The 90-Minute Bed Time Routine Backed By Science
Sleep is something that is still not understood properly in the literature however there are tools and the perfect bed time routine you can use to maximise the quality of your sleep and therefore create more productive outcomes the your following day.
To give a brief synopsis of sleep we know are two major types of sleep.
Non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
These types of sleep are not affected by our waking time but the duration of time we spend in these states.
NREM sleep is divided into stages 1, 2, 3, and 4.
Each stage has differing characteristics including changes in brain wave activity, eye movements, and muscle tone.
REM sleep is when we dream and our muscle tone relaxes.
It’s also associated with memory consolidation, tissue repair, regeneration of neurotransmitters and a number of other bodily processes involved in recovery.
Generally speaking the higher quantity and quality of REM sleep we have the more productive we can be.
The other factor to consider is that we all spend time awake during our sleep periods and a higher quality of sleep involves smaller waking periods.
Here is what I’ve used personally that is backed up by some of the existing literature that has been shown to improve overall sleep quality, larger periods of REM sleep and fewer waking periods:
1. 90 minutes before bed – play Tetris. You read that right. Play Tetris.
This is known as “visual overwriting” this can help overwrite negative visualisation, which has seen to have applications in addiction disorders, preventing PTSD and most importantly for us, onset insomnia.
This was researched by Dr. Jane McGonigal who claims the highly visual nature of the game occupies the visual processing centre of the brain so that you can’t imagine or obsess over those issues that have plagued your day.
You can get this as a free download on your phone and has become a ritual of my own bed time routine.
2. 60 minutes before bed – turn off all devices that can deliver notifications, messages or alerts. It probably won’t come as shock to many of you that your cellphone, laptop and tablet are preventing you from sleeping.
Using cell phones in bed, interferes with the ability to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. Functionally, cellular phone use shortly before bed has been linked to a number of negative outcomes. The worst being tiredness the next day.
So it’s time to turn off all of your gadgets every evening if you want to sleep better.
3. 30 minutes before bed – eat a low GI meal. You’ve had the perfect sleep but woken up and ask yourself “Why am I still tired?!“. The reason is likely to be low blood sugar. Try having two tablespoons of peanut butter with celery or carrot sticks before bed.
Don’t substitute with other peanut butter as some contain sugar which is going to cause a jump in your insulin and preventing you from dozing off properly.
4. 10 minutes before bed – try the tranquilliser tea. There doesn’t seem to be a plausible mechanism for this but it’s works extremely well. This is a tip from the late Seth Roberts Professor of Psychology at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
Grab 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon of manuka honey ( lower GI compared to normal honey so you don’t get the insulin spike) this can be stirred into one cup of hot water.
5. 5 minutes before bed – take a 500 mg of magnesium. Magnesium is an essential mineral involved in numerous reactions in the body that has been proven to help patients with insomnia in long term facility care.
It’s important for healthy function of the cardiovascular system, metabolic rate and bone health among other benefits.
6. A note on eating – If you’re someone who is used to not eating before bed, keep it that way. Just cut out steps 3 and 4 to maximise the routine if you’re someone who stops eating earlier in the evening.
A bedtime routine will promote less wakeful periods during your sleep and a greater feeling of restfulness and greater productive outcomes during the day. If you want to take a look at how make the most of your morning check out my previous article on making the most on the other side of the sleep cycle.