Easy ways to start winding down into the night
Its 2018 and now more than ever do we have more information and data surrounding us at any one time. Constantly connected to limitless information at our fingertips, sounds and frequencies sending a constant ringing deep into our ears and thoughts of which that are provoked by an insurmountable amount of advertisement thrown at us at every angle it can devise.
Sleeping is one of the things heavily taxed from all these disruptions, we spend a lot of our nights unknowingly scrolling to see the last glimpses of your favourite internet cat play the piano, videos of dogs reunited with long lost owners or squeezing in that last episode before calling it quits but all these play a contributing factor to the deepness of your night’s rest. Don’t get me wrong, I was one of these people. I’d sit up at night on Netflix screaming JUST ONE MORE! or playing my PlayStation to the early hours of the morning (sometimes until sunrise) and wake up the next day feeling slow, groggy and extremely low in energy.
Not knowing how much affect it was having on my sleep I kept this routine day in day out; until I came across a video ironically on Facebook while scrolling at night… it was a man named Simon Sinek and he briefly talked on technology and its negative impact on millennials. Leaving your phone out in the lounge room overnight to charge was the one that resinated with me immensely. This would stop aimless scrolling before bed, checking the phone throughout the night and stop responding to messages whenever they pop up.
I implemented this strategy the next night after finding an old alarm clock around the house to use for my early morning wakeups. To my surprise not just my sleep was better but my time usage before the bed was a lot more productive. This began what I now call my ‘wind down routine’ in which I begin whenever I first eat dinner. I have trialled new things, added and taken out others to now what I think is a very comfortable way to ease yourself into a deeper, longer lasting sleep with the benefits of that fresh wake up ready to attack what the day has to offer.
I begin with dinner; Food in general is a big one due to the time you are eating it. I found that a late dinner or even my little after dinner snacks in bed would send me into a bloated heap and find myself tossing and turning with such a heavy weight in my stomach. I now try to eat my dinner at least 2 hours before it is my bedtime to allow that time to digest. This also applies for snacks or desserts, I try to stay away from desserts due to the amount of sugar which will also keep you wide eyed and glued to the ceiling.
9:00pm if not earlier is my cut off from technology, keeping no TV, laptop or phone in my room I can enter my room without the urge to switch whatever mind-numbing TV show on. A minimalist room is what you are going for, alarm-clock and lamp is really all you need in your room although a humidifier, salt lamps or scented dispenses are also nice, I tend to use just normal incense.
My next little hack is the lighting in your room, you don’t want to have your room lit up like Clark Griswold’s house on Christmas. For me I tend to not even use my main light in the room as it is a LED and emits blue light which will give you increased melatonin levels and also disrupts your circadian rhythm (your brains natural sleep cycle). I only use my bed side light which is warm lighted incandescent bulb. This is not only a good lighting emitted but also with its warm amber glow gives a great feeling of cosiness and comfortability.
Stretching, may seem like a weird one but! Just taking a couple of minutes to move slowly and stretch in long holds will help your muscles and mind begin to relax. Simply put aside 10 minutes and you can incorporate 5 stretches with 2 minute holds. If you truly sync up your breath to the movements, you will naturally lower your body into a para-sympathetic response preparing yourself for a great night’s rest.
After my stretching, depending on my day, I may incorporate some meditation as my body and mind have already been linked from stretching. Just some simple breathing exercises to further the process of pure relaxation.
Reading for some of you is most likely already in your night time happenings, for me it’s a great process. 30 minutes to an hour is super beneficial in lower your cortisol levels before you nod off to sleep. For me 9:30pm to 10:30pm is working perfectly (although I do get hooked and tend to over read).
Now with my nightly routine in place I am still always finding new wonderful things to incorporate into it. I am having more fulfilled sleeps, dreams that I remember every step of and waking up with ease for my morning routine (morning routine soon the be on the page). I notice my energy levels last throughout the day with no lulls and I just have a much happier outlook towards the day. I truly hope this helps you restless sleepers achieve your sleeping goals. Find what works for you, play with it then implement it.