Ahhh, sleep. When we were kids, it was the very last thing we wanted to do and our parents had to send us kicking and screaming to bed. But as adults, it's pretty much our favourite thing ever and we just can't get enough of it — sometimes quite literally!
There's a good reason behind our obsession with sleep. Getting plenty of high-quality shut-eye is essential for pretty much every aspect of our lives, from our health to our careers and even our relationships.
It gives our bodily processes a change to recharge and restore, so we have enough energy to face each day and slay our goals. It helps keep our skin in tip-top condition (there's a reason it's called beauty sleep!) It even helps us regulate our mood, so we don't bite our partner/child/roommate's head off when they leave the butter out of the fridge yet again.
When we're not getting enough of the good stuff, we can certainly feel the difference. But as much as we all know we should be getting at least eight hours sleep, it's not always as simple as that. We all know what it's like when you've been dying to get back into bed all day. But, the second you tuck yourself in your brain starts racing and you find yourself staring at the ceiling unable to doze off. Or, maybe you think you're getting enough hours of sleep, but you still wake up feeling like you've been hit by a ton of bricks every morning. Not fun!
The secret to falling asleep quickly, staying asleep and making sure you're getting high-quality zzzs? Having a solid pre-sleep routine that starts hours before you hit the hay. So, if you feel like sleep has been ghosting you lately, read on to learn how to create a relaxing winddown routine for the best sleep of your LIFE.
Whether it's having kids, a crazy work schedule or an impending deadline, we know it's not always possible to be super picky about your dinner time. But, if you have the chance to choose, health experts believe leaving at least three hours between your last meal and bedtime is optimal.
This is because it gives your body enough time to digest your food. That way, your body isn't working hard trying to do that when it's meant to be falling asleep. Plus, nobody likes dealing with deafening stomach growls when they're trying to sleep!
What you eat for dinner matters, too! The good news is, this is one time when eating carbs is encouraged. Now, unfortunately, this doesn't mean diving headfirst into a bowl of chips or inhaling an entire pizza in the name of good sleep.
But, eating slow-releasing carbs like rice and sweet potato (which is particuarly fab because it contains melatonin-boosting vitamin B6) is believed to boost feelings of fullness and restlessness. Pair those with some protein and veggies and you're good to go (to the land of nod!)
If you're craving some dessert or have the late-night munchies, you can't go past banana with honey as a pre-bed snack. Banana contains tryptophan and magnesium which both promote sleepiness, while honey is super soothing and contains glucose which helps stop alertness. Together, they're a dynamic duo for helping you doze off!
As much as we know what it's like when you just have to watch one more episode of Ozark because they've left it on a cliffhanger, it's important to have a set time to switch off your devices. This means your TV, your laptop, your tablet and yes, your phone (or, at least put it on night mode!)
Not only is watching shows about gang thugs, or reading late-night emails from your boss not exactly conducive to relaxed vibes, but the blue light emitted from tech devices can be seriously detrimental to your sleep. This is because the artificial blue light mimics daylight and sends a message to the brain "wake up sleepyhead, it's time to seize the day!" Which, isn't exactly what you want at 10'o'clock at night!
To give your body a chance to release that sleep-inducing melatonin goodness, make it your mission to be off your tech devices at least two hours before bed. The good news is, no willpower is required here! Both Android and Apple phones have in-built winddown routine apps that will automatically kick you off your apps and put your phone in dark mode at the same time every night.
There's nothing quite like washing the day off you before you climb into bed all fresh and clean. But, you know what's even better than a shower for making you sleepy? A pre-bed soak! Yep, research shows that a warm bath about an hour before bed makes you fall asleep 36% quicker and improves your quality of slumber. You gotta love that!
For extra relaxed vibes, we highly recommend filling your tub with an indulgent bath soak like our Sparkling Rose Milk Bath. Not only is it filled with gorgeous smelling roses that will make you feel like an absolute queen, but it contains mineral salts. These have been found to release tension in the body and relax the mind — both essential for a great night's sleep!
Once you're all clean and feel like you're floating on a cloud, it's time for some screen-free self-care time. This can look completely different for everyone — it might be reading a non-work related book, journaling or doing something creative like colouring-in. The key here is that it tires out your eyes without being too mentally stimulating.
If you need some ideas, might we suggest checking out our 'self-care ideas for your star sign' article for inspo (Although, a hike might be out of the question, sorry Aries babes!)
No matter what self-care activity you choose, we say it's best accompanied by a beautiful scented candle. Why? Because scent can have a powerful impact on your mental health, and the right one can help foster sleep and relaxation. We recommend something light and not overly heady, like our Santalum candle, which combines delicate floral notes with warm sandalwood and Amber.
"What's that you say? Sleep? No! We're going to run through every item on your to-do list, play a 'classic hits' of your top worries and maybe revisit that awkward memory from 10 years ago!"
If the above sounds like your brain in action every night, you're not alone. It's common for all the stresses of everyday life to kick in the second your brain has a quiet moment. But, that doesn't mean you should just deal with it — especially as the constant internal chatter makes it really tough to dose off.
Sorry to be those people, but meditation really does go a long way in helping you quieten the 'monkey mind' and reclaim your inner calm. Even just 10 minutes can help! But if meditation really isn't your jam, you might instead choose to do a guided body scan using an app like Calm. This will guide you to focus on every part of your body starting from your toes up to the top of the head. Some of the more sleep-focused ones also instruct you to tense and release each body part, which helps relieve stress in the body— and the mind quickly follows suit.
Another great strategy for reducing nighttime anxiety is to literally clear your mind, by braindumping every single worry into a notebook. Taking your dog to the vet, doing a work presentation next week, that friend who has been acting kind of weird lately...just 'word vomit' anything that's bothering you onto the page.
Then, jot down the next action you're going to take to deal with these, and when. Knowing you have a solution to the issues that are plaguing you can really help you let go into restful slumber.
We know that pulling out all the stops to get eight hours of uninterrupted sleep is a privilege that not everyone can afford. But, by incorporating even one or two of these tips into your winddown routine, you'll help give yourself the glorious rest and recovery that you deserve!
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