I started writing this blog post and I realized that my bedtime routine is kind of elaborate, but it was developed out of necessity.
By nature I’m an anxious person and a deep thinker. I carry my emotions around long after a situation has passed. As a result, I’m typically pretty tense at the end of a long day and my brain is full from all the interaction I’ve had with people.
This means that sleep can be a problem. My kids have slept through the night since 2009 so why was I always tossing and turning?
Part of it was that I was going to bed with a day’s worth of junk still on my brain and in my body. I had nowhere to put it so it snuggled under the covers with me, making space where calm and rest should have been.
I decided to get serious about my sleep in early 2018 and played around with activities that would help me actually get some rest.
What my current bedtime routine looks like:
- An 30-minute herbal bath. I like adding chamomile leaves + lavender buds to my bath water, plus a couple drops of essential oils and sea salt. Sometimes I play music, other times it’s silent. I love to bathe by candlelight whenever possible because it brings the stimulation down a notch. I always tell people that baths are an introvert’s best friend. It soothes us and replenishes our reserves.
- A quick rub-down. A thick body butter applied right after the bath releases any additional physical tension. (Pay special attention to arms, legs, chest, hands and feet!)
- A quick facial. I recently read about the 60-second rule in face washing (I admit I’m usually around 30 seconds and then I keep it pushing!). So now I pamper my face a little before bed and taking the time to do a 4-step facial routine (cleanser, toner, moisturizer and serum) makes me feel pretty. Rubbing your face is hella relaxing.
- A quick read. I set my DND time from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. to keep the screens out of my face when I need to be winding down for bed. I’ll be honest – some nights are better than others. I’ve been trying to make it to the library once a week so I can restock on books and always have something new to read (nerd alert!).
So there you have it. I start getting ready for bed about an hour before I want my head to hit the pillow. I have to say that on the nights I am intentional about my sleep routine, I have much better rest than on the nights I don’t.
So if you are having trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep, try these three things:
- Physical relief – Our bodies carry tension within all damn day. When are you giving yourself actual physical relief? A bath, a short yoga sequence (hell, just a few stretches), a shower, a massage from your partner, a weighted blanket — all of these are ways to provide some comfort to your body, as a thank you for getting you through another day.
- Emotional relief – Was something emotionally taxing to you today? Have you found time + space to let it breathe? Have you found a resolution (even if that resolution is to let it go)? This is a great time to journal (written or video) and let those emotions live somewhere other than your brain.
- Mental relief – I like to think of this as “closing tabs.” You know how when you have a gazillion tabs open your browser runs slower? (Maybe it’s just my old computer – ha!) Taking time to “close the tabs” at the end of the day gives you the space to breathe. Carrying items over from one day to the next causes you to toss and turn and results in insufficient sleep (ask me how I know!). So take a minute to check off your to-do list, write a new one for the following day or just doodle for a while to give your brain a chance to reset.
Enjoyed this article? Don’t miss part 1 on a morning routine that fuels you for the day ahead.