Night time rituals for a good night’s rest

A warm shower before bed

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No matter how early your day starts, or how late your day ends, taking a warm shower when you get home is always an amazing feeling. After doing so much throughout the day, it’s always good to just take some time to reflect on yourself, under the warm trickles of water. 

One of the best ways to improve your sleep is to take a hot shower at night.  If you time it at the right time, you’ll quickly doze off into dream automatically. According to Dr. Dianne Augelli, from the Center for Sleep Medicine at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, you want to shower a few hours before bed.

Body temperature plays a big role in regulating your circadian rhythm, which Informs the body when to be alert/sleepy.  As the day progresses up until the late afternoon, your body heat increases. When time reverses, your temperature begins to drop. When your body cools down, it’s a sign telling us that we need to go to sleep. When you interrupt this process or put your circadian rhythm out of whack, you decrease your quality of sleep.

Shelby Harris, director of behavioral sleep medicine at New York’s Montefiore Medical Center, says showering in the early evenings give your body a chance to cool off and induce sleep. By timing your late-night showers right, at least 1hr and a half before bed, you’ll give your body enough time to come down and relax. So, the next time you take your next shower, or bath, do it early, remained focused and catch some zzz’s.

Dim the lights

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Lights have a significant impact on the quality of your sleep. When you wake up in the morning (If you have windows facing the sun) you will get exposed to a ray of light that will fuel you throughout the day. Light exposure, early in the day, stimulates your body and mind, makes you alert and energetic, and keeps you awake.

Darkness, on the other hand, is very important for the quality of sleep you’ll get. When there is no light, your body will be alerted that it is time to rest.  Having light exposure at night can alter your body’s internal biological “sleep clock” (A biological process that regulates your sleep-wake cycles). When this happens, this interferes with the amount of sleep you get and how you feel when you wake up.

Melatonin, a hormone produced by the brains pineal gland for sleep, influences sleep by shooting signals to the brain to sleep. This process initiates the body’s physiological preparations for sleep, relaxes your muscles, makes you drowsy and lowers your body temperature. After it becomes dark, your melatonin levels naturally rise throughout most of the night, up until 3 am. Melatonin levels come back down during the early morning and remain low throughout the day.

In today’s society, we are surrounded by light 24/7. From our phones to our city streets, to even the sky, finding darkness is a very difficult time. All day we are surrounded by light from our electronics and our workspaces, but when we get home, we spend our times watching TV and on our phones. Many people don’t realize how serious not getting a proper balance of light and dark can disrupt your sleep.

Making your bedroom’s light exposure perfect for sleep should be a priority for everyone. With good planning, awareness, and attention, your room can become the perfect sleep oasis for minimal light. 

During the night, make sure your windows are heavily covered with dark shades or curtains. You can order blackout shades online that does just the job.

  • Make sure all lights in your home are turned off
  • Turn your phone on blue light mode and sleep with it facing down
  • Turn your TV off  
  • Buy a light dimmer for each room of your home

Before bed, your body needs a good amount of time to prepare for sleep. You need to train it to have a sleep routine that includes increases/decreases in room lighting.  An hour before bed, you should dim the lights in your bedroom. Turn off all of your electronics and just focus on any manual activity, such as reading a book, drawing or writing.

When the hour is up, consider wearing a sleep mask to deepen the darkness and protect you from unnecessary light.  Choose a mask that’s comfortable, flexible and won’t irritate your face. Within time, wearing an eye mask will almost be second nature and a part of your nighttime routine.

Taking the time to get the perfect dark sleeping environment is one easy way to improve your nightly rest.

Wear Socks to bed

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For a long time, there has been a debate on if you should wear your socks to bed. Although some people hate it, it’s actually been proven to help you fall into dreamland. Heating your feet up causes vasodilation (dilation of the blood vessels) which alerts your brain that it’s time to sleep.  Once your blood vessels are open in the hands and feet, heat is redistributed all throughout the body to activate the sleep cycle.

Humans are able to regulate their own bodies and because our biggest temperature change happens in the middle of the night, wearing socks helps ensure that the heat lost is transferred all throughout your body. Our feet, and hands, are made to handle heat loss more effectively than the rest of your body.

Although there are many reasons to consider not sleeping with socks such as bad hygiene, not aesthetically pleasing and an ugly site for your partner, socks can keep from freezing.  We would suggest to you and your partner to go sock shopping and avoid the awkward discovery of being caught wearing socks in the middle of an important night moment.

By incorporating these easy to do routines into your sleep routine, you can ensure daily trips to LA LA Land and wake up feeling refreshed every day. Good sleep is the key to a good life.