What’s a bedtime routine, you ask? Consider it the after-party for your nighttime skin care routine. It’s a number of soothing steps that you can take to wind down and improve sleep quality.
Some of us drop off to sleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow, while others fall asleep to the sound of the TV or mid-sentence while we read a book. A bedtime routine could make a difference for those who find it difficult to slip off into slumber, especially at a time like this when the uncertainties that come with a global pandemic have left many of us with higher levels of stress and anxiety that directly impact our sleep. Whether your sleep issues started pre- or post-COVID-19, following the plan outlined below could help put you on the path to an improved circadian rhythm.
A bedtime routine could make a difference, especially now that a global pandemic has left many of us with higher levels of stress and anxiety that directly impact our sleep.
Start on the Floor
This routine starts about an hour before bedtime, after you’ve changed into your PJs and pampered your face. Turn off your overhead light, and turn on a softer light source like a string of fairy lights or a bedside lamp, and light a relaxing candle. According to the National Sleep Foundation, relaxing scents and mellow lighting are important factors to consider when transforming a room into a sleep sanctuary.
Begin your bedtime wind-down with a stretching routine to unfurl muscles taut from a long day of sitting at a desk or standing on your feet at work. A quick search on YouTube should yield a 20- to 30-minute routine that you can easily follow from your position on a yoga mat. If you’ve got a favorite fitness influencer, you could try one of their workouts, like this one from FitnessBlender or this one from Blogilates, that you can do in bed!
Move to the Bed
After you’ve loosened your muscles and limbered up, spray your pillow with a sleep spray that envelops your linens with a calming scent to help you fall asleep faster and sleep deeper.
To keep your hands and feet moisturized throughout the night, apply a thick, nourishing lotion or balm, giving yourself a mini massage of sorts as you do so. Acupressure is a practice that has been around for thousands of years and can be used as a natural remedy for improving sleep quality. Stimulating certain points on your wrists, ankles, and neck is supposed to help quiet your mind, reduce stress, and induce sleep.
Next up, spritz your face with a soothing face mist like the Calming Mist from Jurlique, and coat your lips with a generous amount of lip balm to keep flaky skin at bay. I like the Sugar Lip Treatment Advanced Therapy from Fresh because it seems to melt away the dry skin on my lips seconds after it’s applied. I’m also a big fan of Laneige’s Lip Sleeping Mask.
Sip to Sleep
Sipping a warm drink while you read or listen to a white noise machine/ASMR/sleep podcast will not only soothe your belly but hydrate your body from the inside out. Peppermint and ginger teas are great for after-dinner digestion, while chamomile, lemongrass, and valerian root inspires tranquility, lowers blood pressure, and acts as a sedative, respectively.
Turn Down the Tech
If your phone’s got the capability, activate whatever feature that silences it at a certain time, preventing late-night phone calls, texts, and app notifications from waking you when you finally start to slip off. On my phone, I use a combination of three features to ensure that I get the best quality rest that I can.
First is a blue light filter, which floods my screen with a warm red hue to counter the effects of blue light, such as eye strain and a suppression of the sleep hormone melatonin.
Second, my screen shifts to grayscale at a certain time, which discourages me from browsing apps like Instagram and TikTok, which aren’t as enjoyable when they’re not in color.
Lastly, the Do Not Disturb feature turns off notifications from all but the alarm app and calls from certain contacts (whom I hope have the common sense not to ring me at an ungodly hour). Together, these features keep me from scrolling through the endlessness of the internet into the early hours of the morning, and prompt me to maintain a sleep schedule or try to fall asleep doing something else, like reading a book.
Set a Schedule
Establishing a set schedule for waking and sleeping can also promote better sleep, so endeavor to give your body a sense of normalcy even if current events have disrupted your regular program. If you’re used to waking up at 7 AM to give yourself enough time to exercise, eat breakfast, and dress for work, it may serve you better to keep doing just that. Sleeping in until 8:30 before rolling out of bed to grab a quick coffee before you plonk yourself down in front of your at-home work desk can confuse your body and lead to sleepless nights.