By Courtney Klein, PsyD

We are told that it is optimal for a baby’s growth and brain development to have a regular, consistent night of sleep with a similar structure for bedtime every evening. Adults will also sleep better and are more rested when they have similar routines to little children. With repetition, your brain and body will get used to the routine and more easily relax into sleep over time. Here are a few ways to increase structure and habits and to follow what we understand benefits babies as well as adults:

•  Start heading towards bed and start your bedtime routine   within the same half hour every night

•  Avoid “blue light” screens such as those that come from a cell phone, tablet, or high definition television one hour before attempting to sleep

•  Use similar types of music, radio stations, or podcasts to get your body into the habit of being cues that it is “time for bed”

•  Light the same candle or use the same scent each night before bed

•  Go through the same order of operations as an additional way to cue your body for sleep such as first changing out of day clothes, washing hands and face, brushing teeth, flossing, then using mouthwash

•  Your bed should only be for reading a paperback books or magazines (not blue screen electronics), and then for sleeping. If you feel like you cannot fall asleep, try to get out of bed and do something for 15 to 30 minutes. This should be some kind of relaxing activity before getting into bed again

•  Put a different sort of clock or night light in your room, instead of one with blue light, so that you’re not checking your cell phone and shining the light into your eyes (which activates that alert part of your brain), if you are feeling restless and want to check the time

With time you can help your body to subconsciously know this nighttime routine and to start falling asleep more easily. Happy sleeping!