Everyday is a little different and often totally unpredictable. But a lot of us have some sort of consistency around how we wind down. We have little rituals that prepare us for night, and routine can bring people a sense of comfort in this way.
When done right, nighttime routines can give your body that nudge it needs to doze off into quality rest and create a sort of separation between active time and relaxation. And pre-bedtime is a treat! Even if it’s just brushing teeth and having a glass of water, these are minutes set for self care. These 7 ideas might help make that time just a little more indulgent and help you get that rest you need to continue tackling and enjoying each day.
1. Set the space, leave, and come back to it
It’s like giving yourself a turn down service! There are many ways to make your bedroom become the ideal sleep setting. Make the bed to look inviting, set the room temperature, and dim the lights. I also like to light a candle, play calming music, and prepare a glass of water next to my bed. When you return to that space (give it about 20 minutes) it feels like the biggest treat.
2. Work a little mindfulness into your routine
Sure, this could mean silently focussing on your breath for several minutes; meditation no doubt has huge benefits on sleep. But if making that kind of habit feels intimidating, a great way to start is incorporating mindfulness into what you already do. Maybe as you’re washing your face you imagine washing the day off. Maybe you find joy in changing clothes… these are some of our softest, most comfortable, intimate garments. Indulge in that!
3. Read a good book
You may have heard of the dreaded effect blue light can have on your body’s melatonin production. But distracting the mind with stories and ideas can be a perfect way to drift off. Kick it old school and pick up a book in hard copy.
Okay, fact check me on this… but a friend of mine once shared that most people live in a “desert state”, meaning our bodies are so used to being dehydrated that they’ve learned to retain water… like a freaking cactus! We’re not cacti-- we’re people, people. Hydrating is essential to helping the body thrive and recover. The best way to drink more water is to make it habitual. Before bed is a perfect time to create consistency around replenishing the system.
This is going to look different person-to-person. To get into a journaling habit, it helps to incorporate a bit of structure. When it comes to nighttime routines, gratitude is high on the suggestion list. You might write down a few things you are grateful for or reflect on something awesome that happened today. We can also incorporate hope-- try writing down one thing you’re excited about. There is probably a way that journaling will feel like an indulgence rather than a task; the key is to find your sweet spot.
5. Make a to-do list… and then put it the heck away.
While we’re writing things down, putting to-do’s on paper can really help close all those mental tabs. Lists give tasks somewhere to live, that way they don’t have to come to bed with you.
6. Let it go!
Don’t stress too much when you miss the journaling one night, or forget to put on that serum, or reach for netflix over novels from time to time. These things only work if they feel good. And building shame around healthy habits never helped anyone. Be careful of making it stressful, or, as my mom says, “shoulding all over yourself”. Enjoy these moments that are all yours.
By Callie Ferguson, Hey Duvet Contributor