3 Things to Add to Your Evening Ritual to Get Better Sleep
October 1, 2017
If your evening ritual consists of collapsing onto your couch and binge watching TV or scrolling endlessly through news feeds and other internet rabbit holes, then crawling into bed when your eyelids get too heavy…your evening ritual needs a makeover.
Studies on sleep hygiene strongly suggest that an evening routine significantly improves actual sleep – the prime time for bodily rejuvenation and repair. Mindfulness practices know that conscious rest and learning how to “be” and how to release obsessive attachments to “doing” is a pivotal factor is creating a high quality of life. Use these tips to refine your current evening ritual and wake up ready to manifest the heck out of your day.
Turn off all devices 15-30 minutes before bedtime
Just make this one happen. Dig deep to find the tough love from your inner teacher and unplug before you lay down for the night. Blue light emission is known to stimulate the brain in a way that keeps us active. You may be using tech hacks like a filter that prevents the blue light on your screens, but screen time is nonetheless a stimulating activity. Create a clear “state change” that signals to your brain a switch from any activity or technology you’ve used during waking hours in order to better shift with the support of your circadian rhythm.
Create a Self Love Routine
If you’re up for unplugging but don’t know what to do with yourself, create a self-care routine that requires no technology. Personal hygiene is a transformational act of self-love. After you log out and turn off your devices, start by changing into your nighttime outfit. Then brush and floss your teeth. Yes, these are old school techniques, but they are timeless for a reason. Next, up your game by doing something special for your body. Pamper your skin, give yourself a mini foot massage or try a few restorative yoga poses to wind down any excess tension in your body. Finally, finish with a few minutes of prayer and meditation or slow breathing exercises to begin calming your nervous system.
Have a troubleshooting plan
If you don’t fall asleep within 15 minutes of laying down, do not hop back on your device or turn on a show. Instead, get out of bed and sit with a book or magazine, the analog paper kind, not the digital kind. Do not take care of any menial tasks like cleaning or organizing, and don’t get on any of your devices. Sit somewhere with low, ambient lighting. Bright lighting is meant to mimic sunlight. You don’t want to send any mixed messages to your overactive brain. Stay in the slumber mood. If you’re not a big reader, try journaling or doodling. When you feel a little bit tired again, return to bed. Repeat this step if after 15 minutes, you still don’t fall sleep.
Like all rituals, keep your intention clear and consistent. Sleep is a gift to our immune system, mental constitution, and future best self. Approach these changes in your evening routine with patience and trust, knowing that they are preparing you for nourishing sleep and revitalization.