7 Wind Down Rituals That Will Do Wonders For Your Sleep
October 27, 2021
You know the feeling when you get into bed and your body is tired, but your brain is awake?
Your mind is still racing and replaying events or conversations you had earlier that day.
Then, you start thinking about what you need to do tomorrow.
You look at your phone and the minutes keep passing you by and you're doing the maths, calculating how many hours you'll get if you fall asleep now...
If you can relate, it's time to switch up your evening habits and implement some simple rituals that can do wonders for your sleep.
Switch off the lights
Darkness is the key to producing melatonin. In the last hour before bed, switch off any down lights in your house and turn on a couple of lamps instead.
Enjoy a chamomile tea
What started off as a natural remedy for indigestion during pregnancy quickly turned into a nightly ritual.
There's nothing quite like a warm, soothing cup of caffeine-free tea to help you relax and unwind before bed.
More than that, the plant extract contains apigenin, a chemical compound that induces sleepiness, so if you're having trouble falling asleep, a cup of Chamomile could be the best thing you add to your bedtime routine.
Have a hot shower
Your brain needs to drop its temperature by 2-3 degrees Fahrenheit before it can sleep. This explains why it’s easier to sleep in colder weather. A hot shower can assist because the thermal heat (from the shower) evacuates from your body, causing your core body temperature to plummet when you exit the shower.
We like to combine #1 and #2 by having a candle-lit shower. Not only does it induce a more restful state, it adds a touch of luxury to your shower experience and creates the kind of vibe you'd expect at a spa retreat. So simple.
Lie down with your legs up the wall
This is such a simple yet restorative pose to reverse the effects of sitting or standing all day. It's a chance for your body to fully surrender and rest. 10-15 minutes is recommended to truly reap the benefits.
All you have to do is find a wall, lie perpendicular with your butt up against the wall, extend your legs up at a 90 degree angle (or as close to it), open your arms out to the side, and relax.
Legs up the wall pose can also help relieve lower back pain, improve circulation and ease any tension you might be experiencing in your body.
Spray magnesium before bed
When you spray it directly onto your skin, your body starts absorbing it immediately. It goes straight to your blood vessels and muscles rather than being absorbed by your digestive system when you take it orally. How's that for efficiency!
But, why magnesium?
Well, magnesium helps maintain healthy levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that is directly related to sleep. It also naturally relieves stress and tension in your body which helps with the wind-down process.
Put your phone away
The invasion of light into the home (screens, lights) can suppress the hormone melatonin which tells your brain when it’s dark and when it’s time to sleep. The exposure to light tricks your brain into thinking that it’s daytime.
Screen time essentially delays the release of melatonin and impacts the amount of REM sleep you receive and overall sleep quality.
So, in favour of quality sleep, turn on "do not disturb" and put your phone away. If it's in plain sight, the temptation might be unbearable, so keep it in a drawer if you need to. On some occasions, I've even had my partner hide it for me. Out of sight, out of mind.
Try a deep breathing exercise
Taking slow, deep breaths is one of the easiest and most effective ways to engage your body’s natural relaxation response.
Try the 7/11 technique where you breathe in for a count of 7 and out for a count of 11. It’s all about the longer exhales.
As you exhale, try to release any tension you might feeling in your body. Unclench your jaw. Relax your shoulders. Feel your body sink into your mattress.