Sleep is essential for physical and mental health and for helping to manage symptoms for those with chronic illness. Many things promoted to improve sleep cost money and can be expensive. However, improving your sleep doesn’t have to cost a penny! Here is my nighttime routine to sleep better, with 5 easy things that are free to do and so affordable and accessible for everyone. It’s allowed me to fall asleep quicker, wake fewer times during the night and wake up with more energy in the morning.
Disclaimer: This post is intended for informational purposes only. This is not intended to constitute or be a substitute for medical advice. Please consult a qualified practitioner if you have any questions regarding medical problems. This post may contain affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you I will earn commission if you click on a link and make a purchase. See my full disclaimer here.
Sleep is vital for physical and mental health. It:-
- Boosts our immune system,
- Increases our energy,
- Eases anxiety and stress and
- Improves mood, just to name a few benefits (1).
Sleep is something that has the biggest impact on how I feel each day yet it’s often the thing I struggled most with. When researching ways to improve sleep, the following are commonly recommended:-
- Blue light blocking glasses,
- Melatonin powder,
- Herbal teas,
- Exercise early in the day.
These things cost money and can be expensive, while advice like exercising early in the day is unattainable for those with chronic illness who are unable or have a limited capacity to exercise.
free 5 step nighttime routine to sleep better
However, improving your sleep doesn’t have to cost anything! Below is the 5 step nighttime routine I go through every evening to help me sleep better. All 5 things are free and, therefore, accessible and affordable for everyone.
N – No screens 2 hours before bed
Artificial light from phones, laptops and tv’s etc. causes the production of melatonin, the hormone which causes us to feel sleepy, to be switched off. This causes us to feel more alert at bedtime, resulting in us taking longer to fall asleep, wake more times during the night and wake up feeling fatigued in the morning (2).
I – In bed by 10pm
Between 10pm and 2am is when the deepest and most regenerative sleep occurs, with every hour of sleep before midnight worth two after (3). Failing to get sufficient deep sleep during these hours increases the risk of waking up in the middle of the night between 2am-4am and makes it more difficult to get back to sleep when our sleep becomes shallower and more superficial(4).
G – Gratitude
Listing 3-5 things you’re grateful for is the most commonly recommended gratitude practice. Listing these things eases anxiety and stress, prevents us laying in bed mulling over negative thoughts and has been shown to cause people to fall asleep quicker, sleep for longer and feel more refreshed in the morning (5).
H – Have dinner by 7pm
Foods can take up to 3 hours to be fully digested. Consuming foods too close to going to bed means your digestive system won’t have finished digesting dinner before sleeping and so will still be active instead of resting like it should be. This can disrupt sleep and cause digestive problems (6).
T – Take time to unwind
Activities like prayer, slow deep breathing exercises and restorative yoga activate the parasympathetic nervous system, our rest and digest system, which promotes relaxation and has been shown to improve sleep by allowing us to fall asleep quicker, wake fewer times during the night and increase the amount of deep sleep we get, causing us to feel more energised and refreshed in the morning (7, 8, 9).
other sleep blog posts
OTHER BLOG POSTS ON HEALTH AND WELLNESS
Click to read my other blog posts with tips and strategies that are helping me improve my health and wellbeing:-
- Anxiety & Stress Relief – 15 Things To Do In Bed
- Healthy Food Swaps For Any Dietary Requirement
- Vagus Nerve Exercises – 12 Ways To Improve Physical & Mental Health
- 15 Easy Ways To Reduce Chemicals In Your Home (& Why It’s Important For Health)
- 5 Tips To Maximise The Health Benefits Of Sunlight
- 5 Simple Swaps To Ease Morning Anxiety & Stress
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I hope these tips are helpful. Do you have a nighttime routine to sleep better? What does your bedtime routine involve? I’d love to know. Leave me a comment below or message me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or YouTube.