Good morning everyone. Today I want to give you a few quick pointers on how to build an effective pre sleep routine and the biggest problem I see with most pre sleep routines.
Before we get going I want to point this out. Besides exercise and good nutrition, high quality sleep is the most important factor influencing your health. The closer you get to eight hours of deep, high quality sleep, the healthier, more productive, and happier you are going to be. (So says the father to be who will soon average around four hours of sleep a night… but I digress…)
Okay, lets jump in.
Good Pre Sleep Routine
So what exactly is a pre sleep routine?
A pre sleep routine is a specific set of activities performed in a specific order starting about 45-60 minutes before you go to sleep.
Why is a pre sleep routine important?
A pre sleep routine is important because if it is well thought out and well executed it can have a substantially positive impact on how quickly you are able to fall asleep and how deeply you will be able to sleep.
What makes a good pre sleep routine?
There are two features that make a pre sleep routine effective.
First, it includes activities that allow your brain to transition from an active and stimulated state to a more relaxed state.
Activities such as pleasure reading (not on a computer, smart phone, or tablet and I’ll get to why not in a second) listening to calm music (think slower more melodic music) and meditating, stretching and yoga, and even painting and drawing are great examples of activates that help transition the brain from an overly stimulated state to a calmer state.
The second feature of an effective pre sleep routine is that it is consistent. An effective pre sleep routine starts at the same time each night and incorporates the same activities in the same order.
Because over time your brain will learn to interpret your specific activities performed in your specific order as a cue to prepare for sleep. (Pavlovian conditioning.)
So for instance if you want to be asleep by 11pm you could wrap up any remaining work by 10:15pm, take a five minute shower, get dressed for sleep, stretch out for ten minutes while listening to relaxing music, and then pleasure read for thirty minutes. Easy, relaxing, and effective.
Bad Pre Sleep Routine
Now that we’ve covered what makes an effective pre sleep routine, lets go over what is by far the biggest problem with most pre sleep routines.
Watching TV or using a computer, tablet, or smart phone before bed.
Because TVs, computers, tablets, and smart phones emit blue light.
What is blue light and why is it bad?
Blue light is a type of light that, when it enters your eyes, suppresses your production of melatonin.
What is melatonin and why is it important?
Melatonin is a hormone that plays a central role in regulating and preparing you for sleep.
In essence when you body produces melatonin it triggers a number of chemical reactions that cause you to become tired and sleepy.
If your body’s natural production of melatonin is suppressed your natural sleep cycle will be disrupted. As a result, you won’t feel tired when you should and you won’t be able to fall asleep easily and stay asleep throughout the night.
Bottom bottom line?
One of the worst things you can do during your pre sleep routine is watch TV or look at a computer, tablet, or smart phone screen.
Okay, lets end this here.
Have a great Thursday and weekend everyone!
Until next time.