Habits, both good and bad ones, are just plain difficult — both to start and to break. I know I’m not alone in thinking this, but the way I always try to think about it is that I can do just about anything for 21 days — which is apparently how long it takes to form (or break) a habit. I actually believe that we can ALL do anything for 21 days — especially if it will serve us tremendously in the long run.
Like good, uninterrupted, REM cycle sleep for instance.
A couple of years ago, I started taking my sleep very seriously — and it’s only gotten more intense as the days go on. I literally find myself doing math in my head if we have plans, or if we’re about to commit to something to figure out what time I’d need to go to bed or what time I’d need to wake up in order to get my solid 8 hours of sleep. I’ve come to find with a lot of going inward and paying attention to my body that that’s my magic number. Not 7, not 7.5, not 9, 8.
I’ve also been paying closer attention to what goes IN my body prior to sleep and seeing how that makes a difference. MUCH less wine (1 glass, if that), lighter dinners, more water and tea.. these are all things that wind my body down instead of bring it to a fuzzy place which we all know alcohol and heavy meals can do. While I’m about to give you some of my own personal, favorite tips that I apply to my every night (even when I’m traveling!), it’s so important that you take the time to start paying attention to yourself. Listen to your intuition (what is it that you need? what is it that you DON’T need?) and make a note if it in your journal if you have to (I do!) This works as such a great exercise when you’re trying to move past your mind-thoughts and get to the real, juicy truth of what it is your body is craving, and what it’s been begging you to get rid of.
There’s no better place to start than with your night time routine — so let’s dive in!
Healthy nightly habits you should start tonight
Put your phone away at a reasonable hour
I know you’ve heard this millions of times before, but I’m going to say it just one more time. Putting your phone away well before you’re in bed is such an important, healthy boundary to award yourself. Not only does it give your brain the room to filter and digest everything that went on that day, but it gives your body a chance to relax and be in the current moment (which should be all about slowing down, chillin’ out, and preparing your body for a 7-8 hour rest)
Tip: I’m someone that if I just put my phone in a corner on airplane mode, I can still be tempted to check “just one more thing” and then “one more thing after that”. If you’re like this, too, go ahead and turn your phone all the way off if you’re able. It’s so freeing! Though when I do this (which is almost every night), I actually make sure that Chris’ is on throughout the night so that if we have a family emergency, we can be contacted.
Read a book
I used to be an avid night time reader (now I feel like I’m always reading a book), and then I started realizing I was going to bed way too tired. These days, I’m making a point to take out 15 or so minutes before I get tired so I can get some good reading in, and wind down my mind and clear it of any outside thoughts from the day. It’s like a mini-vacation for my brain.
Tip: If you’re unable to fall asleep, try this method in bed. Whether you’re using a kindle that doesn’t give off too much light or a portable reading light like this one, you can make it happen! I bet that you’re asleep, or at lest nodding off, within 10 minutes.
If you can’t sleep, get out of bed
But — there’s one condition: if you’re really tossing and turning and can’t get your body &/or mind to settle down, get out of bed and do something else for a bit. Heat up some warm almond milk, go read on the couch, sit in the darkness in your PJs, et a bowl of cereal (my go-to).. whatever it is, just remove yourself from the frustrating situation — which in this case, is your bed, and then try again!
Drink soothing tea
As nerdy as it sounds, this is my favorite time of the evening. I LOVE drinking sleep promoted tea, and if it has valerian root in it, even better. This stuff is pure gold. Since majority of us (myself included) are low in magnesium, I’ve started adding 2 teaspoons of this magical potion and I am OUT like a LIGHT. It truly never fails. I seriously can’t recommend it enough.
Take a hot bath or shower
Another favorite part of my night (and one that often coincides with my nightly tea) is taking a hot bath with candles, some jazz music, and some lavender oils and salts. By the time I’ve finished my tea and climb out of the tub, I’m basically sleep walking.
Use a white noise machine
Chris got us one of these for our room (since Jasper kinda shakes around at night downstairs and it was waking us up) and I swear to you I’ve never slept better. The noise is incredibly comforting, blocks everything else out (think black out curtains, but for noise!) and it’s so soothing. I actually like to turn this on a couple of hours before we climb in (if I can remember) while I’m brushing my teeth, washing my face, etc. and leave it on for a couple of hours in the morning while I wake up, journal and drink my coffee.
Speaking of.. wash your face!
Don’t go to bed without this crucial step. I’m sure you’ve had that before as well, but I’m more than happy to tell you every day if I need to! You have so much of the “day” on your face, it’s not only important to wipe it off, but it’s actually SUPER relaxing if you give it the space to be just that. I mean it when I say that my skin care routine (both morning and night) are two of my favorite rituals. Its a total act of self care, and I love listening to what my skin needs.
Tip: This face wash is HEAVEN on earth and leaves my skin so insanely soft every day. I pair it with this face oil (day and night) and get the best little boost of lavender on my pillow when I lay down and when I wake up.
Journal before you fall asleep
Another favorite thing to do before I go to sleep (prior to my bubble bath and tea!) is to free journal and give my mind a space to collect all of its thoughts and feelings. This is also where I have some really vital, important chats with the universe about my well-being and do a major self love check in with myself. I’ve found I sleep SOUND when I do this practice — almost as if I’m completely emptying my mind with any and all negative or heavy thoughts, and pressing a restart button.
So there you go! What do you think? Will you try any of these? Do you implement any of these already?2