How to sleep: The ideal bedtime routine to help you drift off to dreamland

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It’s useless getting into bed before midnight if you’re still tossing and turning till silly o’clock in the morning. If you’d like to have a peaceful sleep, an ideal bedtime routine needs to be implemented.

There are certain precautions you need to take throughout the day, advised Medical News Today, if you want a good chance of a restful slumber.

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The early afternoon

The first thing to avoid is napping during the daytime, as it can disrupt the circadian rhythm.

Even if you didn’t sleep very well the night before, still refrain from a quick shuteye in the afternoon.

As Medical News Today asserted: “It can adversely affect a healthful sleep cycle.”

Daily exercise is encouraged for health reasons, but it can also have a “positive impact on sleep quality”.

However, it’s advisable to exercise earlier on in the day, and not around bedtime.

The early evening

Moreover, it’s best to avoid caffeine for “at least four hours before going to bed”.

READ MORE: How to sleep: Eat this food one hour before bedtime to promote sleep

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How to sleep: The ideal bedtime routine (Image: Getty)

This includes tea, green tea, coffee, hot chocolate, soft fizzy drinks, or energy drinks.

Chocolate that you eat also contains caffeine, so this too should be avoided four hours prior to bedtime.

This is because caffeine “stimulates wakefulness and can disrupt sleep patterns”.

For people very sensitive to caffeine, they may be better off avoiding it completely.

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As the clock keeps ticking on, and the evening draws in, make sure to eat any large meals at least three hours before bedtime.

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This is to allow the body enough time to digest a meal before lying down; otherwise, you may feel nauseous.

Setting up the bedroom

Draw the curtains shut, put on a dim lamp, and make sure your room is cool enough to induce sleep.

The use of lavender essential oil can help create a relaxing environment, and it’s reported to have a positive impact on sleep quality.

Bedtime routine

Take a hot bath or shower, which can be relaxing and can “help prepare the body for sleep”.

As you enter the dimly-lit bedroom, you can meditate for five to 15 minutes, where you focus on your breath.

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A common technique is the “4-7-8 breath” method; this involves breathing in for four seconds, holding the breath for seven seconds, and then slowly exhaling for eight seconds.

“Meditation can help calm an anxious mind”, as it can distract from “busy thoughts”.

This will enable you to “fall asleep more easily”. Once you turn the lamp off, your room needs to be dark.

If it isn’t, you either need to invest in black-out blinds or curtains, or a sleeping mask.

Whatever you do, refrain from looking at an ebook, mobile phone or laptop – even if you haven’t nodded off yet.

Instead, slowly count down from 100… and the next thing you know it might be time to get up for a brand new day.


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