Life Wellbeing Bedtime routines keeping you awake
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Bedtime routines keeping you awake

The New Daily
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We know that looking at our phones before bed can seriously disrupt our quality of sleep, but what are the other things that we should be avoiding in an ideal bedtime routine?

The New Daily gets some tips from the experts on the ultimate bedtime routine for a refreshing night’s sleep.

• Sleeping alone has some surprising upsides
• New studies on sleep – are you getting enough?

Create a ‘buffer zone’

Sleep Health Foundation director Professor Dorothy Bruck says that it’s important to create a ‘buffer zone’ an hour or two before going to bed to unwind.

“This is not the time to do work, it’s not the time to expose yourself to close up computer screens,” Professor Bruck says.

“We know that the blue light from a computer screen can suppress the melatonin that can help you go to sleep.”

“Dimmed lights are good, non-stressful activities; sometimes a warm bath or a shower. Raising your core body temperature can actually help sleep onset.”

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Keep your phone away from your bed for a better night’s sleep.

What to avoid

Professor Bruck warns that stress and work related tasks can be disruptive before you go to bed.

“Work related activities that get your mind going, anything that stimulates you should be avoided,” she says.

“Quarantine them off from being anything to do with the wind-down time and the bedtime.”

“Any sort of vigorous exercise can stimulate you too and prevent you going off to sleep easily. Any heavy meal late at night is not good.”

There are some surprising things, however, that can be included in your evening routine.

“A glass or two of wine over dinner is not going to be a problem,” Professor Bruck says.

Ideal bedtime activities

Journalist and author of I Quit Sugar, Sarah Wilson recently discussed her bedtime routine, which includes

Sarah Wilson has a "pedantic" bedtime routine.
Sarah Wilson has a “pedantic” bedtime routine.

meditation, camomile tea and a hot shower.

“I’m a baaaaad sleeper and so my routine is a little, um, pedantic,” Wilson wrote.

“I drink several cups of chamomile tea from about 30 minutes after dinner until an hour before bed.”

“I have a hot shower, stretch for 10 minutes, read for 10 minutes, apply earplugs and an eye mask…,” she wrote.

Professor Bruck says that there’s no rule for an ideal bedtime routine, so long as it’s relaxing and something you are comfortable with.

“I wouldn’t want to see that it had to be a rigid check list because everybody’s different and everybody has a different way of unwinding,” Professor Bruck says.

She says people may like to read, have a cup of decaffeinated tea, listen to music or meditate.

“It’s for people to think a little bit about what helps them unwind and to keep that routine.”

Are you actually tired?

Professor Bruck also warns against going to bed too early, before you might actually need to.

“If you go to bed too early, then you might fall asleep straight away, but you might wake up an hour later and then be quite wakeful throughout the night,” Professor Bruck says.

“Sometimes it’s useful to think about ‘am I tired from the day or am I sleepy? Am I actually ready to sleep?’ Sometimes people misinterpret those.”