Paying attention to the things you do before bedtime can make or break your sleep.
Here at Rested Health, we want to teach you the habits that have the least effort with the most reward. So, without further ado, here is one of the most important changes you can make to help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.
WIND DOWN BEFORE BED WITH A POWERDOWN HOUR
A powerdown hour will transform your sleep
Separating your day from your night is essential for high quality sleep. Not taking time to unwind and prepare for bed can lead to difficulty falling asleep, lower sleep quality, and circadian rhythm dysregulation.
How to do it
STEP 1: Get Alarmed
Set an alarm each night to cue your powerdown hour, put away electronics, and begin your routine.
Limiting electronics at least an hour before bed will help to optimize your melatonin production (blue light suppresses melatonin).
STEP 2: Self-Care
Treat yourself to self-care – take a bath, do a skincare routine, and get ready for bed.
Staying consistent with your bedtime routine will let your brain know it’s time for sleep.
STEP 3: Relaxation
Engage in mental decompression exercises, such as journaling, progressive muscle relaxation, Yoga Nidra, or meditation.
You’ll fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly due to stress reduction. Yoga Nidra is especially helpful for helping you ease off to sleep with a quiet mind
Setting consistent environmental cues like a powerdown hour helps boost your sleep due to the principals of operant conditioning. Your body’s systems thrive on consistency, especially your sleep system.
Additionally, stress from your day can trickle into your sleep, even impacting your dreams. Studies show that some people have a stress response called high sleep reactivity. That means, in response to stress they experience more difficulties initiating and maintaining sleep, increased awakenings, deterioration in sleep quality, and decreased REM sleep.
Research has shown that engaging in mental decompression such as yoga nidra helps people fall asleep faster. If falling asleep is something you regularly struggle with, adding a bath or warm shower into your powerdown routine might also do the trick. A 2019 study in Sleep medicine reviews showed that a warm bath or shower 1 hour before bed helped people fall asleep up to 36% faster.
The important thing is to get started. Try setting up a powerdown alarm tonight and see how much better you sleep. Remember, it’s all about progress not perfection.
A powerdown hour is one of the most effective sleep habits. It reduces stress and creates important cues to separate your day from your night, leading to better quality sleep!
- Program your sleep schedule into your smartphone to get reminders about your powerdown hour
- Swap bedside bulbs for red lightbulbs to boost melatonin production
- Journal a to-do list before bed to bring closure to your day