nightly routine

My Nightly Routine

IMG_20150207_121815My last post was on how to establish a routine to help insomnia. I talked about how it is important to spend time before bed relaxing and without electronics. To give you some ideas of things you might want to incorporate into your evenings I thought I’d share what I do!

So, I go to bed every night at 11. Pick a time that works for you, ideally you will probably want to be sleeping for about 8 hours though so factor this in. I have also read (though have not seen much research to back this up) that your body releases certain “restorative” hormones only between the hours of 12 and 2 at night and that you have to be asleep by 10 for this to happen. Not sure how much truth there is to that but it’s something to consider.

Here is an example of a typical night for me

Bye bye technology. Around 9:30-10:00 I turn off my laptop and stop using my phone (well, mostly. I turn on my app that blocks out the blue light from it and only use it to text my boyfriend off and on. Don’t judge!

Start by taking sometime to get ready for the next day… I make my lunch sometimes, check to see if have clothes that are clean, and make a to do list. Whatever it is you need to do, do it, and then stop worrying about it. It’s taken care of for now, it will all be there tomorrow to deal with and hey! You’ve got a head start on it!

Drink something warm and relaxing. I love filling my favorite mug up with warm almond milk and adding honey and cinnamon. Holding the warm mug, seeing the steam rise off the top, and smelling the calming scent, is such a great way to unwind. Try a relaxing tea blend or just warm water with lemon, a lot of people find that cherry juice helps them to sleep. Just find something that you can look forward to immersing yourself in and will signal the end of a long day for you.

Do something calming. This could include…

  • reading a book
  • journalling
  • listening to soft music
  • taking time to do some visualizing or deep breathing exercises
  • spending quality time with your spouse or kids
  • taking a bath (with low lights, bubbles, candles, and music)
  • having someone give you a massage
  • giving yourself a manicure, pedicure, or facial
  • working on a hobby or craft
  • whatever it is that you enjoy and find relaxing

Do all of the above if you want! This is free time you get to spend doing things for you. Sometimes this is hard for us to do, to focus on ourselves and not feel guilty about it (or is this just me?), but this is a form of self care and is important to your mental well-being. So it’s okay! Enjoy it and know that it’s benefiting your health at the same time!

Consider taking something to help you sleep. Common natural supplements people use are melatonin and valerian. I found that GABA is helpful for me occasionally.

Finally, get ready for bed. Showers make me sleepy so I take one every night right before bed. I go into the bathroom, brush my teeth, take a hot shower with my lavender scented body wash, get out, dry off, use a moisturizing lotion (again, one with lavender in it), and put on pajamas!

At exactly 11 o’clock, after adding a drop of lavender oil to my pillow and turning on music, I crawl into bed and and after following this routine, am now able to fall asleep within 15 minutes compared to the hours and days I would be awake for before.

What do you do to help you unwind at night? What are your tips and tricks? Thanks for reading (:

All personal photos.