Canyon Ranch Blog

Create a Soothing Bedtime Routine

When you were a child, you probably had a bedtime ritual. Perhaps you took a bath, got into your pajamas, brushed your teeth and lay in bed under soft light while your mom or dad read you a favorite story. The soothing process helped your body relax and signaled to your mind that it was time to cool down, let go and fall asleep.

The snooze-inducing power of a relaxing routine in a comfortable environment doesn’t fade as you get older. In fact, the stressors of adulthood—coupled with technology that keeps us wired (literally and figuratively) at all hours—makes a cozy bedtime ritual more important than ever for us grown-ups. We often find it necessary to remind guests we meet with to reclaim the bedtime ritual as an integral component of a healthy sleep plan—no matter their age. The best part? Setting the stage for sleep is an all-natural way to get your Zzzzs.

The Slumber Cascade

To discover the best routine for you, it helps to understand what happens in your body before you nod off. As you go through your day, particularly when you’re physically active, the neurotransmitter adenosine rises in your body. High levels of this compound make you feel tired. The gradual dimming of light (artificial or natural) brings an increase in melatonin—a hormone produced by the pineal gland that affects alertness—signaling sleep to come. With that relaxation comes reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which would otherwise keep you bright-eyed. Finally, your body temperature lowers, making it easier to fall asleep. (The small drop—around one degree—makes a big difference.)

When setting the stage for shuteye, then, it’s important to think about all of these factors and how they affect your body’s ability to wind down.

Create a Soothing Environment

You can help ease your sleep well before it’s even time to hit the pillow by making sure that your bedroom is conducive to a good night’s rest:

  • Keep your bedroom cool. Studies show that temperature levels above 75° F (and below 54° F) interfere with sleep. Each person is individual, but for most people, somewhere between 65° F and 72° F is a good place to set the nighttime thermostat.
  • Block out light and noise. Blackout shades can keep streetlights (or early morning sun) from seeping in. Use earplugs if sounds (car alarms, your cat meowing at the bedroom door) disrupt your slumber.
  • Make your bed a sanctuary. Ideally, you’d use it for only two things: sleep and sex. Try not to watch TV, use your laptop or other screen devices or eat in bed. Reading in bed is fine as long as you are getting to sleep without difficulty. If not, consider taking your book to another comfortable place and going to bed when you’re tired.

Transition Your Body and Mind

“You can train the body to start slowing down for sleep,” says Param Dedhia, M.D., director of sleep medicine at Canyon Ranch in Tucson. Start by developing a consistent sleep schedule. Keeping regular sleep/wake times (or as close to it as possible) helps regulate your body’s daily rhythms. Even on the weekends, try to stray from this as little as you can.

Be mindful of the clock in other ways, too. Seven or eight hours before bedtime, stop drinking coffee and consuming other sources of caffeine, which block adenosine. You should be finished with exercise, food and alcohol two or three hours before retiring, as they all have arousal properties that can interfere with sleep. Then, half-an-hour to an hour before you want to drift off, dim the lights, turn off electronics and engage in a soothing practice that works for you. Here are some of our favorite suggestions:

And Finally, To Get Back to Sleep…

Since you may be sleeping lighter than you used to, it’s easy to wake up during the night. You may need to use the bathroom more frequently. The worries from your day may show up in disturbing dreams. Whatever rouses you, “Don’t wake up and turn on the TV or start answering emails,” Dr. Dedhia says. “I ask people to do some stretching or yoga, and if you can’t fall back to sleep, sit in a specific chair with a soft light and pull up a book.” When you feel tired, your bedroom sanctuary will be ready for you.

More: What’s Stealing Your Sleep?

6 Sleep Strategies You Haven’t Tried
No-drug options to help you get the rest you need
Read More
5 Soothing Evening Yoga Poses
End your day with a routine that includes these relaxing, restorative moves.
Read More
Considering Sleep Aids
When lifestyle changes aren’t enough to help you get the rest you need, weigh your ...
Read More
7 Favorite Foods That Feed Your Brain
What you eat can affect your vascular health, blood sugar regulation, oxidation and ...
Read More
Can Genomics Help With Weight Loss?
 Weight loss might take more than dialing in your diet and adding in exercise. But, that ...
Read More
What Our Beauty Expert Can’t Live Without: Q&A ...
We all wonder about the skin care products that beauty professionals use and can't live ...
Read More
8 Ways to Reach Your Healthy Weight and Stay There
Find out if you’re doing all that you can to achieve your goals
Read More
10 Ways to Boost Your Immune System
Do what you can to keep your body's natural defense strong
Read More
Massage for Pain Relief
Learn which type of rubdown is best for what’s hurting you
Read More
Managing Seasonal Lows
If you suffer from winter sadness, try these ways to lift your spirits
Read More
Spirituality & Your Health: A Q&A with Dr. Finley
Nurturing this connection can support your wellness journey in powerful ways
Read More
11 Stress Relievers for a Healthier Brain
Sound strategies for managing negative thoughts and supporting positive brain changes
Read More
Book Online or Contact Us
Book Now Contact Us

Questions & Reservations

Tucson, Arizona +1 800 742 9000
Lenox, Massachusetts +1 800 742 9000
SpaClub®, Las Vegas +1 877 220 2688
Groups: +1 877 862 0583
SpaClub®, At Sea Queen Mary 2: +1 866 860 4662
Oceania Cruises: +1 877 329 1924
Regent Seven Seas: +1 877 329 1924
Celebrity Cruises: +1 844 860 4662