Updated: Oct 20, 2021
1) Distractions that masquerades as chore, responsibility, or a "must-do-now" to do. Keep a notepad in your bedroom and make a list instead. Do you REALLY need to check your email again? Do you really need to watch another episode of White Lotus? Does your child really need you or are they postponing their own bedtime rituals? Create some boundaries emotionally and physically. For example, when step foot in your bedroom, all work, chores, to-dos, and in-depth conversations are over. Everything stays outside the bedroom so your bedroom is a safe haven of sleep.
2) Your phone - Scrolling, social media, emails, videos, and alerts. GET IT OUT OF YOUR SIGHT. Keep your phone plugged in across the room or in another room entirely and get a good old-fashioned alarm clock. Put an alarm on social media that stops you after five minutes of scrolling or delete the apps from your phone entirely. You don't want to be scrolling within 45 minutes of your bedtime.
3) Kids - If they are keeping you up by prolonging their bedtime rituals (as I used to holler to my kids "potty, teeth, nightgown!") then it's time to put your sleep training cap back on and put your foot down. It's important to be strict with this not only for the future of their sleep health, but for yours. It's okay to have strict boundaries like once your bedroom door is closed, you're off duty for the night. You can tell them lovingly, "the only way you can come get me is if you are throwing up" or something similar. When they still try to come in and tell you all their made up complaints and procrastinating narratives, you just ignore them. Don't talk. You already told them you love them. You've already kissed them good night and read to them, and tucked them in. Seriously. Ignore them. They will eventually get it.
If not, there's always this book:
4) Caffeine - It takes ten hours for caffeine to clear your system. So if you have a hard time falling asleep, count back ten hours from your desired bedtime and do not have caffeine after that.
5) Alcohol - While alcohol is sedating, sedation is not the same as sleep. So if you feel that the quality of your sleep is not great, try eliminating or limiting alcohol. Same goes for THC. While it can be sedating it can disrupt the quality of sleep.
6) Too much napping - Although naps are wonderful, if you're napping over 90 minutes, it may interfere with your night sleep. 20 minute naps are a good safe bet and keep it between noon and 2:00pm.
7) Room temperature - If your bedroom is too hot, you will not get quality sleep. Studies show that an ideal room temp for sleeping is 65 degrees.
8) Not enough exercise - regular exercise improves overall sleep quality and boosts your mood.
If you make your bedtime ritual filled with pleasurable things, you're more likely to drop the distractions and excitedly head to the bedroom. The first key is that the rituals are pleasurable, not like a chore. The second key is to couple the new ritual with an established habit. When you connect a new behavior to another established behavior, it's more likely to stick. For example, you already brush your teeth every night without fail, so you'll add a pleasurable bedtime ritual to that. Brush teeth + fill your diffuser with water and lavender oil. Or Brush teeth + bath. Or Brush teeth + book in bed.
1) Oils in a diffuser
4) Hot shower
5) Microwave weighted pad (or a sock filled with lentils and rice)
6) Sound bath recording https://www.therebelhuman.com/soundbath
7) Calming music
11) A great book of literary fiction - Note that a page turner beach read may keep you up because you can't put it down. A work of non-fiction also awakens the brain with critical thinking and can keep you up.
12) Cuddle with someone you love
13) Brain dump list - all the things on your mind and to-dos for tomorrow
14) Journal - keep it simple - every night write down three things that were joyful or worked well, and three things that didn't work or were challenging
Tip: Practicing non-sleep deep rest during the day (yoga nidra, sound bath, etc) can help you learn to better transition from wakefulness to sleep.
Let me know what your challenges are and your favorite rituals and I can update these lists! Write in the comments and help the Rebel Human community!