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Can a bedtime routine help you get better sleep?

Last Updated: May 28, 2021

We all dream about it: the perfect night of sleep. It may seem impossible, but you can make it happen. Experts agree that it all starts with building a basic bedtime routine.

Something we all take for granted is a good night’s sleep. After a hard day’s work, the fact that we can rest for the evening, and, by morning, feel ready to tackle a new day, is incredible.

That “ready for the day” feeling is something scientists have studied for decades. Now we know that getting a good night’s rest is important for more than just feeling your best — it’s central to the healthy functioning of both the mind and body.

But how can we make our sleep better? The consensus from both the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society is that most adults need at least seven hours of sleep each night. But even if you get to bed on time, those seven hours are sometimes full of tossing, turning, bathroom breaks, and phone checks. Seven hours of fitful sleep is certainly not a good night’s rest.

Thankfully, there are a ton of simple, practical tips to help you achieve better sleep. One great one? A bedtime routine. We talked to Amy Hart, Chief Innovation Officer at Elevation Labs, to get her perspective on how to easily get better sleep in a few easy steps.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with a physician or other healthcare professional regarding any medical or health related diagnosis or treatment options.

Should you use melatonin to help you fall asleep?

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Melatonin supplements have become super popular over the past couple of years. Many adults (and teens) take melatonin every night to help them wind down and get sleepy. But is it OK to take melatonin supplements to help you sleep, and can you take melatonin every night?

Johns Hopkins sleep expert Luis F. Buenaver, Ph.D., C.B.S.M. explains what melatonin actually does in your body. “Your body produces melatonin naturally. It doesn’t make you sleep, but as melatonin levels rise in the evening it puts you into a state of quiet wakefulness that helps promote sleep.”

Although you can take a melatonin supplement every night if needed, they should be reserved for times of insomnia, jet lag, or against other sleep inhibitors. Since melatonin is a natural chemical in your body already, you can actually enhance melatonin production naturally (without a supplement) by creating a restful and relaxing environment and bedtime routine. Read on below to see what steps you can take to start your new sleep routine tonight!

Note: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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How to sleep better: Create a bedtime routine

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Considering how important a good night’s sleep is, it makes sense for us to try to get it each and every night. And creating a bedtime routine is one of the best ways to get good sleep.

A bedtime routine is a fixed list of tasks you do before going to bed every night. These can range from taking out the trash to taking a bath to meditating to diffusing some essential oils and reading a novel. In essence, every item in a bedtime routine brings you closer to the mindset and relaxation you need to help you sleep, one way or another!

Creating your own bedtime routine is easy. We’ll go over some basics that work for most people. From there, you can adjust to your own unique needs!

Bedtime routine, part one: Get the bedroom ready

When it comes to getting a good night’s rest, your sleeping environment is just as important as how tired you’re feeling. Here are a few important steps to set up the bedroom.

1. Set a comfortable temperature

Anyone can tell you that sleep is an elusive beast if it's too hot or too cold in your room. Try to control the temperature in your bedroom through air conditioning, heating, fans, windows, and anything else that’s available.

The perfect sleeping temperature varies from person to person, but studies have found the ideal sleep temperature is in the range of 60 to 70 degrees, depending on the person.

2. Reduce light and noise

It’s pretty common knowledge that sudden changes in noise and light can lead to worse sleep, including frequent wake ups. Multiple studies, including one conducted by Lund University in Sweden, confirm this.

When getting your bedroom ready, try to create a lightless environment by turning off all lights and digital devices that give off light. If you live in a noisy area, keep the windows closed, or invest in a white noise machine.

What essential oils are good for sleep?

Amy Hart explains “lavender, chamomile, bergamot, clary sage, valerian, ylang ylang, and sandalwood are some of my favorite essential oils for sleep. I also find customizing blends that work specifically for you, whether it be a scent profile or overall strength of the aroma, is very beneficial. Changing it up from time to time is also nice too.”

Bedtime routine, part two: Get yourself ready

There are tons of things you can do to get your body and brain ready for sleep so that when your head hits the pillow, you actually fall asleep. Hart says “Developing a routine that works best for you helps trigger your body & mind that it’s time to relax. The key is taking extra time for yourself, not rushing through the routine only to lay in bed wide awake. [This includes] not only skincare, but hair care, oral care, and body care (stretching even). Your body is all you’ve got and taking a few extra minutes to relish in the day you’ve had and mentally prepare for a much needed break is key to good health and good self-care all around.”

Here are a few ideas to incorporate into your healthy bedtime routine.
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1. Avoid eating and drinking before bedtime

According to most doctors, you should avoid eating too close to bedtime, as digestive activity combined with lying down can cause heartburn and other uncomfortable symptoms. More agreed upon is the need to avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol, since both can lead to restlessness and sleeping troubles.

2. Avoid screens before bedtime

The amount of light you absorb affects how awake or tired your body feels. This process is called circadian rhythm, and, while complex and nuanced, the basic idea is this: Your body has its own day-night cycle, depending on how much light you’re absorbing. Staring at your phone, TV, or computer before bed can mess with your circadian rhythm, leading your body to confusion about when it should stay awake or fall asleep.

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3. Put your mind at ease

Easier said than done, right? Adding a mindful activity before bed to physically and mentally wind down is very helpful for getting good rest. Try meditating, journaling, or light yoga or stretching as part of your bedtime routine. Use an essential oil to get all of your senses involved — using the same oil will start to teach your body that the scent means it’s bedtime each night. While there is no one way to wind down, activities like these help center the mind and settle down running thoughts.

Cleanse the day away

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Expert Amy Hart says “Ensuring your body and skin are in a well-rested position is key to getting a good night’s sleep. For instance, ensuring your skin is thoroughly cleansed and calmed to take the stress of the day away is always helpful. Also, using a nighttime treatment such as an eye treatment, night essence, or night facial/sleeping mask is also very effective to ensure you’re treating your skin in a therapeutic way while you sleep. Everyone knows hydration is good for inside the body, and the same is true topically – the more hydration we can give our skin during the night while we rest helps aid in the stress or damage we’ve caused during the day (especially during the hot/sun filled summer months)."

What’s a good skincare routine to do before bed?

According to Amy Hart, a bedtime routine doesn’t have to include just activities. It can include skincare too!

Not only are skincare products soothing and hydrating but they usually have calming and relaxing scents as well to help you chill out and wind down.

Here is Amy Hart’s recommended bedtime skincare routine:

What is an easy, effective bedtime routine?

  1. Cleanse

  1. Eye treatments

  1. Facial serum or moisturizer

  1. Facial or sleeping nighttime mask

  1. Lip Treatments
    • Lip skin is the most sensitive skin on our face, it cannot regulate itself so it’s key to ensure you treat your lips well during the night for reparative effects
    • With a 5-star rating from Grove members, we’d give this Burt’s Bees Overnight Intensive Lip Treatment a try ASAP!

Other ways to improve your sleep

Outside of a bedtime routine, here are a few other things you can do to get the best night’s rest possible.

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1. Invest in quality bedding and atmosphere

Do you sleep better at a hotel than at home? That probably means you’re due for some bedding upgrades. Sleeping on a quality mattress, with nice, clean sheets, pillows, and duvets can dramatically improve the quality of your sleep. If you can’t afford new bedding, try a bed mist or essential oils on your mattress to provide a relaxing vacation-like experience.

2. Work your circadian rhythm

Keeping up a healthy circadian rhythm can lead to more productive days and more restful nights. Easy ways to keep your circadian rhythm aligned with your schedule include waking up and going to bed at the same time every day, exposing yourself to plenty of natural sunlight during the day — especially first thing in the morning — and reducing artificial light before bed.

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3. Only use your bed for sleep (and sex, too)

It sounds simple, but psychologically speaking, keeping the bed as something meant for sleeping makes it a whole lot easier to actually sleep when it's time to hit the hay. The association of “bed-equals-sleep” is a powerful mind trick. So don’t retire to your bed for an afternoon of reading, working on your laptop, or facetiming your pals. If you’re not sleeping or getting it on, stay out of your bed.

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