become even more relaxed.
  • Eye movements cease and brain waves briefly spike and then slow down.

Stage 3

  • Plays an important role in replenishing energy, as well as cellular and tissue repair.
  • Heartbeat, breathing, and brain waves are at their lowest levels.
  • Muscles are fully relaxed as you enter this slow wave sleep.
  • Helps you feel awake and refreshed the next day.

Stage 4

  • Rapid eye movement (REM) stage begins about 90 minutes after you fall asleep and is marked when the eyes begin to move back and forth quickly under your eyelids.
  • Breathing rate, heart rate, and blood pressure will increase.
  • Dreaming is initiated and your arms and legs will become paralyzed (it’s believed this is intended to prevent you from physically acting out your dreams).
  • Your brain also processes information during this stage, making it important for learning and memory consolidation.
  • The duration of each REM sleep cycle increases as the night progresses.

Sources:
“Are You Getting Enough Sleep?" Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov)
“Put Yourself to Bed: The Essentials for a Good Night’s Rest,” by Heath and Nicole Reed, Massage & Bodywork, March/April 2021
“The Importance of Sleep Hygiene," SleepScore Labs (www.sleepscore.com), November 4, 2017
“The Science of Sleep: Understanding What Happens When You Sleep,” Johns Hopkins Medicine (www.hopkinsmedicine.org)
“What Causes Insomnia?” by Eric Suni, SleepFoundation.org (www.sleepfoundation.org), updated November 22, 2021
“What Is the Purpose of Sleep?" Healthline (www.healthline.com)