Do you ever turn out the lights wishing your mind could power down as quickly as your laptop just did? At a time when you need to be resting and slipping into that almost-asleep zone, thoughts often pop up like phone alerts, your overloaded brain can’t seem to shut down, and deep sleep is kissed goodbye.
Achieving a consistent night of peaceful sleep is less about what happens during your time spent horizontal (although that’s important!), and more about what you do in the hours before lights out. Since your pre-sleep habits, conscious or otherwise, directly impact how rested and refreshed you feel the next day—here are ten common ones to consider putting to rest that might be keeping you from deep, rejuvenating sleep:
1. Not Prioritizing Sleep
Making changes to your sleep habits depend on this one king-pin: not prioritizing your sleep. Recognizing that sleep is one of the best things you can do for your wellbeing and committing to making it a priority will tip the balance of your wellness equation in your favor more than you might think. The fact is: if you want to be your best self you need to sleep well.
2. Not Getting Enough Daytime Rays
When it’s daytime, your body needs light exposure—this helps to normalize your circadian rhythm (your 24-hour internal clock) throughout the day (not just right before bed) and goes a long way toward a deeper sleep overnight. Draw the blinds first thing, enjoy your coffee outside or at a light-filled window, and take a walk during your breaks at work.
3. Screens, Screens, Screens
Not exactly a newsflash, but electronic devices are now pervasive in our everyday lives, and that includes in the bedroom. Most of us know intellectually that we shouldn’t be exposed to blue light rays beyond sunset, but actually switching them off requires more than just willpower (which wanes later in the day anyway). Swap your late-night scrolling habit for a juicy book or a steamy shower, turn on the sleep sounds, and feel yourself decompressing.
4. Bright Lights at Night
Light exposure at night interferes with the body’s production of melatonin (essentially tricking the body into thinking it's daytime) and can easily interfere with sleep quality. In the hour before bedtime, gradually turn off some lights, dim the ones left on to a bare minimum and even light some candles—allowing your body to unwind and bring closure to your day.
5. Non-Existent Wind-down Time
“Yikes is that the time already?!” You are not alone if you’re trying to squeeze every last waking moment out of your day to finish a work project, prepare for that meeting tomorrow, or catch up on your favorite Netflix series (“finally, some ‘me’ time!”). But none of those help your mind and body to gently unwind and ease into a state of calm—the precursor to deep sleep. Decide on a cut-off time (ideally at least three hours after sunset) and invest in some sleep self-care.
6. Rising & Retiring At Varying Times Each Night
Having a regular bedtime and wake up time isn’t just for the kids. When it comes to our sleep cycles, our brains like a predictable pattern; this is because our bodies follow a circadian rhythm and that relies on consistency. Waking at the same time each day serves as an anchor for your body which simultaneously lets your body know you’re now on the countdown for bedtime.
7. Missing the Bedtime Window
When a baby misses their nap time window and stays up too long they get irritable and cry. The adult version of missing this sleep window is you feel tired but wired—exhausted but unable to wind down. While unique to each person, this window is generally about three hours after sundown (9 pm - 11 pm)—notice when you feel sleepy or dozy, get off the couch, brush your teeth, and head to bed.
8. Cranking Up the Thermostat
Crisp and cool evenings may make you want to crank up the thermostat, but you’ll sleep better if you don’t. Get cozy in temperatures of somewhere between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit, considered optimal as it causes a drop in your core body temperature that initiates sleepiness.
9. Not Creating a Comforting Sleep Den
How do you feel when you walk into your bedroom? Is it tranquil and calming or does it remind you of the chaos of daily life? Clothes piled up in a corner, a desk with reminder notes or television at the foot of your bed all contribute towards a low-quality sleep environment. Having a clean, cool, dark, and tranquil sleep environment is key.
10. Taking the Day’s Tension to Bed
Tension and feeling out of balance are unwelcome sleeping partners—yet too often we take them to bed with us. Spend some time putting your daily tension to one side with things like journalling, a guided meditation, or inhale some aromatic essential oils.
Sleep is something that people skimp on most often, whether due to pressures like work, commuting, kids and full schedules or because they believe they can simply “power through it”. But the fact is: sleep is one of the best things we can do for our wellbeing, it’s not selfish, and not sleeping isn't the badge of honor it once was. So once you figure out which pre-sleep habits to farewell, look forward to spending your nights in a peaceful slumber (instead of wrestling your blankets), and finally put your sleep concerns to rest with our Drift & Dream Collection. Sweet dreams.