Wouldn’t it be convenient for our brains to be able to turn off and go to sleep instantaneously just like our smartphones? Believe it or not, even a well-rested person takes a bit of time to ease into sleep.
Indeed, sleep is a process. The best way to prepare the brain and body for sleep is with a relaxing pre-bedtime routine. The secret is to consciously use the time before bed to transition from your day to your night and prepare for the sleep that will fuel your success, however you define it, tomorrow.
Start by turning off your phone, or using ‘airplane mode,’ so you will not receive messages. Our phones are wonderful devices, but can be a source of tremendous stimulation. Research shows that use of social media and visually stimulating platforms can reduce the quality of our sleep and increase the time it takes to fall asleep. Phones are also a source of blue light that, like the sun, actually send a physiological cue to your brain to be alert.
Make it about you
Instead of rushing around completing chores or finishing up ‘just one more work task’, start to view the last hour or so before bed as time for you. Time to let go of the stress and stimulation from the day and slip into sleep. Remember, the quality of your sleep is what will enable you to wake up refreshed, recharged, and ready for a new day.
Find what relaxes you
Optimal activities before bed are those that are relaxing, and everyone is different. Ask yourself: what relaxes me the most? If you enjoy taking a warm shower or journaling, make sure to leave time for these activities before bed. Another part of a soothing bedtime routine can be reading a book or practicing meditation, which could include sitting for a few moments in a quiet place and focusing on the breath or your heartbeat or you could try focusing on soothing thoughts about people or places you love. Close your eyes and focus on how these individuals, memories, or places make you feel. What senses are involved? Whatever is relaxing to you, start tonight by powering down your phone and indulging in one relaxing activity before bed.
Use scent to trigger sleep
Scent can have a powerful effect on our brains. So, using a room spray or pillow mist designed to help you relax can help signal to your mind that the day is done and it’s time for sleep. Try misting The Ritual of Jing Pillow Mist a few minutes before laying down, your mind will soon learn to associate the lavender-infused scent with sleep time.
Turn it in to a habit
The most important part of a bedtime routine is that it is practiced regularly. Find the bedtime routine that suits you, however short or long, and commit to practicing it every night. You may find yourself slipping into sleep faster than ever before.