While some may think bedtime rituals are unnecessary, they are actually quite important. They help you prepare your body for the act of going to sleep. Once they become routine, they provide important cues for your brain that it’s time to enter into your nightly slowdown mode. The problem most people have is deciding what types of activities should be included in their bedtime rituals. Here are a few great ideas.
Children love routines. They need the consistency of a regular bedtime. However, sometimes, they get too excited during the day and have a hard time getting their young brains to turn off so they can get the sleep they need so much at night. The bedtime ritual needs to be a process that takes about thirty minutes and lets your child know it’s time for bed. In order for it to be truly effective it needs to be simple and consistent.
There are plenty of things you may choose to include in your child’s bedtime ritual. Just remember that this will set expectations, so don’t include things you aren’t willing to commit to. Some great ideas include a warm bath followed by brushing of the teeth and hair, the obligatory sips of water, nighttime prayers, tucking in, soothing music and/or a bedtime story. Pampers.com has several other bedtime rituals for children that are worth considering.
Most people think we eventually grow out of bedtime rituals. However, adults need them just as much as (if not more than) children. You can even follow the same principles you’d use when establishing children’s bedtime rituals. You want to be consistent, it needs to be simple, and the entire ritual or routine needs to last about thirty minutes in order to be truly effective.
The real key, of course, is that these must all be activities that you find soothing so that they help you achieve your goal of falling asleep easier. Some items you may wish to include in your nightly bedtime ritual include: taking a nice warm bath, yoga (relaxation or meditation), using guided imagery for sleep, reading, writing in your sleep diary, and listening to soothing music or other sounds to sleep to, like white noise or nature sounds. The ultimate goal is to enter into a relaxed state of mind that is ready for sleep.
While there are quite a few options you may wish to include in your nightly bedtime ritual, there are a few things you should avoid adding into the mix. The primary reason for these as that they often serve to stimulate the brain rather than relaxing it. They include things like surfing the Internet, watching television, playing video games, and strenuous exercise. Your bedroom needs to be a place designed for sleep. Get rid of the television and computer to “unplug” and opt for a restful atmosphere instead.
Bedtime rituals can have a huge impact on the quality and quantity of sleep you get at night. Getting into these habits may take a little while. Once you do, however, you should notice a significant improvement in your ability (or your child’s ability) to fall asleep faster at night on a consistent basis.
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