Creating a bedtime routine can be incredibly powerful. We know all about doing this for our kids, why shouldn’t it work for us too? Establishing a peaceful atmosphere can help induce relaxation, and a regular and calming routine can send powerful message to the brain that it is time to unwind and switch off from the day’s happenings.
As someone who once experienced horrendous sleep problems, I had to work hard to discover the routine that worked best for me. So here are the habits I’ve established – and I truly know how effective these can be…
MY TOP TIPS
1. No screens for AT LEAST 1 hour before bedtime. This one is all about melatonin production & how we can utilise understanding of this to enhance our sleep.
2. Consider alternatives to TV as a pre-bed activity. Although some TV can be a great switch off, it is sometimes over-stimulating. Reading a book, listening to a podcast or simply listening to music are all options which may be more relaxing.
3. Enjoy a warm drink. My preference would be a cup of chamomile tea. For some warm milk does the trick (it contains both tryptophan and melatonin) but for some it can have the opposite effect: try it out yourself before making the decision.
4. Avoid vigorous exercise too close to bedtime, but do consider something calming such as yoga, with its emphasis on calming and relaxing.
5. Even if you don’t want to do a full yoga workout, I thoroughly believe in the benefits of a few yoga stretches before bed. Although we may think we’ve become physically relaxed during our evening, we usually tend to sit in one position – whether watching TV or reading a book – for some time. We then get into bed & lie pretty much in one position for many hours, and this combination can lead to waking stiff and achey. Instead, try a few gentle mobilisation exercises such as some shoulder rolls, a Pilates roll down, and a yoga cat stretch before getting in to bed to ease out sore muscles.
6. Make your cleansing routine – however simple or complex it may be – a calming ritual. Think of massaging the skin as you remove make up, take in the scents of your products & focus on your breathing throughout. I would add here that it’s worth thinking about the products you use near to bedtime. Using natural products containing essential oils can aid relaxation and sleep.
7. A quick spritz around your bed or over your pillow with an essential oil based Pillow Mist will leave a waft of lavender or whatever your chosen scent may be, and can be a fabulous way to induce sleep
8. If you have difficulty sleeping, a few drops of cedarwood essential oil on the soles of your feet can work wonders for insomnia.
9. All the many benefits of essential oils can be enjoyed best by using a diffuser, and it is my own absolute preferred bedtime soother. Choose your favourite from the many scents that can aid relaxation: lavender, frankincense, cedarwood, marjoram, chamomile, vetiver…
10. If with all of this you are still struggling to sleep, or if thoughts are still racing around in your head, try Belly Breathing whilst focusing on relaxing the body rather than on sleep, until you drift to the land of dreams…