We’re all longing for a good night sleep but how much to we actually contribute to creating one? What if we could train our body and mind to wind down?
Let’s see how we can turn ourselves from someone who is dreading to go to bed, because we fear we’ll be awake for hours, into someone who is looking forward to go to bed because we have absolute faith that we’re in for a good night with restful sleep.
Why do we need a good night sleep?
I am kicking in an open door when I begin reciting all of the benefits of a good night sleep. I think it’s pretty clear to everyone that:
Better rested means better focus the day after.
Better rested means better mood the day after.
Better rested means better health: physically, emotionally, mentally.
Nothing but benefits. But this is not what I want to talk about here in this article. I want to talk about setting up an evening routine to get our body and mind ready to fall asleep.
How can we contribute to having this blissful night of rejuvenating sleep?
The most effective way of getting a good night sleep, is to have the same evening routine every night. This may sound boring to you but just consider how you would like to feel in the morning:
If you don’t mind feeling as if you’ve been hit by a truck, then skip this article 🙂
If you would prefer to be ready for a new day with a bounce in your step and a smile on your face, keep reading.
How can you create this new habit of having an evening routine?
- Go to bed at the same time 7 days a week.
It will take some getting used to in the beginning but once you’ve settled into this same bedtime every night, you’ll feel your body getting used to it and ‘knowing’ it is time to go to sleep. Going to bed the same time every night makes it feel natural to your body to fall asleep at that particular time as it is the same every night. You won’t even have to watch the clock anymore as you’ll start yawning around the same time every evening and you’ll know it’s bedtime.
- Get into sleeping modus.
When you watch something relaxing, when you listen to some soft music, when you read a good book, … you’ll already feel calm by the time you go to bed. This is important because when you still feel very upbeat, very tense, very active, you’ll need more time to get settled into sleeping modus as your body still needs to lower the heart rate, your mind still needs to settle down, …
- No screen time 1,5 hour before bedtime.
This is a tough one as our phones are very addictive, very sneaky into getting us sucked in into scrolling through pages and pages of social media. Even if the content is not disturbing (which we never know for sure in advance, as we may come across something that makes us feel upset), it is still input, input, input. The constant input makes our brain go into doing overtime and that keeps us awake. Our brain needs to be able to shut down too. Also, the light of our screen keeps us awake.
- No more stuffing ourselves with all kinds of junk and drinks.
Our body needs time to digest our meal. The more we keep filling our stomach, the more time our body needs to digest. When it’s still digesting, it ‘eats’ away the quality of our sleep. Alcohol is also a tricky one: we may fall asleep more easily when alcohol induced, but again the quality of our sleep will be worse and we are very likely to wake up in the middle of the night and feel groggy in the morning.
I know this may sound very scary to people who never write down their thoughts or feelings but it’s really quite easy! You take a nice little booklet and a pen and have it on your night stand next to your bed. Just before putting your head down, you think of 3 things that has put a smile on your face that day, this can be a very small thing or a huge one. It does not matter, just write down what made you feel happy, what made you feel grateful. The more you practice this, the longer your list will become. Your brain needs to be trained in remembering the nice things of the day as we tend to focus on what went wrong that day and what bothered us. Focusing on the good things, puts us on a higher vibration, on a vibrational frequency of feeling good, feeling happy, feeling grateful. This good feeling relaxes us and makes us fall asleep with positive thoughts in our mind. This too contributes to a very peaceful sleep.
“It’s not happy people who are grateful, it’s grateful people who are happy”
If we would think about all the negative stuff, if we would choose that moment before we go to sleep to vent our frustrations, it would make us feel stressful and not at all in the peaceful mood we need to fall asleep.
- Breathing exercises and meditation
This is the final step to ease into a blissful sleep. Once you lay down in your bed, you can do some breathing exercises, listen to some nature sounds, meditate, … to become fully relaxed, to be completely ready to drift off.
This may seem a lot, but begin to practice this, go step by step, one thing at a time and build your ritual until it has become a habit. Like all things you want to master in life, it takes practice. Knowing how helpful this routine is, I wish you all the patience and the perseverance to learn these steps. Once you’ve done this routine for a while, you’ll start feeling the benefits, you’ll start getting used to it and after some time, it will feel as normal as brushing your teeth, putting on your PJ’s and turning off the lights before you close your eyes. Sweet dreams!!
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