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Falling asleep is more of a process than an event. You can turn out the lights with just the flip of a switch, but it’s harder for your mind and body to “turn off” at night.
It takes some time for your body to transition from daytime activity to sleep. So you should set aside about 20 to 30 minutes for this time of transition before your bedtime. A consistent, nightly routine signals to your body that it is time to prepare for sleep.
Establishing a bedtime routine is important for people of all ages. Research shows that a relaxing routine even helps infants and toddlers fall asleep faster.
A typical routine for children might begin with a warm bath. Afterward, parents can give a massage to an infant or apply soothing lotion to an older child before brushing their teeth. The next step can involve a few minutes of quiet interaction – cuddling, reading a story or singing a lullaby. Then it’s time to turn out the lights.
The routine may be different for teens and adults, but promoting relaxation is still the key. Some examples of the steps you might want to include in your bedtime routine are:
- Taking a warm bath or shower
- Drinking a small glass of milk or a mug of herbal tea
- Writing in a journal
- Reading a pleasant book or magazine
- Listening to relaxing music
There is no routine that is best for everyone. For your bedtime routine, focus on doing whatever is most relaxing to you. Then try to follow this routine every night to promote a good night’s sleep.