Soothing Bedtime Routines

One healthy sleep habit is having a consistent and soothing bedtime routine. Ideally a bedtime routine begins 30 to 60 minutes prior to bed and is consistent. This signals to your mind and body that it is time to prepare for sleep. A routine can be especially helpful when travelling. A person’s sleep routine is personal: what works for one person may not work for another.

Whatever strategies you use, a consistent bedtime routine that relaxes and calms will lead to a better night’s sleep. Whether at home or away, you can prepare for a good night of sleep with any of the suggested routines.


Dimming lights or surrounding yourself in soft light can signal to your body that it’s time to prepare for sleep. Light plays a key role in regulating our circadian rhythm, the natural daily changes within our bodies that promote wakefulness during the day and promote sleep in the evening. Light from any screen can increase brain alertness, which delays the onset of sleep. In order to get quality sleep, turn screens off one hour prior to bed and keep them off until arising.

Yoga or Gentle Stretching

Yoga or gentle stretching may help decrease sleep disturbances, the need for sleep medication, and help sleep onset. The gentle stretching relaxes your body, preparing it for rest. Yoga can be especially beneficial for older adults or people who experience pain upon waking up.


Mindfulness meditation has been shown to be an effective treatment for insomnia. Stress and anxiety play a major role in poor sleep. Individuals with high stress have a more difficult time falling and staying asleep. Not only can stress and anxiety lead to insufficient sleep, but insufficient sleep can affect mood and lead to stress and anxiety. While yoga relaxes the body, meditating prior to bed relaxes the mind and can aid in relieving stress and anxiety.

A Warm Bath

Why is a warm bath a good choice for a bedtime routine? It’s all about temperature. As the body cools down after a warm bath, it reinforces the 24-hour cycle or circadian rhythm. Each evening, your hands and feet warm slightly signaling the core to cool down in preparation for sleep. Take a long warm bath one to two hours prior to bed for the greatest benefits. A warm shower or foot bath for even 10 minutes can also aid in sleep onset and quality.


 While stress and anxiety can keep you awake at night, journaling can help you relieve worries. Evidence supports the effectiveness of journaling in reducing mental distress, anxiety, and depression – important components to getting a good night’s rest. It can also help to write down your plans for the next day, freeing up your brain for sleep.


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