I have read so much research lately on night time routines and how they can set the mood for a deep night of restorative slumber, prepping the body for a productive and energetic following day. Research tells us how vitally important our sleep is in order to use our brains at their highest potential, and there is something to be said about the concept of “beauty sleep.” I believe that sleep really does help enhance our natural beauty!
We all hear the same points over and over again, “screens are evil and should never be viewed before bed”, “don’t eat two hours prior to going to sleep”, “black out your bedroom”, yadah, yadah. Instead of beating a dead horse repeating what we have already heard, I wanted to share with you some “rituals” as I call them that help me wind down and get into that sleepy state of mind at the end of a long work day. There’s no science to it, these are just some things that I have found have truly helped me to chill out! I don’t have time for all of these rituals every night, but I find if I can make the time for just one of them, I feel more at peace when I lay my head down to rest.
Set the Mood– The very first thing I do when I begin to wind down at night is turn off all overhead lights around the house and turn on the “mood lighting” as like to call it. I dim the lights and turn on all of the lamps in our house. I think the act of dimming the lights tells my brain that it is time to get into the sleep zone. I usually light a candle (this one in “fireside” has been my absolute favorite for the autumn months and doubles as beautiful decor on my vanity) and will burn some essential oils in my oil diffuser. I use different oils for different moods. At night I’ll burn lavender which smells intoxicatingly delicious and has a calming effect, it instantly gives me that warm sleepy feeling. If I’m having any sinus or breathing issues I’ll burn eucalyptus which helps open up the nasal passage- gross I know.
Nourish– Lately before bed I will make Kimberly Snyder’s “Nourish Your Nervous System Elixer.” Not only is this drink detoxifying and nutrient rich, it’s also delicious! There is something so comforting about sipping a hot drink before bed time. I like to think of this drink as the opposite of my morning coffee. Check out Kimberly’s book and blog if you get the chance. The Beauty Detox Solution changed my life. I don’t follow the program completely, some of the principals are hard core, such as no dairy (que my pizza addiction) but the overarching principals of eating whole foods vs. processed junk helped me to kick start my health into high gear after I graduated from college three years ago. I’ll definitely share more about this experience in the future!
Pamper– There is no better feeling than being squeaky clean when slipping into your sheets at the end of the day. I usually take a body shower (I keep my hair dry and up in a shower cap, because who has time to wash their hair?! lol) before bed where I can “wash the day away.” I really love this lavender body wash to help me begin to unwind after a long work day. If I really have time (typically on weekends) I’ll take a bath with epson salts and a few drops of lavender oil to relax. When I “wash the day away” I love to listen to calming music. Typically I just search for “Spa Music” in Spotify, ha I’m a dork- oh well!
In Arianna Huffington’s book “The Sleep Revolution“, Huffington makes a strong case for why women everywhere should be wearing pajamas that they love vs. workout clothes to bed. Huffington says that sleeping in workout clothes gives our body the cue that it’s time to go to work and doesn’t nurture our body into a sleepy state of mind. Pajamas tell our body “okay, it’s time to relax and chill now.” This was a concept that I could completely get behind as pajamas are one of my favorite pieces of clothing!! Josh always makes fun of me for running out to Target to grab some command strips, or a carton of almond milk and coming home with a new pair of pajamas, and maybe a few other things… Who doesn’t walk out of Target with items they didn’t intend to buy?! “Can you even fit any more pajamas into your pajama drawer?!” He’ll joke. Below are some of my favorite pairs. PS- silk is the best!
Sometimes I feel like the last thing I want to do is wash my face, I’d rather roll into bed and hit the Z’s fast and furious. I find that if I think of washing my face as a luxurious experience then I am more prone to enjoy the experience all together- perception is everything!! I take the time to smell the products I’m using on my face, I’ll massage my skin while rubbing in the products, I’ll even pretend I’m receiving a special spa treatment, ha! A girl can dream!
Relax– And here comes the sometimes difficult part… Relaxing. It should be so easy! But with so many social obligations and responsibilities at work and with our families, it can sometimes be extremely difficult to quiet down the mind. Of course we have all heard that screens should never be looked at before bedtime, and it may take Josh a little more time to give up his habit of ESPN before bed, lol. Most nights I will try and read a physical book (no e-readers!) before falling asleep. Below are a few I’ve been enjoying lately.
Another way I really can begin to unwind is to try and mediate for ten minutes before falling asleep. A lot of people feel really intimidated by the concept of meditation. They may think that it involves some type of religious chanting or crazy chakra stuff… Nope, it’s a lot simpler than any of that fuss! Meditating simply means clearing the mind of your thoughts and just being present in the moment. This video helped me to initially understand the concept of meditation, if meditation is something you are interested in learning more about I recommend it as a starting point. Also, the app head space is a great resource for guided mediation if the process intimidates you like it did for me. I’ve found that when I use the app on a daily basis I feel a little bit more content and calm throughout my day.
I would love to know if you have any night time rituals that you partake in! And PS- The photo at the top is a snap of The Knot Georgia Magazine. Josh and I are so honored to have our our wedding featured! Can somebody pinch me please?!