Sleep is a PROCESS. I like to think of it as a ritual that needs to be honoured step-by-step.
Here’s my personal (extended) nighttime routine for evenings when I need to GUARANTEE a super restorative sleep…
1. Hot Water & Supplements.
While hydration is mega important - it can also be disruptive if not done with strategic timing. I always like to take my nighttime supplements with some warm lemon water about 2 hrs before sleeping, so I’m not interrupted with bathroom breaks as I fall asleep.
2. Lights Off.
Light literally tells the body to “wake up” and blocks our natural production of melatonin (which helps us fall into a restful state), so be sure to dim all the lights as much as possible. I always try to get by with as much candle-light as possible!
3. No Phones Please.
While it’s tempting to check your phone during your “me time” at night, it’s incredibly stimulating - i.e. exactly the opposite of what you want to be doing as you’re winding down in the evening. Setting boundaries & expectations amongst friends and family can be helpful here. Maybe giving them a “heads up” that you’ll be turning off your phone (or otherwise not checking your messages) after a certain time - so not to worry, and also not to take it personally.
4. Light the Candles.
For myself, candles are not just a source of soothing nighttime light, but also a great way to treat yourself to some calming aromatherapy. Note that many candles can omit harmful toxins into the air, so be sure to source candles made from vegetable wax (like soy, beeswax, or non-GMO corn), and definitely avoid paraffin wax at all costs. The wick should always be cotton, and preferably organic. Great evening scents include essential oils such as lavender, ylang ylang, and chamomile - but follow what smells soothing & delightful to YOU!
5. Hit The Jukebox.
Okay, this might sound counterproductive, but finding the right soundtrack for an evening wind-down is ESSENTIAL for in shifting out of fight-or-flight state and into rest-and-digest mode. There are so many wonderful soundscapes & binaural audios in Youtube that really help to activate your parasympathetic nervous system and are like sound nectar to the soul!
6. Stretch It Out.
While I’ve never been one for strenuous exercise at night (well, for any time of the day for that matter!) - I am all for a good restorative yoga session or intuitive stretch sesh before getting still and crawling into bed to lay flat all night! Often we still have pent up energy stuck in the physical body at the end of the day, and it can be a nice release ritual to “shake it out” via movement so that we can feel light again as we close our day. Again - YouTube is a blessing if you prefer to be guided through a practice vs. DIY-it!
7. Gratitude Journaling.
This is a quick & easy way to tap into a higher emotional frequency and prime your brain towards positivity right before you fall into a hypnotic state. I have a journal by my bedside and I simply write a single page of all the things I’m grateful for - either circumstances that happened today, positive coincidences or just noting things/people/etc. which I am thankful for currently. It’s amazing how good you feel after even just 5-10 minutes of this practice.
8. Rest Without Expectations.
This is more of a perspective that I’m recommending rather than a specific ritual or active practice. When we go to bed in a state of peace and total acceptance of whatever is & whatever will be, we can enjoy the rest we are all entitled to receive. It’s important not to be in an energy of panic or fear about “getting enough” or “good” sleep - that will often completely defeat the purpose. Instead, release expectations and have a sense of curiosity and contentment for whatever may be. Bonus - you’ll be even more grateful for the rest you DO get!