Getting good sleep is one of the most important things you can do in life. Healthy, restful sleep gives your body the chance it needs to recharge and regenerate after a long day of working, parenting, or just…being awake.
Consistently making sure you’re sleeping well and waking up rested boosts cognitive functions like the ability to learn, remember things, and interact well with others. Good sleep also leads to better heart health and helps fortify your circulatory, respiratory, and immune systems, to name but a few of its physical benefits. Simply put: good rest allows you to be the best version of yourself.
Sleep is crucial to well-being, but sometimes getting good sleep is easier said than done. With that in mind, how can you become a better sleeper? Everyone is different and there is no magic solution for improving sleep quantity and quality. Still, our panel of sleep experts agree that creating a sleep routine is one of the first steps you should take when seeking better rest. Creating a bedtime routine and sticking to it consistently is the foundation for a good night’s sleep. Here’s why bedtime routines really work, and how to create one that will help you fall asleep easily and get high-quality rest..
The Power of a Consistent Sleep Routine
Adding routines to your day has been shown to improve health outcomes in various ways. Routines help us stay grounded, reduce stress, exercise more, and eat better. It stands to reason, then, that what’s good during the day is also good at night. Sleep routines are powerful tools for getting the rest we need for a couple of crucial reasons.
Bedtime Routines Help Your Circadian Rhythm: We all have an internal clock–called a circadian rhythm–that helps us know when to naturally wake up and go to bed. Creating a sleep routine that gives you consistent sleep and wake-up times keeps this internal clock running smoothly, making it easier to fall asleep when you need to, and wake up feeling rested.
Bedtime Routines Create Consistency: A bedtime routine can dramatically improve sleep outcomes because our brains love consistency. Our brains evolved to favor certainty over uncertainty to keep us safe, and we haven’t lost our evolutionary preference for avoiding surprises. Routines provide our brain with the certainty it craves, helping us stay relaxed. Relaxation and certainty are essential at bedtime, since feeling safe and relaxed leads to better sleep and higher quality rest.
Think of a bedtime routine as a checklist for your brain that ends in sleep. The more steps you check off, the closer your brain thinks you are to sleep and the more prepared for rest it becomes. The longer you follow a consistent sleep routine, the more certain your brain becomes about it, making it easier and easier to get a good night’s rest.
Creating a sleep routine is essential, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Hatch’s Restore 2 sunrise alarm clock is explicitly built to help you make healthy sleep habits. Using the features built into the Hatch Restore 2, the Hatch mobile app, and (bonus) the Hatch Sleep Membership, you can ensure you’re staying consistent and focusing on what matters: a sleep routine that gives you great sleep.
How to Build a Sleep Routine that Works for You
You may already have a sleep routine; you just don’t know it. For many of us, this includes things like brushing your teeth, getting into your PJs, and perhaps doing a nighttime skincare routine. Here’s how to make that routine consistent and get the rest you deserve.
1. Set Consistent Sleep and Wake-up Times
Picking a time you begin your routine every night will help prepare your brain for sleep and will help set your internal clock’s bedtime. Decide when you want to be in bed and how much sleep you need to feel rested. Just as importantly, try to wake up at the same time every day–keeping a consistent sleep schedule is a proven way to get better sleep. Don’t stress if you aren’t in bed every day at precisely the same time. Just set a half-hour window to be in bed by, and another half-hour window in the morning for your wake-up time.
Ensure you get to bed at the same time every night by setting a bedtime reminder in your Hatch app. It will notify you every night when it’s time to put the phone down and start your bedtime routine.
2. Make Time to Wind Down
Once you know when you want to go to bed, give yourself some time to wind down, preparing yourself mentally and physically for sleep. Your wind-down time is when you’ll begin the process of relaxing for bedtime and complete some of your sleep rituals, like reading a book or journaling. Give yourself plenty of wind-down time so you don’t feel rushed. Remember: this is all about relaxation!
Hatch Restore 2 can help you create space for wind-down time in a couple of ways. First, the Hatch app allows you to create a multi-step wind-down and sleep routine. Additionally, the Restore 2 and the Hatch Sleep Membership give you a vast library of relaxing content like soothing music, guided meditations, and sleep stories designed to help you leave your day behind and prepare yourself for sleep.
Simply press the “Rest” button on the top of your Restore 2 when you’re ready to start your sleep routine, and let your preprogrammed routine do the rest (no pun intended)!
3. Create a Solid Set of Sleep Rituals
Sit down and take stock of the things you usually do before bed. Maybe you like to pick out tomorrow’s outfit or write down what you’re grateful for in addition to more mundane tasks like brushing your teeth or washing up. Think about the things you do that help you relax, but also consider if you’ve got some bad bedtime habits, like playing with your phone or trying to fall asleep with the TV on.
Once you’ve thought about what works and what doesn’t, write down a list of sleep rituals you’ll do every night and decide which order you’ll do them in. Completing your healthy sleep habits in the same order every night will help build that consistency your brain craves.
For instance, your sleep ritual checklist might look something like this:
Of course, everyone is different, so pick the sleep rituals that work best for you!
4. Take Advantage of Light and Sound
Your body’s internal clock takes its cues from the light you see. Warm tones like red, orange, or peach help mimic the sunset, letting your circadian rhythm know that it’s time to sleep. Hatch Restore 2 features 18 easily adjustable colors and a myriad of colorscapes to help you wind down, stay sleeping, and wake up feeling rested.
The sounds you listen to during your sleep routine and the night can also have an impact on the quality of your sleep. Calming natural sounds like rainfall or waves breaking can help lull your brain into a state of deep relaxation and mute out unwanted disturbances like sirens, car alarms, or noisy neighbors. Restore 2 and the Hatch Sleep Membership give you access to dozens of curated, science-backed night sounds, ranging from waterfalls in Iceland to waves off the California coast, as well as proven artificial frequencies like white, brown, and pink noise.
For more on how light and sound can enhance your bedtime routine and improve your sleep quality, check out our upcoming blog posts in this series.
5. Wake Up Gently
Your sleep routine doesn’t end when you fall asleep. How you wake up every morning also influences how rested you feel. Jolting awake to a grating alarm blaring in your ear is going to undo all the work you put in the night before. Instead, it’s best to lift yourself gently out of sleep, using a combination of light and sound.
With Hatch Restore 2’s sunrise alarm clock, you can set a gentle wake-up alarm that begins about thirty minutes before your desired wake up time. Restore 2 will gradually brighten to mimic the sunrise, and play a gentle wake-up sound– like peaceful flute music or birdsongs–to ease you into the day. In the Hatch app, you can create a fully-customized morning wake up routine, and further enhance your mornings by adding in audio content from one of several Morning Guides (available with the Hatch Sleep Membership). Hatch’s Morning Guides are short 3-5 minute episodes hosted by thought-provoking content creators designed to help engage your brain, get your body moving, and leave you inspired for the day ahead.
Be Flexible with Your Sleep Routine
We’re all changing constantly, so your sleep routine will change with you. No sleep routine is one-size-fits-all, and in order to make the most of yours you’ll need to evaluate and adjust it periodically.
If you wake up one morning feeling especially rested, think about what you did the night before, and try to repeat those steps. Conversely, if you begin to notice the quality of your rest declining, it’s time to sit down and think about what isn’t working anymore.
Sleep patterns change frequently for all of us, so don’t be worried if your sleep routine needs adjustment fairly regularly. The most important part of your sleep routine is just that you have one. Show up every night with the intention to get great sleep and stick to the steps you’ve laid out for yourself—the rest will happen naturally.
Hatch Restore 2 makes changing your sleep routine as easy as setting it up. With the Hatch app, you can quickly adjust every part of your bedtime routine with just a few taps. You’ll be able to easily preview colorscapes, sounds, and more with the touch of a button. With Hatch, you can seamlessly create and adjust a sleep routine that changes and grows with you.
Learn more about Hatch Restore 2 and see why 83% of users reported improved sleep after using their Restore 2 sunrise alarm clock.