Following a consistent routine before bedtime not only helps keep our stress levels low – but also boosts mindfulness, productivity, and results in better overall sleep.
In my last blog post, I discussed the importance of starting our day off right by practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness can be achieved by developing an acute awareness of our body and our surroundings with a sense of appreciation and calm. In this blog, I will be examining how we can also end our day with mindfulness. By following a consistent and relaxing evening routine we will be able to get more of what we all crave – sleep.
Stress Causes Insomnia
Stress is one of the top reasons people experience insomnia. Remember – if you are struggling with insomnia you are not alone. Around 30% of the adult population report that insomnia is a major factor in their life. It only takes one night of worry to see how stress directly impacts sleep. The inability to mentally let go makes it difficult, if not impossible, to physically and mentally relax.
Personally, when I experience worry or stress, getting sleep becomes a challenge. Missing sleep then creates more of what initially made sleep impossible – stress. This cycle can become quite debilitating and problematic – which is why developing a calming bedtime routine is so important. It signals to our mind and our body that it is time to unwind and slow down. This can gently ease us into slumber – as opposed to trying to forcefully prod ourselves to sleep.
A few relaxation techniques can be just what we need – especially when we are highly stressed and agitated. Below, I have outlined a few of my favourite bedtime rituals for mindful rest.
If you need to work in the evening, make sure you have some wind-down time before bed to avoid feeling tense.
Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake, as this will make it harder to fall asleep. Instead, try drinking herbal teas, or a warm milky drink.
It’s a good idea to have a warm bubble bath before bed, and not a heavy late-night meal or alcoholic nightcap –which can interfere with a sound sleep. This will in turn, lead to reduced anxiety the next day.
Getting some fresh air and exercise may also help our body unwind. A stroll in the evening air, walking the dog, stretching, or yoga can help achieve the feelings of relaxation.
Before we tuck in, ensuring that our bedroom is a pleasant place to sleep in is vital – doing a quick tidy, even if its just putting things into piles can be especially helpful.
Make a to-do list for the next day. This way, we can empty out our minds in readiness for sleep.
It is also a good idea to lay out our clothes and pack a lunch so we are ready to go right away in the morning. All this preparation will undoubtedly help us relax and stop our minds from racing.
Don’t listen to the news, or watch it less than an hour before bed.
Ensure a calm sleeping environment, with no devices blinking and pinging to remind us of the stress of our work or social lives. And of course, we should try to avoid using electronic devices just before bedtime.
Make sure the bedroom is as dark as possible, with no LED display lights, as these will interfere with sleep patterns.
What bedtime routines do you use to quiet yourself?
To our health and wellbeing,