Sleep is one of the most understated, important topics when it comes to health. And because we make work, TV, social media, family and other tasks a top priority, humans are the only mammals to delay sleep. Adults need at least 7 hours of sleep and preparing for it is just as important as the sleep itself.

Here are some ways to help you create a routine to efficiently wind down before hitting the hay:

1. Unplug

In order to shut down at night, your phone has to shut down too. Smartphones have made us the little kids who don’t want to go to sleep because they're afraid of missing out. With social media, email notifications and 24-hour news cycles, 90 percent of Americans use their phone within one hour before sleep. The constant stimulation, as well as the electromagnetic transmissions and blue light from smartphones, decrease melatonin levels in our bodies. Melatonin is a hormone that is known to make us less alert and ready for bed. 

2. Read

One of the rituals that Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder, does before going to bed is to read. Reading is found to reduce stress levels by 68 percent. It’s a great way wind down after a hectic day.

3. Yoga

Another great way to get ready to sleep is to practice some yoga. Doing certain yoga poses such as the lizard pose or locust pose at night can help release tension from the day. Want to try a night time yoga flow? Here’s a video below.

4. Create a to-do list for tomorrow

Make your morning easier by prepping the night before. Life might have you thinking about millions of things at once. And if you're anything like me, you can become so overwhelmed that you don’t accomplish anything at all. To stop this, try the Most Important Task or MIT approach. Choose three top priority tasks you want to tackle the next day and sleep knowing you've got the next day at least partially planned.

5. Drink tea

If it’s hard for you to calm down after a hectic day, try drinking some herbal tea. Herbs such as chamomile, valerian and lavender have sedative effects. If you are incorporating this in your nighttime routine, make sure you set your teatime at the beginning stages of your ritual. You don’t want to have to take late-night bathroom trips!

6. Take care of your skin

When you sleep, your skin goes to work repairing and building itself. Help it out by cleansing and moisturizing it properly before bed.

7. Write

Whether it's reflecting on your day, jotting down a fleeting idea, or just expressing yourself freely, writing can help you calm your mind and help build it as well. Writing is known to help you retain information better and build your confidence. wind down before bed