We live in an age when more and more people are having difficulty getting enough restorative sleep. Whether this is due to not being able to nod off due to a busy mind, or tossing and turning during the night, if you’re lacking quality sleep, creating a sleep ritual may help.
Done regularly, a sleep ritual can relax your body and train your mind to prepare for sleep. It works in a similar way to an exercise routine, which is often easier to stick to and more effective when done regularly and at the same time each day. Scientific studies and personal experiences highlight the ways that routines can support healthy sleep patterns, and help us overcome sleep disorders like insomnia.
Don’t worry if it takes weeks or even months for your ritual to become a habit. Stick at it and it will eventually become a natural part of your day.
You may like to include these steps in your soothing sleep ritual:
Say goodnight to your screens
A couple of hours before bed, start to ‘leave the day behind’. This should begin with dimming the lights and switching off any screens, including mobile devices, tablets, computers and the TV. That’s because they emit a short-wavelength, artificial blue light, which disrupts your circadian rhythm and prevents your body releasing the sleep hormone melatonin. The result is a delay and a reduction in restorative REM sleep. Instead of screen-time, try taking a short walk, listening to calming music or reading a book (as long as it’s not about work).
Meditation is relaxation
The mind’s tendency to get caught up in thoughts is perhaps strongest at bedtime, when we suddenly stop and be still. Mindfulness meditation is beneficial in easing the effort and stress around sleep, and helping you tune in to sleepiness cues. You’re creating the conditions to attract, rather than having to chase sleep. Many meditation apps for sleep is a specific, guided experience that offers a natural sleep aid all on its own, allowing us to let go of the day -everything that’s happened and everything that’s been said - so that we can rest the mind while simultaneously resting the body.
Enjoy the essentials
When you inhale the scent of essential oils, the olfactory bulb sends a message to the brain’s limbic system, which is responsible for controlling the breath, heart rate, hormones and stress. So using a calming blend of essential oils can help us feel relaxed and at peace. An ultrasonic diffuser is a more safe and effective way to experience aromatherapy in your home. And please note that some essential oils can be harmful for pets, so please do your research before stocking up.
We also love Bodha incense!
Savour a soak
You may already know how raising your body temperature before bed helps you feel drowsy, fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep longer. If you’re lucky enough to have a bath in your house, this is a soothing, comforting way to help you sleep. Try to have a bath about an hour before you go to bed (Salt by Hendrix has created a divine 'Bath Time Baby Kit'). Epsom salts dissolved in the water provide magnesium to relax tense muscles. If you don’t have access to a bath, even a warm shower can help you drift off.
Calming to a tea
Sipping a cup of tea made with herbs that support sleep will help you wind down. Chamomile is a classic sleep herb, and better yet, it’s soothing to your digestive system. It’s not to everyone’s taste, so you may like to try it with something more flavoursome. We love Fine & Dandy’s organic Chamomile with Cinnamon Or try a blend that also includes passionflower, valerian, lemon balm and liquorice. Making a warm drink part of your bedtime routine feels very soothing and can prepare you for a more restorative sleep.
Possibly the most important aspect of any sleep ritual is simply to go to bed at the same time each night, and wake at the same time each morning. We’ll be sharing some practical, science based suggestions to find your optimum natural sleep rhythm in future journal entries, so please visit us again soon.