Your work schedule, the kids’ school schedule, Halloween, Thanksgiving, holiday shopping… is anyone else beginning to feel the crunch of this busy season? It’s as if the lazy days of summer are actually a rest period so we have the energy to make it through the marathon holiday season of the fall and winter.
As we approach this busy time of year, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of self care. The more hectic our schedules get, the easier it becomes to move your health and happiness to the bottom of the list. Apart from drinking enough water and eating our veggies, our most basic health requirement is sleep. We hope these simple bedtime rituals will help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Bedtime Rituals to Help You Get a Good Night’s Sleep
1. Make a to-do list.
Your to-do list can be as simple as few things you want to accomplish the next day, like clearing out your inbox, paying your phone bill, or tackling the first step of a project at work. By writing down each task, you’re actually creating an action plan for the day. This allows you to rest easy knowing that you will wake up with purpose and direction.
2. Stretch before bed.
Try a incorporating a simple yoga practice into your nighttime routine. The stretching will soothe aching joints and muscles and the breathing techniques will help you exhale all the stress you’ve accumulated throughout your day. This 7-minute bedtime yoga sequence is so simple you can do it your pajamas, no spandex required.
3. Try micro journaling.
Journaling is a healthy, reflective practice that allows you to acknowledge your successes and note areas for improvement. Micro journaling is simply writing down three things that went well that day and three things that didn’t. This practice gives your day closure, sealing it in the past. This keeps you focused on the positive and prevents you from dwelling on the negative, silencing that end-of-day chatter that keeps you up at night!
4. Take an evening stroll.
If you can slip away for twenty minutes, take a walk around your neighborhood. Studies have shown that walking, especially in green spaces like a park, can have the same stress-relieving effects as meditation. This would be a great time to think about what you’re grateful for today and what you want to accomplish tomorrow. The key to a restorative walk is to do it unplugged — no ear buds! After a hot shower, you’ll go to bed feeling rested and refreshed.
5. A cleansing soak.
Whether it’s a long leisurely bubble bath or quick a 5-minute foot soak, wash away your stress in the tub. Immersion in water is known to be very therapeutic, especially when you combine it with the relaxing effects of aromatherapy. In the evening, add lavender oil to the water to promote a deep sleep. After you towel off, wrap yourself up in a warm fluffy bathrobe to create a spa experience.
6. Unplug and open a book.
An hour before bed, unglue yourself from screens: television, phone, and computer. Put on your softest, comfiest pajamas and curl up in bed with a good book. The light from these screens has been shown to disrupt our sleep patterns. Not only will reading at the end of the day help you get to sleep faster, avoiding the glow of your electronics will help you stay asleep longer. Check out our fall classics reading list for ideas.
7. An evening cup of tea.
Simply the act of making a cup of tea can be a meditative practice. Waiting for the water to boil. Prepping the tea bags if you’re making loose tea. The scent of the water hitting the dried herbs. Get in the habit of making a cup of herbal tea before bed. Chamomile, jasmine, and mint are soothing herbal teas that won’t keep you up at night.
8. Adult coloring books.
Adult coloring books have been all the rage in the last few years, used mostly as a stress-relieving technique. Coloring is an easy way to be crafty and creative, no matter how much time you have at the end of the day. Coloring stimulates areas of the brain that most of us non-creatives don’t use every day, making it a soothing and helpful brain exercise that promotes creative problem solving. The perfect pre-bedtime activity.
9. Meditate for 5 minutes.
Meditating for as little as five minutes each day can reduce anxiety and promote restful sleep. There are many guided meditations available online, so you can learn breathing techniques and practice helpful, relaxing visualizations. Meditating is a great way to clear your mind before bed, especially if you find that overthinking keeps you up at night!
10. Invest in comfortable pajamas.
We know, we know… to someone with a hammer, everything looks like a nail! Believe it or not, investing in comfortable sleepwear will help you get to sleep faster. When you were a kid, pajamas weren’t just something to wear after your bath — they also acted as a signal to tell you that it was bedtime, mentally preparing you to wind down. The same logic can be applied as an adult. A ritual as simple as putting on pajamas says, “My day is finished. It’s time for me to rest.”
We hope these ideas for bedtime rituals help you get a great night’s sleep. For more sleep tips and ideas for family fun this fall season, visit The Pajama Company Blog at thepajamacompany.com/blog.