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Whether you have trouble winding down at night or you simply want to improve your long-term health, having a quality bedtime routine is a sure-fire way to make a positive difference in the quality and consistency of your sleep, which we know has a direct impact on your health. Just like any routine, an effective bedtime routine is all about consistency, so with each of our tips below, try to stick with it, night after night. Within just a few weeks, these evening actions will become habits that trigger your brain to start winding down. The old adage works here: practice makes perfect, and you’ll be reaping the rewards of your relaxing routine in no time.

Ready? Here are some proven tips to creating a bedtime routine that will make counting sheep a thing of the past.

1. Practice sleep hygiene
What is ‘sleep hygiene’? Just as we wash our hands and shower to stay germ-free and healthy, our evenings should be a time when we cut out anything that could potentially ‘harm’ our brain’s ability to switch off and fall asleep.

Turning off all overhead lights and instead turning on a lamp or two with warm, golden light, is a great way to start practicing sleep hygiene. You will also want to turn off any sources of blue-toned light, which, you guessed it – means turning off your smart phone, tablets and computers at least an hour before bed. While the struggle to pull away from our devices is real, this action has been proven time and again to improve the quality of our sleep. At the very least, activate your device’s Night Shift or evening mode, which transforms your screen’s blue light to a warmer, less stimulating light that is less likely to interfere with your body’s circadian rhythm.

2. Choose your relaxation rituals
Everyone relaxes in different ways, so this is a step you can have a bit of fun with. Come up with a few soothing activities that you find relaxing to your mind, body, or both, such as reading, listening to soft music, meditation, stretching, drawing, taking a bath, drinking an herbal tea. Choose one or two key activities that you find relaxing and stick with these every night before bed until they become habitual rituals that you look forward to. Remember, routine is key!

3. Create an inviting sleep environment
An essential part of forming a successful bedtime routine is [link to sleep environment blog ensuring that your environment is conducive to sleep. Your bedroom should be a place where you feel safe, calm and relaxed. Dark and atmospheric lighting is key, as is keeping things quiet with minimum distractions around. Keep your room at a comfortable temperature and experiment with a few subtle smells known to relax the senses – lavender, bergamot and chamomile are tried and tested favourites.

Most importantly, invest in a high-quality mattress, sheets, duvet and [[link to product [pillow that provides the right support]]. Étienne Home’s height adjustable At Last pillow is the perfect pillow for every sleeping position and made from premium materials that allow your skin to breathe. Your bed should be a comforting place that you are drawn to, and high-quality bedding can make a huge difference in your desire to hit the hay.

4. Exercise regularly
This is a big one. Studies have shown that regular exercise goes hand-in-hand with our ability to form a regular sleep routine and get quality sleep. If you’re already a gym junkie, yogi or sporty type – great! Keep it up and try to spread your exercise regularly across the week. If exercise isn’t really your jam – start small! Just taking short regular walks promotes really decent health benefits. Plus, exposing your body to natural sunlight during the day is great for regulating your natural circadian rhythm, which in turn helps your body learn when to begin winding down at night.

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