I’ve had a couple of conversations recently with friends who suffer from insomnia or disrupted sleep and it got me thinking about my own sleeping habits. I’m lucky that I tend to sleep really well at night, and while things like insomnia can sometimes be the result of deeper issues that require insight from medical professionals; there are certainly still some things that can be done to create an atmosphere for yourself that promotes better sleep. So here are a few things of mine…
First of all, I take really good care of my room. I am constantly decluttering and tidying things away. If my room is filled with stuff or piles of laundry then chances are, I’m not going to want to sleep there as much as I usually do. I make an effort to keep things tidy, to hoover regularly and dust down my surfaces. (Having asthma is also a factor here but it means I keep my room clean) Every morning I make sure to open the blinds to let the sunshine in and I like to keep my window a little open to allow for a flow of air too. Things like smudging, crystals and fresh flowers can also help to raise the vibration of a room, clear the energy and create a nourishing space. Whenever my friends come into my room they always tell me that it feels like they are about to get a massage and honestly that relaxing, spa-vibe is always what I’m trying to go for!
I try to shower or take a bath every single night, right before bed. I do this for several reasons, one because there is no better feeling than sliding into bed with clean skin, and two because I genuinely do believe that water helps me neutralise and release any negativity from my day. Bathing at night feels like a sacred ritual to me. I often lean towards a shower but if you wanted an extra relaxing effect, I would suggest a Himalayan salt bath with candles. I take Himalayan salt baths a few times a week and I could write a whole separate post on their benefits.
We’ve touched on it above but it is really important to have a routine you actually like before going to bed. I very much keep my evenings to myself and have a hard rule that I won’t do any work after tea at night (with maybe the odd exception) my evenings are for myself, so I’m always sure to spend them relaxing! I like to keep the lights really low, no-one wants the buzz of artificial light right before bed, I might light a candle or some incense and find somewhere where I can stretch out and relax. I’m not too strict about staying off my phone at night. That said, when I do use it; the screen brightness is all the way down and nighttime mode is activated (In fact I use it this way at all times, not just during the night.) This might also be a good time for people who have a daily meditation practise (or movement practise/tapping/affirmations/anything like that.) I personally like to do my self-care in the morning but I will sometimes use the night to stretch. There are about 3 yoga stretches that I like to do for my hips and I find them to be great de-stressors. I also have a skincare routine that I really enjoy. While I haven’t spent a lot of money on products, the routine itself still feels luxurious to me. I have a rosehip facial oil that I use at night. Whenever I use this product, it seems to send a signal to my brain that I am ready for bed. Most importantly, I always close off every night the same way; by applying lavender oil to my wrists and taking a deep inhale. Lavender oil is one of the few things I wouldn’t like to live without and can calm me instantly.
Lets talk about the bed itself! I think it goes without saying that you want to wash your sheets regularly. I try to use more natural washing liquids on my sheets and clothes because really you spend nearly half your life in bed, you don’t want your skin absorbing chemicals during a time where you are supposed to be healing and regenerating. If you have the funds to do so, try and select a bad that is the firmness you want – I love a really firm bed and found my sleep to be so much better since I moved house and bought an amazing mattress. Pick pillows based on their comfort, and have your sheets reflect your personal style. I love a clean white bedspread, I like to layer mine with a fringed light grey blanket and some neural cushions with pom-poms. I’m not gona lie, it looks like a proper grown up bed! I actually feel a bit sophisticated when I’m in there. I’ve heard a lot of Feng Sui practitioners explain that it’s not a good idea to eat/do work etc. in bed and I have to say that I agree with this for the most part. Keep your bed as sacred as possible, pick sheets you love & don’t use it as a dumping ground for laundry etc! If you are reading this now, take this as permission to buy yourself new sheets! You deserve it.
Not a current habit of mine because I’m mainly too lazy to make a hot drink this close to bedtime! But if I really want a good nights sleep and especially if it’s winter, I will reach for one of several beverages. Firstly chamomile tea should be a staple in anyones homes for anxious emergencies. Secondly; I have a yogi sleep tea and a sleep tea by Pukka. Both caffeine free & organic and I have to say I love them both. Failing these I would bring out the big guns; ashwaganda. You can buy ashwaganda power from many health stores, I just heat up some plant milk and add a small amount. You could also experiment by adding in tumeric, cinnamon, even a dash of cacao (although cacao is known to be quite stimulating) I have grown to love ashwaganda and it really does help me to drift off.
A REAL WARNING: I am not an expert in nutrition, however from my research Ashwaganda is NOT suitable for those who are pregnant. So please, please do your research before introducing anything new into your diet. Plants are powerful!
Having pyjamas that you love and feel cosy is really of the highest importance when attempting to have a comfortable nights sleep. I can buy as many cool-looking pairs of PJ’s as I want but I often find myself gravitating towards the same old t-shirt. Why? Because fabric is important! You want something that feels nice against your skin while reflecting your personal style. Take this as permission to go through your old PJ’s, recycle or donate to charity and treat yourself to some news ones! Be honest yours probably have some sort of stain on or hole in anyway. If you’re one of those lucky people who sleep naked then you can skip this step. I personally find it too cold to do that in England but each to their own!
This leads me to falling asleep! So you have your nice new PJ’s on, your sliding into your brand-new, clean sheets, cup of ashwaganda in hand, and you’re all ready for a good nights sleep! The last thing that I try to do once the lights are out, while I’m falling asleep is mentally list everything I’m grateful for. I love entering my sleep this way and do genuinely feel more of a sense of contentment from this practise. Bonus points if you write them down before falling asleep. Usually I’m too tired to but I like to list a few things mentally in my head always.
A few more things that I do personally try and do! Firstly I always sleep with a variety of crystals under my pillow – usually selenite or quartz but then I like to experiment with others. Lately I’ve been loving rose quartz, orange calcite and rhodonite for emotional healing. I also tried recently a bit of red jasper for grounding. Have an experiment and see what you think. You can also ask your guides/angels to communicate with you or accelerate your healing via your dreams. (be prepared for things to get a little bit crazy – I don’t do this everyday because I often have quite vivid dreams when I do) you can write some intentions or a prayer and put the paper under your pillow, there really is no limit to how you can harness your sleep as a tool for transformation! Consider keeping a dream diary, it is such an interesting world to explore and I am only really dipping a toe in! I also like to do a bit of reiki on myself during a particularly stressful day as I’m falling asleep but agin this is not for everyone!
I’d love it if you could tell me which of these you do/want to try and if there is anything you feel that I’ve missed! The topic of sleep is so layered and complex but I’ve enjoying putting some of my thoughts on this subject onto paper.
See you in the next