How often do you go to bed, but have trouble falling asleep? Most people do not want to spend their time lying awake in bed when they should be sleeping. Tossing and turning is boring, plus time is in short supply for most people. It can be hard enough to set aside ample time for adequate sleep, let alone being in bed for extra time due to wakefulness. Don’t you want to get the most sleep bang for your in-bed buck?
The Lark DPP check-in asked about times when you might go to bed but not be able to sleep, or when you might face obstacles in getting your bedtime routine started. Here are a few tips that just may help you make the most of those precious pre-bed moments so you can get to sleep faster – which can translate into better daytime energy, lower blood sugar, and less hunger.
Monitor the Time
Have you ever noticed that the clock seems to speed up as bedtime approaches? That can leave you with a choice between cutting short your bedtime routine and going to bed before your mind and body are ready, or going to bed late. The result can be wakefulness in bed, or a short night of sleep.
A few nudges can help you keep track of time so bedtime does not sneak up on you. You do not have to watch the clock closely if that makes you anxious. Instead, setting a few alarms might help.
- 15 minutes before you start your bedtime routine to do last-minute necessities, such as checking on the kids one last time, loading the car for tomorrow, or sending one final work email.
- 20 minutes (or however long your routine takes) before bedtime so you have ample time to complete it in a relaxed manner.
- Bedtime so you can complete your routine and be on autopilot to get to bed.
Don’t forget to turn off your phone for the night when that final alarm goes off!
Clear Your Schedule
Many people find it hard to sleep when they have tasks hanging over them, but those “little” to-dos can take longer than expected. Starting early and being realistic about what can get done before bed, can help you stay on track to get started with your bedtime routine. It can take some practice as you figure out what you need to do tonight to be able to sleep well versus what can wait until tomorrow without you worrying about it, as well as how long it will take.
Make Your Routine Work for You
There are nearly infinite possible bedtime routines and activities, so experiment until you find out what seems to help you fall asleep faster. Lark suggested writing down your thoughts, reading, and taking a bath. Other possibilities include:
- Phoning a friend or family member (but not staying on too long!).
- Making a to-do list for tomorrow or planning other parts of tomorrow, such as making a shopping list, getting out workout clothes for tomorrow, or packing your breakfast/lunch).
- Cleaning the house.
Some practice with a bedtime routine and a bit of discipline sticking to it can help you fall asleep faster, which lets you wake up with more energy and better health. Lark DPP can help you track your sleep and figure out what works best for you in this part of your health journey.