It is now more important than ever to build and stick to a routine and find time in our day to relax to help keep our immune systems and our minds strong.

According to a recent survey, 30 per cent of Canadians don’t feel well-rested after a typical night’s sleep. Summer brings longer days and we all want to get the most out of the warmer months, meaning our sleep schedules can take a hit. Now is a good time to create a bedtime routine for better quality sleep and improved health. Let’s take some time to think this through so you can kickstart a new bedtime routine this week.

Consider these five things when getting ready for a good night’s sleep:

1. Unplug:

The blue light of your screens can reduce your natural melatonin and affect your sleep. The blue light also disrupts sleep and sleep disturbance is an important factor contributing to the onset and maintenance of mood disorders. Turn off Netflix and put your phone or tablet away one hour before bed and unwind with a book, guided meditation, or calming music.

2. Exercise:

Regular exercise can help you sleep deeper – even if it’s only 30 minutes. Try working out at least one to two hours before going to bed, giving your endorphin levels time to wash out and the brain time to wind down so you don’t have a hard time falling asleep. If you skip a workout, try a relaxing yoga routine and ease any mental distress and physical stiffness from the day. Yoga can also help you sleep better – especially if you experience insomnia.

3. Eat right:

What you eat in the evening can impact how rested you feel mentally in the morning. You don’t want to go to sleep hungry, but you don’t want to be in a food coma either. Avoid large meals, sugary snacks, alcohol and caffeine before bed since they can all disrupt your sleep.

4. Set a schedule:

This means going to bed and waking up at the same time and getting six to eight hours of sleep every day – even on weekends! Keeping your body on a consistent sleep schedule will set your body’s internal clock and eventually make it easier to fall asleep and wake up refreshed the next morning. A good night’s sleep will also allow you to tackle the day’s stress easier.

5. Write it out:

If you still find yourself uneasy or troubled before bed, thinking about your never-ending to-do list, grab a pad of paper and a pen and start writing out your thoughts to free up your mind. The lineup of thoughts can produce stress and anxiety, so try to write about positive moments that happened that day; this can help redirect your mind to the good things in life.

“Writing about positive moments can help redirect your mind to the good things in life”