The Bedtime Wellness Routine that Will Help You Sleep
Now all you need is the discipline to turn off Netflix.
Can’t sleep? Us neither. It must be something about the ever present brightly lit screen, or the fact that when we finally do stop catching up on Snapchat, our minds just. can’t. stop. There must be some cognitive behavioral therapy or psychological trick to slow it down and close our eyes, and yet here we are at three in the morning still wondering if we really should have sent that email. So we started chatting with our friends over at Sakara Life and S-Life Mag—who tend to know what’s what as far as wellness is concerned—and they promised a routine wherein we would never suffer from endless mind circles (no therapy) that would result in falling asleep faster and having a better quality sleep. Here's to a good night's rest.
Sometimes, the best nights make for the roughest mornings (see: New Year’s Day, the day after your birthday, the first Monday after Coachella…). Of course, it all depends on how you define “best,” and when the focus is a little less on martinis and a little more on wellness rituals, the best nights can actually make for the brightest, most productive, most inspired mornings—the kind where you actually drink that warm water with lemon and do your 20 minutes of meditation. The trick is in compartmentalizing your harried, hectic day, settling your mind and indulging in a bit of self-care. Ready to get tucked in? Dreamland is just five steps away.
EAT, PERCHANCE TO DREAM
…Or at least sleep soundly. Preparation for a good night’s rest starts long before bedtime, at least when it comes to food. Because the body has to put in some serious work to produce the enzymes required to digest food and then deliver nutrients throughout your system, a big meal right before bed does not make for the best quality sleep. Although the classic American diet dictates that the last meal of the day is the largest, many other cultures (from the oft-imitated French to Ayurvedic practitioners) know the havoc this wreaks on your digestive system and your slumber.
As often as possible, make lunch your biggest meal of the day and stick to something light and easy on the digestive system for dinner (and enjoy it at least three hours before bed). Heads up: Thanks to their complex molecular structures, protein and fat take the longest to digest of the three macronutrients (carbs being the third), so keep that in mind. Calcium, magnesium, tryptophan (an amino acid) and B vitamins are linked to sound sleep, so a light, snooze-inducing dinner might include a spinach salad with some chickpeas, slivered almonds and dried tart cherries and a banana for dessert.
SWEET DREAMS ARE MADE OF THIS
Dream big at nighttime, make big things happen during the day. Sounds pretty good, right? Want to dream even bigger and better? Research has linked Vitamin B6 to more lucid dreaming and increased dream recall. You can take a high-quality supplement, or find B6 in foods like sunflower seeds, nuts, bananas, avocados and leafy greens. And if you’re looking to get even more mystical, it’s about time you met ormus, a mysterious yet powerful blend of minerals suspended in their atomic state. The list of purported health benefits from consistent consumption of ormus is long, but one of the most immediate effects is vivid dreaming.
SET THE MOOD
Create a spa-worthy ambiance in your own room. Dim the lights, turn on your Face Mask and Chill playlist and don’t forget to scent your space. Whether you’re a Dyptique or a Palo Santo kind of gal, find a fragrance that sends you to your happy place. Research has found that the fragrance of vanilla stabilizes heart rate and improves blood pressure. Translation: chill vibes. Lavender and jasmine are also great for promoting deep, quality sleep. Try sprinkling a few drops of essential oil on your sheets and pillowcase (which is far better than a candle if you happen to pass out).
WORKING ON YOUR FITNESS
Chances are you’ve been sitting at a desk all day, hunched over a computer keyboard. (Props to you, treadmill-desk-users and people who sit on those giant stability balls.) Instead of collapsing into bed in a heap of knotted-up muscles and joints, take a few minutes to stretch it all out. Not only will you feel physically better in your body when you release all that tension, but you’ll be more mentally relaxed, too (thank you, body-mind connection). Basic, gentle yoga poses—especially those with inversions (when your head is below your heart)—are especially restorative and relaxing. Try a standing forward bend, a few gentle seated spinal twists, some hip-openers and the ever-calming child’s pose.
Instead of scrolling through the hundreds of Instagram posts you missed or obsessing over your rapidly-filling inbox when you finally climb into bed, try this: Before lights out, jot down three things you want to accomplish tomorrow. They can be small and mundane (“pick up laundry”) or more lofty, big-picture, world-peace kind of dreams. Either way, this ritual offers reassurance that you are in fact in control—you’ve done everything you can today, including lay the groundwork for tomorrow, and now it’s time to relax, rest and restore.