In this post, we’re sharing 3 effective bedtime rituals that help fight insomnia. Insomnia is a common complaint among entrepreneurs. With busy schedules, personal obligations, and a never-ending to-do list, many business owners find themselves ready to fall into bed once they’re home.
That becomes a problem when they find themselves lying awake for hours or waking fitfully, unable to fall into the deep sleep that regenerates our minds and bodies.
Have you noticed you don’t dream as much?
When we sleep, we go through a series of sleep cycles that get progressively deeper through the night. Insomniacs rarely get to enter the deep and REM-sleep cycles. If you’ve noticed you’re not dreaming as much as you used to, or that you’re no longer dreaming at all, it’s a sign you could be missing your deep and REM-sleep cycles.
Loss of dreaming isn’t the only side effect insomnia rudely brings. Here are other ways insomnia affects our minds and bodies:
- Weight gain and weight fluctuation
- Delayed reaction times
- Depression, anxiety
- Increased risk of chronic disease (heart, blood pressure, diabetes)
- Increased risk of substance abuse
- Lower work performance
We can see that insomnia brings a lot of unwanted side effects and complications. Now, let’s consider what steps can be taken to lessen those side effects and start getting deeper, more regular sleep.
What do most people do before bedtime?
NoSleeplessNights took a survey to find out what the average person does before bed – not necessarily ‘bedtime rituals,’ but activities that people take part in right before going to sleep. The results weren’t surprising, but they are telling.
The number 1 and 2 answers both involve blue light, a form of light emitted from electronic screens that signals the brain not to release melatonin (“the sleep hormone”). Surfing the internet and watching TV both tell your body that it’s time to wake up instead of wind down. If these are the most common activities before bed, it’s no wonder that so many people have trouble sleeping!
3 bedtime rituals that help fight insomnia
Turn off your devices an hour before bed
Catching up on work, checking your social accounts, watching your favorite TV show. Does this sound like your current bedtime ritual? It’s likely the reason you’re having trouble falling asleep, and it’s the first thing you should change.
One hour before bedtime, shut off all your electronic devices. Seriously – turn them off. It’s a good idea to avoid your electronic devices for an hour or so before bed so your brain has time to start relaxing and releasing melatonin.
Reasons for turning off your devices an hour before bed:
- They stimulate your brain and decrease the level of melatonin released
- The blue light emitted by some devices interferes with the body’s internal clock
- Electronic devices can be addictive, causing you to lose sleep time
Write down worries and to-dos
Worry and anxiety often keeps us awake. To avoid letting anxieties keep you from getting the sleep you need, you can start journaling before bed. Write down your worries and to do list before you fall asleep and you’ll be able to fall asleep faster.
Knowing you won’t forget something important can be a major factor in reducing stimulation before bed.
Read something you enjoy
It’s a good idea to read something you enjoy before going to sleep, as it helps signal the brain to wind down and prepare for sleep. But before you snuggle up in bed with a good book, know this: You can inadvertently train your brain to stay awake longer by reading in bed. It’s best to read in another room and begin to mentally associate your bed with sleep only.
However, if you can’t stand reading out of bed, researchers say it’s not going to affect your ability to fall asleep (at least short term).
These are the best bedtime rituals that help fight insomnia. Don’t discount them just because they seem simple – it’s really not that difficult to start changing your sleep patterns. By turning off your devices at least an hour before bedtime, writing down worries and to-dos, and reading something you enjoy, you signal your brain and body that it’s time to go to sleep.