Creating a Sleep Ritual
Lack of sleep goes well beyond just feeling groggy. It affects nearly every part of your mental and physical wellbeing and health. Arianna Huffington, from the Huffington Post, has become one of the biggest advocates for overall health. In her book Thrive, she discusses the incredible importance of catching an ample amount of z’s in order to truly thrive, be successful, happy and healthy in life. Noted by the University of Oxford on the Huff Post, “Sleep is the single most important health behaviour we have. It affects everything from our day-to-day functioning to our long-term physical and mental health.”
Sleep is such a hot topic right now, so we’ll be covering many aspects of this crucial health habit. Starting off, we’re tackling how to even just get to bed in the first place, and hopefully sleep through the night. With so many to-do lists, distractions and late nights, it’s proving more and more challenging for many of us to get a full night’s rest (we’re talking over 7 hours). In order to help us all out, like the idea of a sleep ritual. Just as you would with your mornings (breakfast, movement, coffee, etc), we need to do the same in the evening in order to wind down and prepare our bodies and minds for sleep.
Here’s our list of some of the best ways to begin to create a sleep ritual into your daily regime. Try them all or even simply start with one. Once you get into a rhythm of prepping the body for a restful slumber, and better yet, enjoy a full night’s sleep, you’ll never look back!
+ CREATE A SLEEP ENVIRONMENT
This should be done both nightly as well as overall. Keeping the bedroom free of technology, food and other activities aside from sleep, rest and sex, will in itself allow for a welcoming restful space. Make sure the room temperature isn’t too hot nor cold, there are no blinking or bright lights, or anything else to stimulate and distract you. Also, don’t underestimate the power of a comfortable bed!
+ RELAX THE BODY
This is a personal one and quite subjective on what relaxes your body best. It could be a warm bath with essential oils, an evening walk or some light stretching. By calming the physical body, we trick the mind into thinking we are relaxed and ready for rest. We may lead busy lives, but never too busy to have a quick hot shower or do a few stretches before hitting the pillow.
+ TECHNOLOGY SHUTDOWN
Have a ‘tech turn off time’ set each night, preferable an hour before bedtime. This is something most of us are aware of yet do it anyway. It’s easy to get caught up in social media, unanswered emails, texts, aimless web browsing, and at times feels like a way to unwind; however, this only creates more stimulation in the mind and body.
Seemingly distracting, reading a physical book (no LED lights here) actually tires out the eyes and often induces sleep. Reading fiction especially allows us to disconnect from our daily life, the physical world and just melt into a nice story before our eyes start to naturally shut.
+ TAKE MAGNESIUM
In cases where getting to sleep can be frustrating and difficult, perhaps even with a calming nightly routine, we suggest opting for some natural magnesium powder to calm the nervous system (this is not to be mistaken for sleeping pills – a big no no in our books!). Our favourite is Natural Calm, a magnesium powder that mixed with hot water becomes a lovely bedtime lemony ‘tea’.
This can be a great tool for people with a very busy mind. Have something on the brain – a task, a thought, a worry, whatever – write it down. Get it out of your mind and onto paper. It will be there when you wake, and better prepared to tackle it. Avoid hefty to-do lists though, this will stimulate your mind and do the opposite affect by creating more anxiety and stress!
+ ALLOW FOR IMPERFECTION
Don’t beat yourself up if you answered a few emails too late, got sucked into Youtube, or simply couldn’t fall asleep. Everything is a practice, daily. Once you get into the rhythm of a bed time ritual (and start feeling that much better), you will just naturally need it. Also, the weekends are different. There are folks that suggest sticking with a schedule seven days a week to keep the body’s clock in routine, but we say hey – let loose and enjoy your days off. If that means not setting an alarm and allowing your body to wake when it’s ready, go for it. It’s all about balance, always.
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