Nighttime Routines For Better Sleep & Productivity

Written by Lauren Modery
Scientifically Reviewed by Kyle Hammerick, PhD
July 1, 2019
Fact Checked

How can I design a nighttime routine to sleep better?

Americans clock in at an average of just 6.8 hours of sleep each night, and a whopping 1 in 3 American adults don’t get the recommended seven hours of sleep.

Think getting less than seven hours of sleep each night is no big thing? Think again. Sleep deprivation is linked to an increased likelihood of developing obesity, heart disease, diabetes and psychological distress (like anxiety and insomnia).

So, why are Americans getting less and less sleep? The list of factors is endless. Internal and external stresses, use of smart devices before bed, abnormal work hours, pain, anxiety, and side effects of medicine are just a few modern-day causes of sleep deprivation.

Relationship Between Better Sleep and a More Productive Day

If you’re one of the many Americans suffering from sleep deprivation, creating a nightly ritual can help improve your sleep.

According to Sleep.org by The National Sleep Foundation, setting a routine before bed can help you “fall asleep more easily at night and stay asleep until morning.”

Here are five ways to formulate your nighttime ritual starting now.

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Nighttime Routine Checklist

1. Put away your devices

We know putting your phone down at night is hard, but you gotta do it. Studies have found a direct correlation between technology use before bed and difficulty sleeping. Blue light, which is found in televisions, cell phones, laptops and tablets, keeps your brain alert and wreaks havoc on your circadian rhythm. Try setting a curfew for your devices, preferably one hour before bed (or if you truly can’t resist a late night Instagram check-in, consider using “night shift” mode). If you need a distraction to help you fall asleep, consider reading a good ol’ fashion book or listening to music instead. And if you find the urge to pick up your phone or tablet, put your devices in another room where they’re out of your desperate reach.

2. Add hemp to your routine

Hemp is a non-psychoactive (i.e. it doesn’t get you high) plant that contains many powerful molecules. You’ve probably heard a lot about hemp recently and for good reason. Early studies have shown promising results with hemp and insomnia: "According to a recent study at Harvard, 'Hemp extract is commonly used to address anxiety, and for patients who suffer through the misery of insomnia, studies suggest that hemp molecules may help with both falling asleep and staying asleep.” A recent study published in the Permanente Journal found that the majority of patients who used hemp extract had improved anxiety and sleep levels. Since hemp is relatively new to the wellness scene (it became federally legal for the first time since 1937 through the 2018 Farm Bill), research is continuing, but many users have found hemp to help with sleep.

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3. Track your sleep

In order to create good, healthy habits, sometimes you need a little accountability. That’s why sleep tracking devices and apps can be a beneficial tool in your step towards healthy sleep. Activity trackers such as Fitbit, Leaf, Whoop and Oura show you your sleep stages, sleep schedule and sleep quality, helping you keep better tabs on your pain points and strengths. Currently the Apple Watch doesn’t have its own built-in sleep tracker, but there are a plethora of sleeping apps it supports, including Pillow Automatic Sleep Tracker, Sleep Watch by Bodymatter, Sleep Cycle smart alarm clock and Sleep++.

4. Create a relaxing regimen

Our lives can get pretty hectic, with self care going out the window. Before bed is the perfect time to pamper oneself, which in turn, can help your mind and body wind down for sleep. First, pick a specific time to start winding down each night - this will send your body and mind cues that bedtime is coming. Steeping yourself in a hot bath is a great way to start a pre-bedtime ritual. When you sit in warm water, your body temperature rises and the immediate cooling off effect can help you sleep more soundly. Next, consider diffusing lavender oil as part of your aromatherapy regimen. Studies have shown that lavender helps with restlessness, sleep quality and duration of sleep. And last but not least, sipping on some sleepytime tea before bed can help promote the zzzs. Most sleep-inducing teas feature natural sleep aids such as chamomile, valerian root, lemon balm, passionflower, lavender and licorice. There’s always the old-school Celestial Seasons Sleepytime tea, but there are tons of great products now available in your local grocery store or health food store.

5. Write tomorrow’s to-do list

Thinking and writing about your life before bed sounds like a bad idea for relaxation, but a 2017 study found that participants who wrote a to-do list before bed fell asleep faster than those who wrote about what they accomplished over the previous days. Psychology Today concluded that the act of unloading tomorrow’s worries “help us hit the pause button” on the overwhelming thoughts cycling through our mind. Bonus points if you use pen and paper to write your list (no devices before bed, remember?).

We hope these suggestions will help jump start your ritual to wellness. If you’ve found any pre-bedtime rituals that have worked for you, please share with us on Instagram.

Better sleep means a better tomorrow, with more focus, more energy and better outcomes.

Note: Hemp is not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure diseases. Before taking hemp products, consult with your doctor if you’re taking medication or have any concerns.

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Health
Productivity

Sources

  • www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0215-enough-sleep.html
  • www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/files/pdfs/Common-Causes-Inadequate-Sleep.pdf
  • healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/science/how/external-factors
  • www.sleep.org/articles/design-perfect-bedtime-routine/
  • www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiency
  • jcsm.aasm.org/viewabstract.aspx?pid=29250
  • www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/smartphone-iphone-apple-night-shift-mode-tim-cook-technology-silicon-valley-a8139701.html
  • hbr.org/2015/08/research-shows-how-anxiety-and-technology-are-affecting-our-sleep
  • www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6326553/
  • www.fitbit.com/sleep-better
  • www.bellabeat.com/
  • www.whoop.com/experience/
  • ouraring.com
  • apps.apple.com/us/app/pillow-smart-sleep-tracking/id878691772
  • apps.apple.com/us/app/sleep-watch-by-bodymatter/id1138066420
  • apps.apple.com/in/app/sleep-cycle-alarm-clock/id320606217
  • apps.apple.com/us/app/sleep/id1038440371
  • www.health.com/health/condition-article/0,,20189095,00.html
  • www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3612440/
  • www.healthline.com/nutrition/teas-that-help-you-sleep
  • www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29058942
  • www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/brain-waves/201801/the-connection-between-writing-and-sleep

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