Getting a good night's rest is essential to a mindful, sustainable and comfortable life. We know that a good mattress and healthy organic sheets are essential to getting a comfortable night's rest, but before your head even hits the pillow, a good routine is essential to make the most of your investment.
We scoured the internet and research papers to find the best tips with sleep in mind. In the end, we found that putting together a routine you can stick to on most nights is the best way to get better sleep. So what should form part of such a routine? We found the following to be the most common, so scan the headlines or deep-dive into each section and pick and choose to make them your own.
Hot bath or shower 60-90 minutes before bed will help you get to sleep 10 minutes faster
According to researchers at the University of Texas, your body naturally drops in temperature as you fall asleep - in fact, your body temperature is at its lowest point during the middle of your sleep. Having a warm bath approximately 60-90 minutes before bedtime raises your body temperature, and when you get out of the bath, it starts to fall. At the end of a long day, this fall mimics the natural decrease in body temperature that occurs right before sleep. Thus, signalling to your body to get into sleep mode.
Get to bed with some essential oils
It is a well known fact that essential oils have the power to lift your spirits and release stress. They have the magical ability to boost your mood, support digestion, cleanse your body and promote restful sleep, to name but a few reasons as to why they should form part of your wellness toolkit. Dr. Mariza Snyder, Functional Practitioner and Wellness Advocate, names Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Cedarwood, Vetiver, and Ylang Ylang as her oils of choice when it comes to sleep. Mix a few drops of each with distilled water or witch hazel to spray your bedding with; use topically to reap their powerful soothing benefits; create a rollerball blend to apply to your feet; or even diffuse during the night, whilst you sleep.
Set your room temperature to 18.3 C (65F) to get better sleep
According to Japanese researchers, setting your room temperature between 15.6°C and 19.4°C (60°F and 67°F) is ideal for a good night's rest. These temperatures were found to help get your body to the ideal internal temperature for a good night's sleep.
Put down your phone/tablet/laptop at least 60 minutes before bedtime
Disconnect from devices at least an hour before bedtime. Ideally, this should be before you indulge in a bath. It has been well studied that using electronic devices before bedtime can be physically and mentally stimulating in ways that can impact your sleep. How and why? According to the Sleep Foundation, the type of light that emanates from your electronic device is called a ‘blue light’ - this is a short-wavelength light. This light disrupts your internal clock causing you to suppress the release of sleep hormones. Basically, it keeps you awake and then on top of that, makes it harder to fall into deep sleep. This in turn, makes you more tired for the following day.
Mindful breathing and meditation
At a very basic level, recognizing your breath is the easiest way to get in some mindfulness. It’s a simple task - breath in for a count of 3, hold for a count of 4, breath out for a count of 5, and repeat for 60 seconds. This is an all-time favourite breathing exercise of celebrated physician, author, television presenter and podcaster @drchatterjee. He asserts that when your out-breath is longer than your in-breath, the activation of your stress-state is reduced, thus encouraging your body to move into a thrive state. Breathing is essential to life and taking a minute or more to recognize just the fact that you are breathing, makes you stop thinking about anything else and provides a welcome break from the everyday.
So in conclusion, a bedtime routine can increase the likelihood of getting a good night's rest. A sure way of sticking to a routine is to start about an hour before you plan on going to bed. Start by turning off your devices, having a hot bath or shower, diffusing some essential oils, journaling or reading and finally some mindful breathing into zzzzzzzz.
This may sound like a lot, but if you implement one part of the routine at a time, practice it for a few days and then add to it gradually, it will start to stick. Sleep is the one thing you will never catch up on, so make it a priority. The benefits are endless since good sleep leads to higher energy levels, better physical health, improved mental health, and much, much more.