create a dreamy bedtime routine

sleep expert Christine Hansen gives the low down on pre-sleep rituals

create a dreamy nighttime routine to fall back in love with sleep

We’re all guilty of skipping our bedtime routines in favour of just one more episode of our latest TV obsession. Or scrolling on social. Or doing some online shopping. The list goes on. But the truth is these habits aren’t great for our precious zzz’s. And that can leave us feeling a bit groggy the following day.

We all snooze differently, so there’s no one-size-fits-all nighttime routine. The key is finding out what works for you, starting with giving your pre-bed rituals some love. Here’s how to get started with the help of sleep expert Christine Hansen.

leave time to wind-down

According to Christine, we’re creatures of habit. So the first step to improving your sleep is to create a blissful wind-down routine before bed. Doing this night after night should help your body and brain respond to, and welcome, sleep.

Start with picking a bedtime and sticking to it. Then try adding some personal touches to your wind-down that make it relaxing and something you look forward to. Whether that’s lighting a candle. Reading a book. Making yourself a sleep-friendly snack (yep, these exist). Or doing some wind-down stretches.

just breathe

It’s easier said than done, but worrying about how many hours of sleep you’re going to get or trying to get to sleep quickly won’t help you to get a good night’s kip. In fact, stress has been shown to raise your heart rate and steal your precious zzz’s at the same time. Instead, there are some easy peasy calming tricks to try. Simple breathing exercises are a good place to start (like this 5 minute guided bedtime meditation). And if your thoughts go into overdrive as soon as your head hits the pillow, Christine recommends writing them down on paper. They might seem less hairy scary when you have them scribbled down on a page. Feel calmer already? Us too.

use an alternative alarm

You’re in a deep sleep and suddenly the sound of your alarm shocks you awake, leaving you with that haven’t-slept-a-wink-feeling all morning. Sound familiar?

Waking up in the middle of a sleep cycle isn’t great for our energy levels, according to Christine. So if you’re happy to part with your usual alarm, there are great apps out there (we love Sleep Cycle) that’ll have you waking up during a light phase of sleep, avoiding that pesky groggy feeling. Keeping the curtains open to let natural light in and sunshine alarm clocks are also good options for those of us tired of the jolt-inducing phone alarm. And don’t even get us started on that snooze button.

create a gloriously comfy base

We spend around 25 years sleeping during our lives. Yikes. So it’s a good idea to have a sublimely comfy bed that’ll carry you off to Bedfordshire every night. Luckily, we have all of the things you could need. Mattresses. Bedding. And storage to keep things tidy in your sleep sanctuary (this can actually help you sleep). Sorted, then.