Starting A Sleep Routine For Your Baby
How to Have a Good Bedtime Routine
A good bedtime routine is important to your physical and emotional well-being. Poor quality or little sleep can lead to fatigue during the day and increased feelings of stress and anxiety. There are a variety of ways to work on establishing a quality bedtime routine.
Developing a Sleep Schedule
Go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day.Consistency is key to establishing a good bedtime routine. You need to establish a regular bedtime schedule and strive to wake up around the same time each day.
- Your circadian rhythm thrives on routine. It adjusts to having a regular bedtime and wake time. After a week of going to bed at, say, 11:00 every night and waking up at 8AM, your body will begin to get tired when bed time arrives and you'll feel more rested in the mornings.
- Try to stay on this routine, even on weekends. Strive to not sleep more than a couple of hours past your usual wake up time on Saturdays and Sundays.
Ease into a schedule gradually.If you're not on a regular sleep schedule at the moment, you'll need to ease into a new schedule. Do not go from being up until 2AM at night to having a firm 10PM bedtime. This sets you up for failure and will only result in you tossing and turning each night.
- Make small changes slowly. For example, if you usually fall asleep at 1:00 AM and want to go to bed at 11 PM make adjustments in small increments. For the first three nights, try going to bed at 12:45. Then, push that back to 12:20. Keep moving your bedtime back by 10 to 20 minute intervals until you hit the right time.
Use lighting to your advantage.Lighting can help you wake up or fall asleep. Try exposing yourself to daylight in the morning and dimming the lights towards bedtime.
- Your body has an internal sleep/wake clock that responds to light. You're hardwired to become energized in response to bright, preferably natural light. As soon as you get up in the morning, draw the blinds and let in the sunlight. If you don't have access to natural sunlight, or get up before the sun rises, you can try turning on the lights in your house or incorporating a short walk around the block into your regular morning routine.
- Too much light at night signals to your brain that it needs to stay awake. Dim or turn off the lights in your apartment or house as you near your bedtime. You should also avoid electronics like tablets, computers, and smart phones. The light from these devices stimulate the brain and may make you more alert before bed.
- If you have trouble staying away from your phone or computer, you can download an app that can convert the type of light emitted by electronics to a more soothing form that is less likely to interrupt sleep.
Avoid the snooze button.In order to get higher quality sleep, which can help you establish a bedtime routine, avoid reaching for the snooze button in the morning.
- The sleep you have during the 7 or 9 minutes between the alarm sounds again is not high quality. If you hit the snooze button multiple times, you'll end up more tired than you would have been if you simply woke up, as it takes a lot of energy to snap in and out of deep sleep quickly.
- Instead of setting your alarm to go off early so you can snag a few extra minutes of snooze time, set your alarm for when you actually need to get up. You will feel more rested without the extra sleep, even though this may be difficult for the first few days.
Eat light before bed.Often, hunger pangs can prevent you from falling asleep fast. However, a heavy meal before bed can keep you up, due to discomfort or could potentially boost your energy. Stick to light, healthy snacks half an hour before bedtime.
- Choose veggies, and foods high in healthy carbohydrates, and protein. Avoid processed foods, sugars, or refined carbs close to bedtime.
- Try spreading cream cheese and avocado on slices of turkey and rolling them up into small, bread free wraps. A fruit smoothie with spinach, frozen cherries, and fruit juice without added sugar can be satisfying before bed. Simple crackers and cheese or whole grain cereals also make healthy nighttime snacks.
Setting Up Your Bedroom
Choose appropriate pillows, mattress, and sheets.If your bed or bedding is uncomfortable, this may be contributing to your problems falling asleep.
- Good quality mattresses last 9 to 10 years. If yours is older than that, you may need to get a new mattress. Make sure you choose a mattress that you feel comfortable in, and is neither too firm nor soft to support your back. If you've been waking up with back aches, you may need a new mattress.
- Make sure there are no irritants in your pillow. Many pillows contain fabrics or materials some people are allergic to. Read the materials list on the label before you purchase any pillow to make sure it does not contain anything that bothers your system.
- When it comes to sheets, going an all cotton route is best for your sleep schedule. These promote air flow and breathability so you don't end up too hot during the night. If it's summer, you could take the comforter off your bed and store it until the weather gets cold again.
Select cool colors.The type of color scheme you have in your bedroom can actually affect your sleep cycle. You should select cooler colors, like blues, browns, and grays, over warmer shades like reds and oranges. Warmer colors actually raise your heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature. Cool colors can help calm you down and promote relaxation, which is helpful for sleep.
Do not carpet your bedroom.Carpeting is actually a bad idea in your bedroom due to the synthetic nylons found in many commercials carpets. Unfortunately, when you're renting or on a budget you cannot always replace carpeting with hardwood floors in your bedroom. If this is the case, look for all natural fiber area rugs and spread them across your bedroom. This may help you sleep better at night.
Have dim lights only in the bedroom.As already noted, lighting has a dramatic effect on the sleep/wake cycle. Try to limit use of bright lights in the bedroom.
- Keep dim lamps in the bedroom and avoid turning on fluorescent overhead lights if they're present in your room.
- Do not keep a television set in your bedroom. Avoid using your laptop or other electronics in the bedroom. Try powering off your laptop and smart phone half an hour before bed.
Making Preparations for Sleep
Consume caffeine early in the day only.While you don't have to cut out coffee completely to better you sleep schedule, be conscious about when you drink caffeine and in what amount.
- Moderate caffeine intake, which is around three 8 ounce cups of coffee a day, is not associated with any health risks. However, consuming even a moderate amount of caffeine late in the day affects sleep. As caffeine is a stimulant, it can increase alertness and even induce anxiety. This can easily result in trouble sleeping.
- Try to keep your caffeine consumption early in the day. Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages after 2PM. While coffee is a major culprit when it comes to caffeine, be aware some teas and many sodas also contain caffeine.
Manage your workout routine in accordance with sleep.Regular physical activity is greatly beneficial to forming a good sleep schedule. However, exercising too late in the day can make sleeping difficult.
- Try to get some vigorous physical aerobic activity in, like jogging, 3 or 4 times a week. This can help with your overall health and also help regulate your circadian rhythm. However, do not engage in vigorous exercise within 2 to 3 hours before bed.
- If physical activity helps you unwind after a long day, try moderate activity like a brief walk around the block close to bedtime.
Establish a routine to wind down before sleep.Having established ritual you associate with bedtime can help signal your body that it's time to wind down and rest. Choose a low-key, relaxing activity to engage in close to bedtime.
- Many people enjoy non-caffeinated tea as it has a calming effect for some. Try chamomile tea or SleepyTime teas sold at supermarkets.
- Reading is a great activity to slow your mind down in preparation for sleep. However, be mindful of the material you read. Anything too heavy may distress you, making sleep more difficult.
- Watching television can interfere with sleep, due to the light it produces. However, if there's a particular show that helps you calm down it might be okay to watch a small amount of television. Watch lighthearted programming over the news or drama shows. You do not want to watch anything that will cause you distress and interfere with sleep.
Manage your stress.Often, stress and anxiety can result in difficulty sleeping. If this is the case, finding ways to manage your stress more effectively throughout the day can help you regulate your sleep schedule.
- Practicing meditation is a good way to help shut your mind off close to bedtime. There are a variety of guided meditations available on wikiHow, online and in books; there are even ones offered through smart phone apps. You can buy books on meditation online or from a bookstore or borrow copies from your local library.
- Journaling can help with troublesome thoughts. Try writing down your worries in a notebook half an hour before bed, then putting it aside. Writing it out might help you get negative thoughts out of your system so they don't bother you while you're trying to sleep.
- If you have habitual struggles with depression and anxiety, it might be a good idea to find a therapist or counselor. You can find one by searching online, going through your insurance provider, or asking for a referral from your primary care physician. If you're a student, you may have access to free therapy through your college or university.
QuestionWhat if I turn off my alarm and go back to sleep?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDon't keep the alarm clock right by your bed, put it across the room so you have to get up to turn it off. As soon as you get up, open the curtains and/or jump in the shower to wake yourself up.Thanks!
QuestionIs white a cool color?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, white is a cool color.Thanks!
QuestionIs it okay if I consume caffeine in the afternoon if it makes me sleepy?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, that's fine as long as the caffeine doesn't negatively impact your sleep.Thanks!
QuestionHow much sleep does my 13-year-old daughter need?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTeenagers usually need about 9-11 hours of sleep according to the National Sleep Foundation.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if I have an activity/commitment that interferes with my sleep schedule?CyanCodingCommunity AnswerConsider changing your activities/commitments or seeing if you can leave early. Another possibility would be going to sleep at a specific hour every night. If your activity sometimes finishes around 10-11, you could consistently go to sleep around 11:30 or 12.Thanks!
QuestionWhen should I get up if I go to sleep at 1:00 p.m.?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerSome people sleep as many as 10 hours, while others may sleep as few as six hours. Get up at different times to see what works for you, or just wake up when necessary. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep, so it also depends on how old you are.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if I don't hear my alarm?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you are worried that you won't hear your alarm in the morning, you might consider changing the volume of your alarm, or setting more than one alarm to go off a few minutes after each other.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if I am home-schooled?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerMaybe you could ask your parents or teachers a good time to go to sleep and wake up in the morning.Thanks!
- Listen to relaxing music. Soothing music or even self-hypnosis tapes can help calm down your thoughts, effectively de-stressing you and helping you drift off into a nice, peaceful sleep.
- Reading a book a few minutes of reading before bedtime may help to shift the brainwaves into a slower pattern. This induces the body into a sleepy state, thus making falling asleep much easier.
- Lay your head down and close your eyes. Even if you don't sleep, you are at least resting.
- Imagine a big pink eraser, slowly erasing your body and mind, count sheep, or imagine yourself as Alice from Alice in Wonderland, falling down a hole.
- If you live with roommates, family, or a significant other explain to those in your household you're working on your sleep routine. Ask them for support and to not distract you with loud music or conversation while you're trying to wind down for bed.
- There are some over-the-counter sleep aids available at most drug stores. If you have a lot of trouble sleeping, ask your doctor what sleep aids might be right for you. Never take any new medication without consulting your doctor first.
- Try drinking one cup of warm milk. If you like your drinks sweet put a sugar in and stir. Sugar has nothing to do with hyperactivity.
- Stay away from caffeine and alcohol. It is common sense to avoid stimulants such as coffee, tea and other caffeinated drinks at least 4 to 6 hours before bedtime. Alcohol, though a depressant with immediate sleep-inducing effects, can cause you to wake up as the alcohol levels in your blood start to fall a few hours later.
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