The older I get, I’ve noticed that when I don’t sleep well, it really affects my energy level, and mood, the next day. When this happens, I don’t bounce back nearly as fast as I used to when I was younger. I usually sleep very well and I know that getting a good night’s rest is essential to not only my physical well being, but also my mental well being.
Here are some bedtime rituals that I use nightly to ensure that I get my 7-8 hours of sleep in:
Sticking to a regular sleep schedule habituates your body in a helpful way as it is prompted knowingly when to fall asleep. My bedtime has been 10:00 every since I was a kid and it still is. Sometimes, I am in bed earlier to read but the lights are out by 10:00.
Pay attention to what you eat and drink. Each of us will be different. Caffeinated tea does not inhibit my sleep. Many times, I will have a glass of herbal tea to just relax. I am not sure if this is doing anything for my body physically but it is definitely helping me mentally, to wind down. Also, avoid heavy meals and late night snacking.
Supplements for sleep. There are some nights where I am just having a hard time relaxing. Maybe I’m keyed up from a movie I’ve just seen or we are getting home late from an activity. Either way, I need a little help to get me sleepy and ready for bed. I usually turn to melatonin gummies or cherry juice, which contains tryptophan (which helps the body produce melatonin).
A hot bath. Every night. Without fail. This is my personal time. My kids know it as does my husband. I get my book or ipad (haven’t dropped it in the water yet) and I read and relax. I sometimes light a scented candle but mostly, I soak and I just relax. I add epsom salts or relaxing bubble bath and use a favorite soap. This does wonders for me on every level and it is my personal ritual that I look forward to every night.
Create a restful setting to prompt your body (and mind) to sleep. Ensure that your sheets are clean and your room is free of clutter. Invest in some Egyptian cotton sheets and a soft comforter. Crawling into bed should be an inviting ritual. Use a diffuser in your room with some lavender essential oil to help promote relaxation (be sure to turn it off before you doze off).
Lower the thermostat at night. Studies show that the cooler the room, the better we sleep. If you use a ceiling fan, put it on a low setting.
Tend to your worries. It’s hard to fall asleep when you have a lot on your mind. Trust me, I know. I’ve been there. There are several ideas to remedy these bedtime worries from meditation to journaling which all work well. My tip, while probably not what most people want to hear, is to watch TV. Yes, we have a TV in the bedroom and yes, I turn it on and watch a funny movie or some documentary to take my mind off of whatever my worries are. If I didn’t, I would lie in bed staring at the ceiling and my mind would start to wonder. I know myself well enough to know that silence doesn’t work for me. I need distraction and watching a TV show, while in bed, helps to distract until I’m tired enough to drift off to dreamland.
Relaxation Channels. Lastly, one of the most relaxing night time rituals for me is to listen to sleep stories. There are so many out there now. I personally listen to Michelle’s Sanctuary as she has a variety of not only sleep stories, but meditations, to choose from. I usually do not make it through the whole story since the goal of the story is to help me fall asleep… and it does. I guess, I will have to listen to the end of one of the stories in the middle of the day.
I hope these tips can help you as well to getting a restful night’s sleep.