The Bedtime Routine of Your (Sweet) Dreams
Adequate sleep is one of the most important and underrated forms of self-care to boost both your physical and mental health.
Among the many benefits are improved memory, heart health, stress reduction, increased energy, and a strengthened immune system. Another beautiful and well-researched advantage of healthy sleep hygiene is decreased symptoms of anxiety and depression. Um...amazing!
But if you’re anything like me, sleeping has not always come easy. In the past, I would ponder every challenge I’ve ever had in life the moment my head hit the pillow. I was no stranger to tossing and turning as well as really intense sleep anxiety. I even developed a legitimate fear of the dark (sigh). But after taking a closer look at my night time routine, I realized quickly that my habits weren’t serving me.
With my sights set on a more energized state of being, peaceful vibes at night, and higher quality sleep, I switched things up and developed new night time rituals. And let me tell you, they made all the difference. Here is an easy-to-implement routine that will have you looking forward to bedtime all day.
DURING THE DAY
These simple reminders when the sun is up will have you feeling your best after sunset.
WAKE UP EARLY Waking up early will help your body’s sleep pattern align with the sun, our natural biological tendency. Pro tip: get outside in natural sunlight to promote this balance even more.
LIMIT CAFFEINE Cutting out caffeine altogether helped me curb my sleep anxiety, but if you love your coffee, I totally get it! Just don’t drink any after 3pm so as to not disturb your sleep patterns.
EXERCISE Being active should be on every list ever made related to self-care. This one is no exception. Not only is exercise a must for optimal mental and physical health, but your body will be even more tired and ready to settle down when night falls. Plus, you’ll sleep even sounder knowing those glutes are poppin’!
PREP YOUR SPACE
Create a soothing, comfortable environment that will signal your mind that it’s time to relax and unwind.
CLEAN UP Make sure your bedroom is clean and tidy. An organized space is a great way to soothe anxiety symptoms and support a healthy flow of energy. So straighten that stack of books, handle that overflowing hamper, and break out the vacuum. This is a game-changer and sets the tone for a fresh and calming evening. You deserve a clean space and you’ll notice the difference in your energy right away.
SMELL THE ROSES Essential oils are a great way to feel grounded. Pick a scent that smells delicious to you and let the aroma create your perfect bedtime vibe. Lavender, vanilla, sandalwood, and bergamot are some night time favorites known to promote sleep. My personal go-to is a rose water spritz, and The Potion by KETISH is also a great add to your diffuser or pillow mist to promote a calming effect.
FLUFF YOUR PILLOWS Or get new ones! This tip is about taking inventory of your mattress, bed sheets, and pillows. This seems obvious but is such an overlooked factor to get healthy sleep. Ask yourself, are you sleeping comfortably? Is your mattress more firm or soft than your liking? How about your pillow? Buying new bedding does cost a few bucks but may be totally worth it if your sleep challenges are related to a lumpy mattress or scratchy sheets. If it’s in your budget and would support your sleep, look into mattress toppers, weighted blankets (which are great for anxiety), and other helpful items. Plus, revamping your sleep space to match the comfort and aesthetic you prefer is a great way to break out of a bedtime rut.
KEEP YOUR ROOM COOL This one is simple. Cooler temperatures have been linked to better sleep since your body temperature cools naturally at night. Aim for 65-68 degrees Fahrenheit if you can. Getting a small fan is another simple and cheap way to create that midnight breeze.
No need to count sheep. These activities will help you feel extra relaxed and content. Begin these rituals about one hour before bed.
CHARGE UP YOUR VIBRATOR If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, an orgasm a night will keep your sleep cycle right… okay, I couldn’t help myself! Seriously though, research shows that orgasms will help you catch all the z’s. When you climax, the feel-good hormones oxytocin and serotonin are released, the former of which lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol while the latter plays a key role in establishing and maintaining a healthy sleep cycle. At the same time, they cultivate feelings of calm, connection, and relaxation that combat sleep disorders like insomnia. And if all that doesn’t have you scrambling to find batteries, you can take comfort in knowing that high quality sleep leads to more orgasms, bringing it all full-circle.
TAKE A HOT SHOWER Let the stress and worries of the day melt away and run right down the drain. Make this a moment! Take a deep breath and breathe in the steam, notice how the water feels against your scalp. This moment is yours! I also like to wash my face in the shower, massaging my temples and eyelids. Think: luxury spa.
PUT ON YOUR FAVORITE PAJAMAS Simple as that! I love a matching set just to be dramatic, but I’m all about an oversized t-shirt or baggy sweats, too. Whatever makes you feel coziest. Sleeping naked is also said to help you sleep deeper, lose weight, feel more confident, and reduce stress...so, hey, your birthday suit is always an option!
DO SOMETHING MINDFUL You’ve got choices here like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing. The idea here is to feel how you feel for a few moments, resisting judgment or the urge to fight against any emotions. Your only job is to notice your breath. Ahhh.
GRAB A SNACK This is optional, of course, but for those that get the after-dinner munchies, there are some foods that will support your sleep. Enjoy some herbal tea (I love peppermint, chamomile, or Sleepy Time). You can also grab cherries and almonds which are a natural source of melatonin, or a banana which has magnesium and potassium to relax your muscles. (You know, the ones that are tired from your workout earlier.)
REMEMBER...NO SCREEN TIME! This is the hour before you’re heading to sleep, so avoid TV and using your phone. This is hard at first, I know, but it is so helpful in allowing you to wind down. Instead try reading or listening to a podcast, drawing, knitting, doing a puzzle, or journaling about what you’re thankful for.
For some extra help winding down, here are a few other helpful and totally safe options to consider.
MAGNESIUM SUPPLEMENTS Magnesium is an important mineral for over 300 bodily functions. Your daily intake supports cardiovascular health, bone health, nerve health, curbing anxiety and depression and more that you can read about here. It also helps the mind and body feel calm due to the activation of neurotransmitters. In a nutshell, it’s just really freaking helpful. There are magnesium supplements in pill form, gummy form or powders (I put this in hot water like tea). Research the right amount of magnesium for you and consult with your doctor.
CBD PRODUCTS If you live somewhere with access to CBD products, they may be a great option for promoting relaxation and sleep. Note: the products I am referring to contain CBD, not THC, meaning there is no psychoactive component or feeling of being “high.” Also, CBD products are not regulated like other drugs or supplements by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) so doing your own research is crucial. Read about The 6 Best CBD Brands for Sleep, a list compiled by Healthline and again, consult with your doctor.
Struggling to sleep is really tiring (pun-intended). These ideas are a warm reminder that we can play around with our routines, infusing them with fresh ideas and energy. Let’s get creative, remain open, and remember that change is possible with a little patience. Sweet dreams, sis!