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Gen Z has nailed how to have a good night’s sleep (and it’s all about pre-bed rituals)

Written by Amy Beecham

There might be a TikTok routine for everything right now, but make sure you’re not neglecting the most important: a bedtime ritual. 

We know how important good quality sleep is and how drained we can feel when we don’t get it.

According to luxury CBD brand OTO, 54% of women feel anxious about getting enough sleep, and 38% admit their sleep is affected by stress. As a result of this bad sleep, 43% experience a low mood and report being more emotional and irritable.

However, there is some good news – and for Gen Z in particular. A new study of 2,000 UK adults found that Gen Z’s sleep has improved the most among Brits since the pandemic began: 42% of 18-24-year-old Brits believe their sleep is better post-pandemic and 57% feel happy with the hours of sleep they get.

The research, commissioned by retailer DFS, revealed that young adults cite being able to sleep in longer, investing more time into relaxing and making more time for themselves as contributors to the improvement.

The secret to nailing a good night’s sleep? A long bedtime routine.

It’s no secret that we’re a culture obsessed with routines. From TikToks teaching us how to become That Girl and optimise our mornings to balanced fitness schedules and all-important self-care. But it’s important not to neglect our sleep routines, aka how we wind down from the day to ensure the most restful of slumbers.

And with Gen Z investing more time into their bedtime routine compared to any other age group, with an average length of 45 minutes spent on tasks that include listening to music and ASMR, brushing their teeth and spending time on skincare. 35% also admitted that scrolling social media and responding to messages in bed is a key part of their evenings, despite many experts warning against using electronic devices in bed.

So how can we create an effective bedtime routine that sets us up for maximum rest?

Create a good sleep routine by following a regular pattern

“Creating a bedtime routine establishes habits that help our brains recognise when it’s time to sleep and it can help keep your mind focused on other tasks and encourage you to relax instead of worrying,” explains Penny Weston, the director of award-winning Moddershall Oaks Country Spa Retreat and founder of MADE, a 360-degree wellness centre. 

“Start with a warm bath and set the same time for bedtime each evening so your body knows it’s time to get ready for sleep. You can also try some meditation. It’s important not to become discouraged when your mind starts to wander. With time and effort, your focus will become stronger. It’s something you can do virtually anywhere at no cost, and the benefits for your mental wellbeing and overall health are so strong that I highly recommend you try.” 

And Weston says if you aren’t sure that meditation is for you, just try some simple breathing exercises before going to bed. “Try breathing in deeply for seven seconds and exhaling for 11 seconds, repeating for a couple of minutes. It will help to relax your body and calm your nervous system,” she says. 

Ensure your bedroom is quiet, dark and around 18°C

“Darkness is critical for sleep. It sends the best signals to your brain that it is time to go to sleep,” continues Weston. “Try shutting the bedroom door to seal out light from other rooms.A cool room also aids sleep, and while many people don’t like sleeping with the window open, a bit of fresh air can really aid sleep.” 

If you don’t feel sleepy, don’t go to bed

“It may seem obvious, but unfortunately so many of us choose clock watching over listening to our body telling us how we feel,” says sleep expert James Wilson. “If you still feel alert or stressed, continue your routine and focus on relaxing, but avoid trying to actively force sleep. This is counterproductive and will increase production of stress hormones such as cortisol that keep us awake.”

“The pressure of needing to get a good night’s sleep can sometimes make it even harder,” Weston agrees. “It’s best to take that pressure away and be aware that if you don’t sleep, you will still manage the next day, but then take steps to make sure it doesn’t become a regular pattern. Take the clock out of your room. Clock watching at night is the worst thing you can do. Knowing you only have six hours, five hours or four hours to fall asleep just creates huge anxiety.”

Images: Getty

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