A Bedtime Routine to Promote Restful Sleep

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It is estimated that one third of Brits are struggling with insomnia - and this number is probably higher as there is some confusion over what constitutes insomnia. It is categorised as a difficulty getting to sleep, staying asleep, or feeling of exhaustion when awak (regardless of how long you slept). So, even if you sleep 8 hours a night uninterrupted, if you feel tired to the point it affects your daily life, you still have insomnia. There are many reasons for insomnia - sometimes it is a symptom of something deeper, other times, it is a standalone condition - but one thing that can help everyone get a better nights sleep (including non-insomnia sufferers) is a solid bedtime routine. Different things will work for different people, but there are a number of core activities that will help train your body to know that it’s bedtime, and start to wind down for the day. Using the below as a base, you can add activities that are more personal to you - bedtime yoga, a bath etc. - but the below should help anyone begin to craft their night time necessities.

What You'll Need

  • Willpower!
  • Candles / Himalayan salt lamp / low lighting
  • Herbal tea (optional but chamomile or lavender tea are great pre bed drinks)
  • Notebook and pen

What You'll Do

  • Get rid of the blue light! You’ve no doubt heard about the blue light that is emitted from our electronic devices and the damage it does to our bodies natural cycles. The first step of any bedtime routine is to ditch the devices at least 1 hour (and ideally 2-3 hours) before you want to hit the hay. Alternatively, most devices now have a ‘Night Shift’ mode which reduces or removes the blue light from your screens. ‘But what do I do instead of watching Netflix before bed?!’ I hear you scream. Fear not! You have a wealth of activities to choose from - yoga, meditation, if you have a creative hobby such as painting or writing this is a perfect time slot in which to do it, or there’s always good old reading ;)
  • Set the scene. Turning off your lights and instead using candles, or low lighting can again help to set the scene and let your body know that it’s nearly time for bed. Himalayan salt lamps are a wonderful addition to any bedroom and emit a soft glow, an excellent replacement for harsh bedroom lights.
  • Calm your body down. Watching action packed tv shows or doing high impact excercise before bed get our body all worked up, increasing activity in the body and releasing hormones such as adrenaline that then make it hard for us to drift off. Instead, activities like restorative yoga, drinking herbal tea, having a nice conversation with a loved one etc. give your body a chance to wind down and release the stresses of the day, ready for bed.
  • Clear your mind. How many times have you laid your head down on the pillow to go to bed, and suddenly remembered everything you forgot to do that day, all the emails you need to respond to tomorrow, that awkward conversation with your boss from 2 weeks ago, that lie you told when you were 7 years old... These things have a tendency to come back to us when all we want to do is sleep! A great way to counteract this is to get them out of your head and onto paper. This isn’t necessarily ‘journalling’ which has become another trendy self-care activity that seems only to be possible with moogrammed pastel notebooks and rose gold pens - think of it more as clearing your mind. Just have a notebook that you keep by your bed, and write down whatever comes into your mind before lights out. If you can’t seem to get your thoughts out, just scribble or doodle - anything to get the activity out of your head and onto the paper!
  • Know that you’ll have a great night’s sleep. Do not underestimate the power of your thoughts. If you get into bed ‘knowing’ that you won’t get a restful night’s sleep, chances are, you’re right. Go to bed with the confidence that you will have a good night’s sleep! This affirmation from the legendary Louise Hay has helped me through many an almost sleepless night: ‘I lovingly release the day and slip into a restful sleep. I trust that tomorrow will take care of itself.’
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