Developing a real nighttime routine is one of those "adulting" situations that a lot of us never quite get around to. Instead, we watch TV, scroll through our phones and just hope for the best. Sleep specialist Michael Breus, PhD, has created a 3-step routine that he says can be used in just about any scenario.
"Here’s the thing to remember, though: Sleep is not an 'on/off' switch," Breus wrote for Fast Company. "It’s more like slowly pulling your foot off the gas, and slowly applying pressure onto the brake instead."
He's created a 60-minute "power down" nighttime routine that he says is adaptable to each person's needs.
The basics of the routine are:
Stage 1: Use the first 20 minutes to wrap up anything that must get done before tomorrow.
Stage 2: Use the next 20 minutes for your hygiene routine.
Stage 3: Use the last 20 min for some type of meditation or relaxation.
It's a pretty basic setup that anyone can implement into their days. Breus suggests creating a bedtime (with the help of his calculator) and setting an alarm on your phone to remind you when it's time to wind down.
He's also created variations of this 3-step routine, depending on personality types and interests. For example, he suggests athletes take a hot bath for 15-minutes and consider using Epsom salts. Travelers could spend a few minutes checking emails or a quick phone call to loved ones at home. Parents could start their bedtime routine by getting their kids' school lunches ready, and sedentary desk workers can spend some time planning their workout for the next day.
To see more detailed bedtime routines from Breus, check out his article on Fast Company.