If you’re someone that struggles to get to sleep on time or you always feel keyed up and stressed before bed, this info is for you! We’re going to cover 3 boundaries that are necessary for consistent, restful sleep so you can wake up feeling rejuvenated! Let’s jump right in!

1: Sleep Schedule Boundaries

sleep schedule

The first is to establish boundaries around your sleep schedule. Look, we know how important a sleep schedule is for kids, right? Parents know that keeping their kids on a schedule helps them sleep better, feel better, and results in better emotional regulation. So, why don’t we do the same for ourselves as adults? 

Setting boundaries to prioritize a set bedtime is essential for achieving a healthy sleep routine that gives you that deep, restorative rest.  We should all be viewing sleep as a self-care necessity. When you can acknowledge how important getting a solid amount of quality sleep is, and what it can do for your energy, your performance, your mood, and your overall health and well-being, it makes sticking to those boundaries easier. So, know when it’s time to put the work away for the night, when it’s time to turn the TV off, when it’s time to start winding down, and give yourself the gift of a set sleep schedule. 

do not disturb sign on door handle

Being consistent with your sleep schedule and routine really does make a difference, so communicate your sleep priorities to family, friends and colleagues so that expectations are set. If it helps you can explain the significance of a set sleep schedule in optimizing your health and your ability to function at your best. I’m an early to bed and early to rise type of person, and my family and friends know that after 8:30 I’m just not available – that’s when my phone goes on do not disturb and that’s when I wind down before bedtime.

And it’s worth noting that maintaining the same schedule, even on the weekends, is important and helpful in optimally regulating your sleep rhythm.

If you tend to get caught up in activities in the evening and don’t realize what time it is until it’s way past your bedtime, get in the habit of setting a sleep alarm. We often set an alarm to wake up, but a sleep alarm may be just as important. When that alarm goes off, that’s your cue to wrap up work, studying, cleaning, scrolling on social media, or whatever else you’re doing, and start winding down for bed. By setting boundaries and prioritizing your sleep schedule, you’re training your body to know when it’s time for sleep. When you’re consistent with this schedule, over time your body will wind down quicker, your body’s sleep rhythm will become more efficient, you will get more restful sleep, and you’ll wake up feeling more refreshed, ready for a new day.

2: Technology Boundaries

The second necessary boundary is around technology. In today’s digital age, we are so connected to our smartphones, tablets, computers, and TV’s. It’s crucial to create boundaries between technology and sleep. One major reason this is so important has to do with the circadian rhythm’s most powerful stimulus – light.

sunlight over the horizon as the most important circadian rhythm stimulus

Your circadian rhythm is your body’s 24 hour clock that syncs up with the light and dark cycles of your environment. Light exposure is the most powerful stimulus regulating your body’s circadian rhythm. When the sun rises and sunlight hits your eyes, it signals to your brain that a new day is here and it’s time to be wakeful; when the sun goes down, that’s a signal to your body’s circadian clock that it’s time to increase melatonin production. Melatonin is often referred to as your body’s sleep hormone because it helps regulate the timing of your sleep cycles.

a phone depicting a device that emits blue light

The blue light emitted by the screens of all the devices that we’re connected to can interfere with the production of melatonin, because when blue light from these devices hits our eyes, the brain perceives that blue light as daylight, and daylight prevents melatonin from being released. 

Avoid using electronic devices, such as smartphones, tablets, or laptops, at least one hour before bed. Instead, engage in calming activities like reading a book, practicing meditation, or listening to soft music. 

By disconnecting from technology, you allow your body’s natural rise in melatonin to happen, which triggers to your body that it’s time to sleep, and you allow your mind to relax and prepare for a rejuvenating night of sleep.

3: Stimulation Boundaries

That brings us to the third boundary that is critical to getting deep, restful sleep, which is stimulation boundaries. It’s important to allow your body, brain, and nervous system to actually wind down before bed, which puts you in a more relaxed state, which is the internal environment your body needs for that deep, restful sleep.

woman relaxing in a bath to wind down before sleep

As the day transitions into night, it’s essential to create a gradual shift from the busyness of the day to a state of relaxation. By allowing ourselves time to unwind, we signal to our bodies and minds that it’s time to let go of the day’s stressors and prepare for sleep. 

Let’s consider this scenario – imagine yourself on your computer working late into the evening and right before you are about to shut your computer down to go to bed, you see an email come through so you read it and it immediately activates your stress response – your heart jumps, your heart rate speeds up, you get sweaty. You stress over how you are going to respond, you take 30 minutes to address the situation and then you hit send, close your computer and get ready for bed. How well do you think you’re going to sleep when your head hits the pillow with your stress response activated?

woman lying awake in bed not able to sleep

Here’s another scenario – you’re working and you give yourself a cut off point of let’s just say 7pm, that’s your chosen boundary and cut off point for when you put work away for the evening. But, same as in the previous scenario, right before you’re about to close your computer for the day, you see an email come through. But now, instead of reading it, you’re committed to your bedtime, so you decide that it will be the first thing you address in the morning, you allow yourself to disengage from work at your agreed time, you close your computer and you engage in a relaxing activity to help your brain and body wind down – such as reading, listening to relaxing music, doing some gentle stretching to release tension and quiet the mind. How well do you think you’re going to sleep when your head hits the pillow after you’ve allowed yourself time to engage your body’s relaxation response?

woman sleeping soundly

The answer is obvious – quite a bit better, right? These relaxing activities not only help us physically and mentally relax but also aid in the release of sleep-promoting hormones, preparing us for a deep and restorative night’s sleep. By setting boundaries around when it’s time to stop stimulating activities and prioritizing a winding-down routine for the night, we set the stage for a more peaceful and rejuvenating sleep experience.

woman in bed enjoying a night of restful sleep


To recap – three bedtime boundaries that are necessary for a deep, restorative night of sleep, include number one, setting boundaries around your sleep schedule so that you get accustomed to a specific sleep rhythm that allows you to sleep more efficiently; number two, setting boundaries around technology so that you minimize the impact of blue light on your brain’s melatonin production; and number three, setting boundaries around stimulating activities so that you allow your brain and nervous system time to engage in the relaxation response. All of these allow for more efficient, deep, and restful sleep so that you can wake up feeling refreshed and energized, ready for a new day. 

Stress or Circadian Rhythm Disorder Impacting Your Sleep?

High stress levels and chronic stress, as well as circadian rhythm disorders are factors that can impact your ability to sleep well. 

If you are experiencing chronic stress or abnormally high levels of stress, this article covers mind-body therapies to help reduce stress:

Circadian rhythm disorders can make it difficult to get adequate amounts of quality sleep. This article covers how these disorders can impact brain and neurological health and natural therapies that can help: