When we think of September, what comes to mind is typically Back to School season - adjusting to that busy schedule of Monday through Friday classes, including homework and after school activities. However, those of us who don’t have kids heading back to school or aren’t starting classes ourselves still can benefit from a re-establishing a good sleep routine - a September Sleep Reset.
In our previous blog post, Back to School: Re-establishing a Healthy Sleep Schedule, we discussed deciding on a wake-up time and working backwards to set up a bedtime routine that works for you. Let’s take a deeper look at each step of that routine.
You’ve established your wake-up time as 6:30 A.M. and know that you need 7 or more hours of sleep¹, therefore bedtime is set for 10:30 P.M. The next step is to schedule a time to begin your bedtime routine every night, anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours before bed.
9:00 P.M. ~ Start time/Light Snack
Consider setting an alarm or notification on your phone for the start of this. It will help serve as a reminder when you’re elbow deep in work on your laptop or engrossed in that latest Netflix series. If you like to enjoy a pre-bedtime snack or beverage, keep it small and simple - oatmeal, yogurt or an herbal tea are great, healthy options.
9:15 P.M. ~ Bath/Shower
Taking a bath or shower before bed can help lower your body temperature for a better night’s sleep. It can also serve as a relaxing ritual that washes off the day and clears the mind.
9:45 P.M. ~ Read
You’ve showered and put on a fresh set of pjs - you’re now ready to grab a book. Reading before bed can strengthen cognitive function, which helps reduce our mental chatter, resulting in a more restful night’s sleep. However, it's important to avoid reading on a screen. That short wave blue light your phone or iPad is emitting can shorten your sleep time and effect your melatonin production. So stick to a Kindle or an old-fashioned hard copy. We love Reese’s Book Club for new suggestions!
10:15 P.M. ~ Prep Your Bedroom Environment
The last few minutes of your routine should be dedicated to preparing your bedroom for optimal sleep. Adjust the room temperature to a cool 60°-67°F, lower the blinds, set your alarm, jot down a quick to-do list for the next day - a “brain dump” if you will, and turn off the lights.
10:30 P.M. ~ Bedtime
Keep in mind that no two bedtime routines are the same and this should be used as inspiration to create a routine that works for you and your sleep needs. Things might look a little different from day to day, but remember that the key is consistency - not perfection. By the time Fall officially arrives, your September Sleep Reset will have you feeling rejuvenated and re-energized to take on all those fun Fall activities - cue the apple picking, chili making and football!
- Watson NF, Badr MS, Belenky G, et al. Recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult: a joint consensus statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society. Sleep. 2015;38(6):843–844.