As humans, we are naturally creatures of habit that seek the safety and security of knowing what’s happening around us. If you are a parent, you know the benefits of creating a regular bedtime routine for your children, yet we often tend to forget about ourselves and that our bodies benefit from a regular sleep routine in the same way.
Although we all have different schedules, there are some simple elements that we can all add to our current bed routine to support longer and quality sleep, helping our body and mind to rest and repair from the day. To teach us the importance of rituals and routines and sharing her advice- we spoke with Chalimah Jeanne, Naturopath and Founder of Organic Merchant (OM). OM are producers of multi-award winning certified organic and sustainable teas and cacaos that are crafted to provide nutrient and therapeutic benefits.
What is a sleep routine?
A sleep routine is a schedule that you begin between 30-60 minutes before you intend to go to bed. This ritual helps to slow your body down and get it ready for a night’s sleep. Over time, our mind starts to recognise these cues and we connect with our natural circadian rhythms, helping us calm ourselves and making it easier and faster to fall asleep. A relaxing nighttime routine also helps to clear our mind of things that might cause stress and anxiety, potentially keeping us up at night.
Our advice on creating a sleep routine to suit you
Reduce blue light exposure
Although it can be tempting to use technology to help us feel tired, the exposure to blue light that is emitted through TV screens, computers and our phones can confuse our brain into thinking that it is day time, making it harder for us to switch off.
Try to reduce your use of technology at least 60 minutes before you intend to go to bed to help reduce stimulation. Many phones now also have settings which allow you to tailor your screens brightness and schedule. Look into adjusting these settings in the evening and setting up a ‘do not disturb’ schedule to reduce the notifications you receive when you are trying to sleep.
Take a warm bath or shower
Melatonin is the natural hormone in our bodies that controls our sleep wake cycle. In the evenings, our body temperature naturally drops as a signal for sleep. By having a warm bath or a shower before bed, we warm up our bodies and then quickly cool down as the water evaporates from us. This mimics the effects of melatonin and can help allow our bodies to start to feel tired and relaxed. Try and have a warm bath or a shower at least 1 hour before you plan to sleep.
In addition to the change in body temperature, there are natural and organic bath treatments that can further lull you into a state of deep relaxation, such as the OM Lucent bath soak, a balancing and grounding balneotherapy treatment that is naturopathic formulated to replenish minerals and trace elements, soothe muscular and nervous tension, deeply moisturise and refine skin, and cultivate inner peace.
Make yourself a calming tea
Tea and tea rituals have been used for centuries to promote relaxation and prepare for sleep. The Chamomile flower by itself or as part of a tea blend, such as OM’s award-winning Restful Tea is very well known to naturally relax and prepare the body for a restful night.
After taking a warm bath or shower, the act of slowly sipping Restful warm tea as you wind down from your day soothes the palate, and the traditional benefits and plant compounds are calmative, restorative and sedative. This may naturally instill deep relaxation and support quality sleep, as well as alleviate anxiety after a busy day.
Prepare your bedroom
Our bedroom should be our little escape, where we come to unwind and rest.
Having your bedroom temperature set to somewhere between 16C and 21C as well as reducing as much artificial light as possible will help tell your body that it’s time to rest. Try and remove any mess or clutter as well as keeping your favourite reed diffuser near by – perhaps on a bed side table. Choose a fragrance that is calming and soft such as a Vanilla Caramel or Frangipani and Coconut and allow the reeds to slowly disperse the fragrance around the room.
Find a calming nighttime activity
Everyone’s interests are different therefore finding a nighttime activity that works for you may take some time and may also be different to others. The important consideration is for the activity to be calming and reducing physical or mental stimulation and allowing you to stay in the present moment. Try not to let your mind wander and think about things that may cause stress or worry. Some great activities could include reading a book, listening to music, practicing a meditation or even journaling or drawing.
Consider lighting a candle nearby as part of this routine to act as a constant signal to your brain that this activity is designed to slow down. Candles are also a simple way to a calming and softly light area for you to relax.
As our lives are full of chaos and our schedules change daily, a full and consistent sleep routine may be a challenge. We hope that even taking a selection of our tips and practicing these when you can will help improve the quality of your sleep.
This article first appeared on www.natural-state.com.au as a brand collaboration with Organic Merchant.