The Perfect Nighttime Routine March 06, 2017 16:40

I’ve been struggling to sit down and write a blog for ages now. Something more important always seems to pop up: making sure my Mac’s charger cable is as sparkly and white as when I first unwrapped it. Scrubbing the soles of my trainers until they’re spotless. You know, real stuff.

But then I cast my mind to the future. One in which my very strict social media manager hunts me down and fiendishly holds me accountable, and I know. I just know. It’s time.

So besides completing my to-do list to avoid nighttime anxiety, I got to thinking what else I could do to sleep beautifully.

And yes, this is where I say: sleep in one of my designs…obviously.

But there’s a good reason I say this. Creating a routine around sleep is important to condition your mind in preparation for rest. One of the easiest things you can do is change from clothing that represents work and productivity, to something that makes you feel restful and comfortable. Remember Pavlov’s dog? Same concept.

Most of us have such busy lives, charging from one appointment to another, that bedtime rolls around as if it’s another diary entry, and we hop into bed expecting sleep to fall as efficiently as all our other appointments. After checking Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and reading the whole internet, of course. 

A bedtime ritual is as much about doing things as not doing them. In my research a few things have popped up consistently, but there’s no one size fits all. Adjust as needed.

 

Dos

  1. Reverently remove your Claudia Moruzzi Design from your wardrobe and put it on. Now doesn’t that feel better already?
  2. Prepare your sleeping space. Tidy away extra clutter and make sure your bed is inviting and neat.
  3. Boil the kettle and make a lovely cup of calming tea or anything without caffeine. Chamomile and Rooibos are really good options.
  4. Lower the temperature in the room. If you’re too hot, you just can’t sleep.
  5. Take a few minutes to prepare your day. I love lists. They calm me down immediately. I know that no matter what happens, I can’t forget something if it’s on The List. A lot of anxiety stems from a mind constantly trying to remember everything that needs to be done. A list eradicates that churning.
  6. Spend some quality time with your partner. Sure, it may lead to having to remove your sleepwear temporarily, but that can be rectified later.
  7. Reflect on the day. Journaling is a good way to assess your day, emotions and stresses. If journaling isn’t your thing (it isn’t mine either), then writing down the best and worst of your day helps to bring some perspective. You could also write down 2-3 things you did really well or that you’re proud of, and 2-3 things you’d like to handle better in the future.
  8. Read a book. Apparently reading for even 6 minutes is hugely relaxing. If you have to read off an electronic device, just make sure it doesn’t have a blue light as this stimulates your brain and keeps you awake.
  9. Try a step-by-step muscle relaxation. Lie down and take a few deep breaths. Starting with your toes, flex and relax your muscles, breathing in and holding the breath as you tense, and exhaling as you relax. Work your way up your body ending with your head and scalp.
  • Deep breathing does wonders to relax your mind. Lying on your back place your hands on your chest and belly. Be aware which part rises as you inhale. If your chest is rising then you’re probably breathing quite shallowly. The more you practice and relax, the more the belly should rise, taking oxygen deep into the lungs. Simply focusing on and being aware of your breath will relax you.
  • Some sort of spiritual practice that resonates with you is also very helpful, like prayer and meditation.

 

Don’ts

  1. Don’t drink coffee before bed. I know many people have a high tolerance for caffeine, so there isn’t a hard and fast rule. I can’t ever drink coffee, but I know people who drink coffee in bed. It’s good to keep a diary of when you take caffeine and how you sleep at night and monitor what works best for you.
  2. Don’t exercise for about 2 hours before bedtime.
  3. Don’t spend time answering emails or checking messages. It’s important to separate your social life from your bedroom. Rather just turn off electronic devices.

 

I already know what the best part of my day is: ticking off that final item on my to-do list!

 

Sleep beautifully.

 

References:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.za/entry/bedtime-routine_n_5659183

https://www.themuse.com/advice/this-20minute-bedtime-routine-is-so-helpful-youll-be-mad-at-yourself-for-not-trying-it-sooner

http://www.nosleeplessnights.com/sleep-hygiene/bedtime-routine-for-adults/

http://www.nosleeplessnights.com/sleep-hygiene/relaxation-techniques/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_conditioning