Having a good tomorrow, starts with what you do tonight!
Honestly, I've never really contemplated having a bed time routine. To me, sleep has always been important, something that was a non-negotiable. When my mind starts shutting down, usually around 10pm, I literally cannot keep functioning normally. That's when I go to bed.
All that being said, this was before a life filled with technology. It has been about 14 months since I've slept in the same room as my phone. A screen is not the last thing I see before I go to sleep, nor is it the first thing I see when I wake. And let me tell you how liberating, and nourishing that has been for my intentional bed time routine.
In the last 14 months, I have learned so much about what having a Bed Time Routine looks like, feels like and means for a mindfully nourished lifestyle. Here are some of my most favorite things to do before falling asleep.
I rarely take time to read an actual book, but when I do it is before I go to bed. The act of letting my eyes scroll left to right, rather than top to bottom, on a surface that doesn't light up, puts me to sleep usually after just one chapter, and sometimes less.
One thing to note is that the sleep experts recommend reading outside the bedroom. Once you get sleepy, then relocate to your bed to fall asleep. This helps you associate your bed with only sleep, rather than being enthralled in the latest mystery novel.
Have a hard time going to bed on time? One thing to try is to set what is called a "Bed Time Alarm." This is a reminder to shut down the electronics, and start winding down from your day. See suggestions below for what are good ways to do this.
Not sure what time you need to go to bed to feel your best? Here's a simple equation to follow.
What time you need to wake up for your morning routine and how many hours of sleep you want to get.
For example, here's my equation: Wake up at 7:30am with 9 hours of sleep = In bed by 10:30pm, Bed Time Alarm at 10pm.
Think about trying to sleep in the heat of the summer without air conditioning. It's nearly impossible, isn't it? The best temperature to get great sleep is around 65 degrees.
The external environment is just one piece to the sleeping well puzzle. A couple things that can increase your body's temperature, causing you to toss and turn all night, are eating heavy meals right before bed and relying on an alcoholic night cap to fall asleep. Mid way through the night, when you start to digest, your body temperature increases. I don't do this often, but I always, without exception, wake up a couple hours after going to bed feeling uncomfortable, sweating, and have a hard time going back to sleep.
Tip: Try to eat at least a couple hours before you go to bed and have an herbal tea night cap instead of your favorite adult beverage.
What winds me down from the day may or may not work for you...but here are my go-to activities to unwind before bedtime.
1) Take a warm bath. If even for 5 minutes. Add a few drops of lavender, geranium, or clary sage essential oils.
2) Find stillness. While sitting on the floor, in your bed, or on the couch. Fall in love with your breath for 2 minutes.
3) Lay on the floor, with your legs up the wall. Put your hands on your belly and notice your breathe in your belly,
4) Write for 10 minutes. Set a timer and just let your pen flow over the paper. Get out your thoughts from the day.
Like the idea of writing before you hit the hay, but don'e know how to get started? Be grateful. Visualize what happened in your day that fill you gratitude. You can write these down or it can be a mental practice. Embody this thankful nature for things small like the smell of your morning coffee or big like engaging in work that you love. It all counts!
Tip: Start with writing or saying "I'm Grateful..." then follow it with "I'm Grateful for this because..."
Do you have specific questions about your bedtime routine that you want to get answered? Or want help brainstorming ideas to get better sleep. Check out the Revive Your Day Workshop for more info.
Find out what your biggest bedtime challenge is by clicking below.
I am on the journey to create joy and live with full happiness. And my wish for you is to do the same!
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