Evening rituals for a good night’s sleep

Getting a restful sleep is important, from personal experience if I sleep too much or not enough it can affect me physically, mentally and emotionally.

Incorporating rituals into your evening can help your mind and body relax and fall asleep more easily.

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My first suggestion is to keep the lights to a minimum, especially after your evening meal, keep only the necessary lights on and try lighting some candles to create a relaxing atmosphere.

Try not to eat a large meal at night and avoid eating after 8pm – if your body is busy digesting food it will prevent you from sleeping well. Alcohol and caffeine both disrupt sleep so try drinking herbal tea instead.

If you watch TV, turn it off at around 9pm (same goes for the computer/tablet) and begin your wind down, try some gentle stretches, restorative yoga or meditation, you only need to put aside 10 minutes, you will find your breathing slows and as you practice your mind will slow down too. Another ritual to try is yogic breathing or pranayama, if you’ve never tried this before, here is a simple sequence:

Close your eyes and sit down in a comfortable position. Slowly breathe in for 1,2,3 counts, hold your breath in, then breathe out for 1,2,3 counts, then exhale again for 2 more counts. Repeat this process very slowly about 3-4 times. This breathing technique is lovely at any time of the day if you’re feeling stressed or anxious.

When you’re ready for bed, turn the main light off and just keep a lamp on. Avoid watching TV, or looking at your phone, keep electronic devices away from you with the sound turned down.

For those of you dealing with pain I’d suggest investing in a lavender heat bag, you can heat it in the microwave then pop it in bed with you.

Try rubbing a few drops of lavender essential oil on your hands, neck and then slowly breathe in the scent, it is very relaxing, I do this every night.

I would suggest setting a alarm for the same time everyday, even weekends, this may seem overkill but getting a good night’s sleep is also about waking at the same time to set a pattern for your body, over time you won’t need an alarm but while you’re having trouble it may be worthwhile. Another tip is to get up as soon as you wake up, if you wake at 5am instead of your usual 6am, your body is telling you it’s time to get up, sleeping longer can make you feel tired and groggy.

Happy zzz’s!

Yours in health,

Meredith

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