Now that summer vacation is winding down, it’s a good time to start developing a nightly routine so you can wake up fresh and well-rested for class, the remote office, or the to-be-named hot dog start-up you’ve recently created with your BFF.
No matter the particulars of your nightly wind-down routine, simply having one is a great start and will signal to your brain that it is officially “sleepy time.” Here are seven healthy nighttime habits to include to help you reset before the back-to-school/work season.
Ban your devices
Set a time before bed when devices are banned from sight and use. Everyone has heard that bright screens from our tablets, phones, and laptops simulate daylight and keep your brain active, but it’s also hard to turn them off and wind down when every app is designed to keep you online.
Only the superhuman can sleep with the sound of work emails pinging their inbox. Just put the phone on Do Not Disturb and walk away. Start with no devices for an hour before bed if you can.
Dim the lights
Bright lights are for waking hours, so when you put your screens to bed, also take a look around your space and turn off unnecessary lighting. Cozy bedside lamps? Good. Illuminating overhead lighting that could outshine the sun? Not so good. Scented candles are a great two-birds-with-one-stone option and can relax you further with soothing scents like lavender or bergamot.
Introduce yourself to smart brushing
Creating a sustainable nighttime routine isn’t about adding a ton of steps to your evenings — it’s about adding smarter steps to improve your mental and physical health.
Case in point? The Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart toothbrush. This little wonder has smart sensors that track in-mouth location, scrubbing, and pressure usage. These sensors, combined with the personalized 3D mouth map, not only help track your brushing habits, but can also help you improve target areas through the Philips Sonicare App.
This toothbrush even has a personalized guidance setting that tracks which spots you’ve missed and takes you back to them for 100% coverage. With four modes — Clean for daily cleaning; Gum Health for a gentle clean along the gum line; White+ to remove stains; and Deep Clean for an invigorating deep clean — it will give you that dentist-clean feel from the comfort of home. Plus, the DiamondClean Smart toothbrush removes up to 10 times more plaque than a manual toothbrush.
Brushing your teeth is also a good way to curb cravings for sugary snacks pre-bedtime that will keep you up and fiending for just one more bowl of cereal.
Yin for the win
Generally, exercise should be limited to at least three hours before bed, but Yin yoga is far from vigorous. It’s resting in relaxing or light stretch positions for long periods of time. Like, very long. One pose could be 10 to 20 minutes. Sometimes you rest your head on an actual pillow.
Not all Yin is the same. Some sessions are long classes, others are shorter 10-minute pre-bedtime routines, but the name of the game is chilling and deep breathing. This is going to slow your heart rate, relax you, and get you ready for bed.
People often recommend a hot bath before bed for those who are having trouble sleeping because of the temperature change from the hot water to a cold sleeping environment. This drop in body temperature is another way to signal that it’s time for bed.
However, not everyone always has time for a bath (or likes baths), so sipping some hot (caffeine-free) tea, like peppermint or chamomile, can both soothe you and simulate the same effect.
Put pen to paper
There’s no need to go full journal sesh before bed. But if you’re stressed or anxious, sometimes capturing your thoughts and putting them in writing, like in a to-do list, can help quiet the mind. That way, they’re recorded and your brain doesn’t have to obsess or worry about forgetting things.
A bedtime story
Giving yourself a story to look forward to can be a positive reinforcement for sticking to your nightly routine. Reading from a book or e-reader (these are not back-lit and therefore do not count as lava) can tucker the eyes out quickly, but listening to Stephen Fry read chapters of a Harry Potter audio book can also do the trick. (Bonus: wizard dreams).
Pick and choose which options appeal to you, invest in your nightly routine, and stick to it. The more you do, the easier it will be to get to sleep, enjoy quality sleep when you do, and wake up ready for a new day of video meetings and side hustles.