Routine is one of the best things that you can do to help cultivate a good night's sleep. What are you doing before bed to help you get your best sleep?
Cut Down on Screen Time
Disconnect from your devices at least two hours before you plan on getting into bed for the evening. Set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself to put it away for the night.
I recommend not even bringing your phone into the bedroom if you can help it. Those of us who are empathic can often sense when someone has messaged or called them, even if they haven't seen the phone. I keep my phone on charger in the bathroom overnight to give myself some energetic distance.
This goes for television (and Netflix), too. If you're having trouble sleeping it's important to give your brain time to start shutting down for the evening before you ask it to go to sleep. Watching something on tv or on your computer stimulates multiple sense simultaneously; watching the video feed stimulates your vision, while listening to the video engages your sense of hearing. Even though you may feel checked out on the couch watching late at night, multiple senses are still being utilized, which may hinder your ability to quiet your brain.
As for activities, you'll want to find something relaxing that you enjoy. Reading has always been one of my favorite "quiet" evening activities, but you may find passion in knitting, crocheting, coloring or journalling. Prayer or meditation is a pleasant evening activity, when seeking reflection and gratitude.
I always recommend some light yoga or stretching in the evening or immediately before getting into bed. Since we plan to be in bed asleep, in the same position and not moving overnight, it can help if the body is loose and relaxed.
When my phone goes away for the evening, I know that it's time to start my relaxation routine. Some people may consider this "pampering" but I believe that it's important to take care our body and our skin. The skin is the largest and most porous organ in the human body, so it does require a certain level of regular care to maintain optimal health.
Something that I try and do at least one time per week is a detoxifying salt bath to help my body release any dense energy that I may be holding onto. Lately, I have been really into taking mustard baths to help me relax before bed. The wintergreen scent is soothing and the mustard helps to detoxify my body by sweating, which in turn lulls me into a deep sleep shortly after I'm out of the bath.
Most nights however, I'm just doing a basic skincare relaxation routine. I'm an advocate of using natural, organic products in as many applications as possible. I don't want to put any unnecessary toxins in my body that it will have to work to filter out at a later time.
My relaxation routine starts with washing my face, often with a Dr. Bronner's soap – the peppermint variety has a refreshing tingle that makes my face feel clean (something that I don't always feel with every natural product I've tried). Depending on how my skin is acting, I'll use a rosewater toner or a more hydrating night cream.
I will say that my routine has gotten more exciting (for me, anyways) since I've introduced a tool that I've been mildly obsessed with. The jade roller I bought at the Tucson gem show this year leaves me looking for pretty much any excuse to apply product to my face and massage it in with this amazing tool.
Brew a Sleeping Potion
I know I'm always looking for ways to bring magic into my everyday life, and brewing a sleepy time tea is the perfect way! I love all things lavender including lavender tea, but if that's too floral tasting for you, you may enjoy trying a more mild chamomile or hibiscus blend. Special brews like Tumeric or Beetroot lattes use ayurvedic principles to help promote and encourage healthy sleep as well.
If you use additives or sweeteners in your tea, I'd recommend they come from natural sources, especially close to bedtime. If you fancy milk with your tea, I'd recommend trying a non-dairy alternative like flax or coconut. Same with sweetener, I'd recommend using honey or even a touch of maple syrup if you find it absolutely necessary, however, generally I'd tend to advise against consuming sugar before bed.
There are a number of natural supplements that I have tried over the years that have helped me to encourage my body's own rest and relaxation responses. One of the most successful that worked for me was L-Tryptophan, however it's been about 10 years since I've used it regularly.
I have been using CBD products regularly for some time and have found them to be a very helpful tool for overall anxiety and pain reduction. I will be doing a separate blog in the near future going into more detail about the topic.
Recently, my doctor recommended that I try magnesium to help regulate my sleep and anxiety levels. I haven't tried it because I don't like the gritty texture of mixing powder into liquid. but once I brought that up to some friends, I was informed that there is sprayable magnesium that can be applied topically to the stomach.
Please note: I am not a doctor and these are not medical recommendations. Please check with your healthcare professionals when making changes to your routine. Be diligent when taking any OTC or natural supplements.
I hope these tips help you get a better night sleep! Let me know if you're currently using any of these tips, or if you'd like to share some of your own in the comments! Here's to deeper, restorative slumbers!
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Arielle is a best-selling author, holistic life coach and intuitive energy healer.