A mindful evening ritual for a deeper sleep..
We list the common culprits that contribute to broken & restless sleep. Read on to learn more of the benefits surrounding a mindful evening routine.
Sleep is one of the most underrated necessities of human life. In this modern age, we manage to pack so much into our days that it can be hard to fall asleep when our head hits the pillow.
The hours leading up to your bedtime and the activities surrounding your evening, play an integral role in the body’s ability to sleep well.
Below is a list of things to consider when turning out for the night and getting those much needed Zzz’s….
GO TECH FREE..
In our modern world, life usually revolves around communication and in this day and age we don’t often have a break from our phones. Technology is a wonderful invention, but it is becoming increasingly evident that this constant connection to our phones, our laptops - all technology - is having a huge affect on our health.
Make a conscious effort to put your phone away early in the evening. Eliminating the use of your mobile phone will help to disconnect you and the outside world, and will encourage you to be more present in your evening at home, for yourself and your family.
Removing your mobile phone from your nightly routine ensures you aren’t being notified by text message, email, or an alert on your social media constantly.
If the last thing you do when you close your eyes is read notifications from the outside world, it’s going to make it hard for your brain to switch off and you may lie there staring at the ceiling for hours.
Screen time right before bed, certainly affects how you sleep. TV screens, laptops, back lit mobile phones..all of these affect the sleep signals your body is trying to configure.
Turning off those screens a few hours before your bedtime, allows clear communication in your body to signal to your circadian rhythm center (hypothalamus), that it’s light’s out.
The blue light from phones, laptops etc passes through the retina of the eyes into a part of the hypothalamus (remember - this is the area of the brain that controls several sleep activities) and delays the release of the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin.
Switch your focus from your device to your present moment, choose calming activities and low key face to face conversations and you’ll notice the difference in your ability to fall off to sleep quickly.
EAT LIGHT, AND EARLY..
Preparing a nutritious, light dinner is important because it means the body is spending less energy digesting food when it could be unwinding from a full day.
The digestion system shouldn’t be overloaded right before bed, as this will increase the level of work directed to your digestive system, and away from your nervous system (the part of the body that regulates hormones for sleep).
Notice how you feel after dinner, and note if anything could be improved. Limit alcohol, caffeine, gluten, refined carbohydrates and processed foods, or your body will be processing these well into the wee hours of the morning.
SWAP OVERHEAD BRIGHT LIGHTING FOR LAMPS OR CANDLE LIGHT..
There’s nothing more relaxing than a room scattered with candles. Soft lighting sets the mood and allows us to wind down, keeping our cortisol levels low and our minds steady.
Swap your overhead bright lights for low lighting, like lamps or candles and the body will automatically go into relax mode. The pure feel of the room will have you already in the mood for sleep well before you crawl into bed.
TAKE A BATH..
Drawing yourself a bath at the end of your day is a beautiful addition to an evening ritual. Lying back in a warm bath (bubbles = optional!) forces you pause.
Avoid the urge to take your phone into the bathroom (remember, the phone has no place in this nightly equation!) and focus on the time you have for yourself. The temperature and slightly buoyant sensation of being submerged in water. The feel of the water on your skin. The enveloping, nurturing affect having a bath has on your mind.
Adding some clean, high quality magnesium salts or Epsom Salts to the water as it’s running will ease muscle ache, help with cellular repair and increase hydration levels.
SKIN CARE RITUAL (remove makeup)..
Treat this part of your routine as another form of self love. Cleansing your face and washing the day off your skin (especially make-up) allows your skin to breathe and receive touch and attention.
Gently, as you remove your make-up, notice your complexion. Notice the vitality in your skin and find gratitude for the person looking back at you in the mirror.
If you haven’t used a face masque in a while, you might want to consider adding this into your skin care ritual 1-2 times per week.
Applying a face masque helps to hydrate the skin, removing any excess oils and improving the appearance of your pores. They're also an excellent way to help pull out impurities trapped underneath the skin.
Make this time about you. Nourish your skin. Take your time. Your complexion and your face will look and feel revitalised when you wake the following morning.
By now, you might already be pulling back the sheets and crawling into your sleepy haven. Unwind even further by sipping on some a herbal tea. Caffeine free, organic herbal tea is ideal to set you up for a relaxing sleep.
Our personal favourite here at Eco Spa, is the Sleep Tea by LoveTea, available to purchase in our spa.
Herbs used in this blend, including passion flower, valerian and lavender, have traditionally been used to support the nervous system, aid relaxation and improve sleep quality.
READ A BOOK (not an e-book!)..
There’s something lovely about holding a physical book in your hands, as you get lost in a story and move from chapter to chapter.
Reading from a back-lit screen on an e-reader is just not the same, and you’ll find it over stimulates the parts in the brain responsible for sleep.
The texture, smell and feel of a traditional paper book resonates with memories, childhood stories and the act of relaxing and unwinding.
Even if it’s just a page or two, you’ll notice your eyelids quickly closing. This is a great way to fall asleep, and allows your melatonin levels to increase naturally.
JOURNAL (thoughts, to do list, worries)..
If you notice you still have racing thoughts or a lot on your mind, get out your pen and paper.
Getting those final thoughts out of your mind and onto paper will help to slow down the brain’s thinking process and will separate what is actually important at the time.
Our lives are naturally busy, so there is always something pending. Creating a brief to-do-list for the following day will trick the brain into thinking ‘‘OK, I no longer have to go over and over these thoughts - it’s time for rest’’.
Being in a place of gratitude right before you fall asleep has a huge impact on the quality of your sleep, and even your dreams.
Instead of thinking about negative issues, conversations and relationships, make a list of 5-10 things you’re most grateful for from the day.
SET A REAL ALARM CLOCK..
Setting an alarm on an old fashioned alarm clock is the first step in maintaining peace in your morning that’s ahead.
You’ve already kept your phone out of your bedroom from earlier in the evening, and that’s where it should stay. Waking up to an alarm that doesn’t show you phone notifications will keep your cortisol levels steady and will ensure a peaceful awakening in the morning.
YOUR DREAM SLEEP AWAITS..
Set yourself a challenge of trialling this Deep Sleep evening ritual for a full week. Keep a journal to monitor your sleep quality and how you feel as you wake each morning.
Commit to following this routine 7 nights, and see for yourself the difference it makes in your every day life. Your mind, body and overall health will thank you for this mindful evening routine, and we have no doubt it will assist you in your everyday life.
..yours in wellness, eco babe xox
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