Summer is over and the busy fall season has kicked into high gear. You might already be exhausted trying to balance back to school schedules, your work routine, family responsibilities, and trying to fit more than 24 hours into a day!
Stress and exhaustion can get the best of us any time of year, and getting enough sleep is critical to combat both. Even if getting quality shuteye every night doesn’t seem possible, making a few adjustments to your “lights-out” routine might be the key to help you avoid burn out.
Here are some tips for a healthy bedtime routine:
“Lights Out” Should Mean All Lights Out
Far too many of us sit up in bed with our computers or cell phones, trying to squeeze in the last bit of work for the day or catch up with the news. However, the blue light from these devices might be preventing you from getting the quality and quantity of sleep you need.
The blue light emitted by phones and computers can suppress melatonin and shift your body’s circadian rhythm. Experts recommend avoiding bright screens two or three hours before bed. Surprisingly, our tech devices are not the only producers of blue light in the bedroom — many energy-efficient bulbs also give off large amounts of blue light. It’s best to use dim red night lights in the bedroom, which are less likely to affect melatonin levels. 
Make Practicing Gratitude or Meditation a Bedtime Ritual
Practicing gratitude and writing in a gratitude journal each night before bedtime has major health benefits. Studies indicate it can also help you sleep better at night, fall asleep faster, and be more focused during the day. 
In addition to gratitude journaling before bed, research has shown that meditation offers many sleep benefits. It can help ward off negative thoughts and insomnia as well as reduce stress. Meditation has been shown to increase melatonin and have an influence on the parts of the brain that affect sleep. 
Create a Regular Bedtime Routine
Going to bed at the same time every night is vital for your body to find its circadian rhythm.  Committing to a regular bedtime and creating a routine for the hour leading up to it can help you relax and fall asleep more easily. Simple activities like taking a warm bath, washing your face, or even setting your alarm clock can be part of your lights out routine.
While it might be tempting, do try to forgo alcohol, caffeine, or sugary beverages and snacks late into the evening. Food and drink before bedtime can be disruptive to your sleep cycle and should be avoided a few hours before you go to sleep.
While there is no conclusive evidence, some studies suggest that certain herbal teas might help you fall asleep more easily. Chamomile tea has long been considered to have a relaxing effect, and some research shows it may promote better sleep. 
Making sure that you have a structured routine not only promotes better sleep, but studies show it can reduce your stress levels, increase your focus, and manage anxiety throughout the day. A regular routine can also ensure that you set aside some much needed time for yourself to help avoid burn out. 
To learn more about how CCPHP can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle, fill out the form below and we will be in contact with you.
 Harvard Medical School (July 7, 2020). Blue light has a dark side. Harvard Health Publishing. Retrieved from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side
 Summer Allen (March 5, 2018). Is Gratitude Good for Your Health? Greater Good Magazine. Retrieved from: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/is_gratitude_good_for_your_health
 Kirsten Nunez (January 13, 2020). 3 Ways to Meditate for Better Sleep. Healthline. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/health/meditation-for-sleep#how-to-meditate
 Dr. Alex Dimitriu (August 6, 2020). What is Circadian Rhythm? SleepFoundation.org. Retrieved from: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/what-circadian-rhythm
 Zawin Villines (January 6, 2020). What are the benefits of chamomile tea? Medical News Today. Retrieved from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320031#benefits-of-chamomile-tea
 Kendra Cherry (April 21, 2020). The Importance of Maintaining Structure and Routine Duing Stressful Times. Verywell Mind. Retrieved from: https://www.verywellmind.com/the-importance-of-keeping-a-routine-during-stressful-times-4802638