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The importance of following a regular bedtime routine

by | Feb 18, 2020 | Sleep Health

Developing a bedtime routine can help you obtain regular quality sleep. It can assist in the management of various sleep related problems and difficulties. But with so many things what works with one person may not work with someone else. So creating the right environment and finding the right things to do before going to bed might require some experimentation.

We all know getting enough sleep is important in maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle. A bedtime routine can help ensure you get enough sleep but having a regular sleep pattern provides many benefits itself. A study by Duke University of Medicine found that the more irregular peoples’ sleep patterns, the higher the risk for obesity, hypertension, and elevated blood sugar, and the higher the projected risk of developing heart disease over the next decade.

People’s sleep-wake cycle (deep sleep and REM sleep) is managed by their circadian rhythm. This is an internal biological clock that regulates various body processes over a 24-hour period. Light, time, and melatonin are all factors that affect the circadian rhythm. Inconsistent bedtimes can disrupt one’s circadian rhythm, which may lead to weight gain and metabolic disturbances.

Winding down for the day

Establishing a regular bedtime routine can help the circadian rhythm to manage your sleep-wake cycle.

A big part of establishing a bedtime routine is finding something you can do that you really enjoy doing that is very relaxing. For some people that may be having a bath or listening to some relaxing music or reading a book. Some people find watching some TV can help them relax. Using your mobile phone or tablet or computer may keep your mind active and disrupt your attempt to wind down for the day and relax.

Most people recommend avoid eating heavy meals as this can disrupt sleep. But hunger and thirst can also disrupt sleep. A light snack or a small supper with a glass of water may help before going to bed. Possible snack choices include an apple, a slice of lean chicken or a cup of yogurt.

Allocate the time you want to go to sleep and start your routine an hour or two before hand. That doesn’t mean spending 2 hours in bed before try to go to sleep.

Try not skimp on sleep during the week with the aim of catching up by sleeping in on the weekend. It’s important, in building a routine, to go to sleep the same time every night so your body and mind know when to be prepared.