Let’s talk about bedtime, blissmakers! We’re getting into the dark half of the year. Night will come earlier and earlier. It can be really nice to create a bedtime ritual to help us separate daytime and nighttime activities after the sun sets.
Now, if you’re the sort who can adjust your schedule to accommodate the Natural cycles, great! You might not need a ritual as you can just use the sunset to provide that transitional cue for yourself.
The rest of us, however, could do well to create a ritual to help us let our body/minds know when to shift from the more active energy of daytime to the restful, restorative hours of nighttime. The process of performing a consistent ritual like this allows us to start shifting into a slower, more relaxed way of being in the body, and a quieter, less radioheady kind of mind space. As a result it is much easier to drift into high quality sleep as soon as we hit the pillow. Which, of course, allows us to awake in the morning feeling refreshed and rejuvenated and ready for the day ahead.
There are a million and one ways to create a bedtime ritual. And I strongly encourage you to tweak yours so that it fits your particular schedule, preferences, and possessions. We’ll get into the specifics in a bit, but, for now, it’s important to know that one size does not fit all here. You get to make this your own unique magickal experience.
I have found there to be 8 primary components to a truly successful bedtime ritual. Be sure to incorporate something for each of these components. The components are:
create an inviting sleeping environment
Many people already practice skincare as part of their bedtime rituals. It’s important for skin to be clean and moisturized before retiring for the night. This allows the reparative process to work its magick unhindered so we wake up looking fresh and beautiful. Going to bed with yesterday’s makeup isn’t going to kill you, but it will slow down the reparative processes and, over time, can do some pretty gnarly damage to the elasticity of the skin. Going to bed with dry skin is, arguably, even worse. When tissues are dry, they shrink (like a sponge). Resting over-tight dry skin on a pillow for several hours is a recipe for wrinkles. Always err of the side of more moisture and you will be better prepared for happy younger looking skin every morning.
It’s always a good idea to move the body before laying it down to sleep. This stretches the muscle tissue, increases viscosity of connective tissue, increases blood flow to the cells, improves the body’s detoxification processes, gently warms the body, and alleviates any restlessness that can lead to insomnia. You can do some gentle range of motion movements, easy full body stretching, restorative (or other) yoga, or whatever feels good for you. Gentle is your best bet. Anything too strenuous can increase your energy too much and make it difficult to get to sleep when you’re ready. And it doesn’t have to be a full workout. Even ten minutes of easy movement is great.
If you’re like most people, you have developed a very active ‘monkey’ mind. Your mind has gotten so good at thinking, re-thinking, over-thinking, and analyzing anything and everything that it can even be working at full pace when you’re not even asking it to. This is why it’s so helpful to incorporate a mental transition into your bedtime ritual. It doesn’t have to be fancy or time-consuming. Anything from focusing on your breath for 5-10 cycles, to a twenty minute, full lotus, seated meditation practice is fine. Some people also find affirmations useful, but, if you go that route, I would encourage you to create relaxing affirmations that shift your focus to how tired and/or relaxed you are. Otherwise, you might start a new runaway thought train.
An audio cue can be a subtly powerful way to start shifting your energy toward sleep time. If you live/work in a noisy, bustling environment most of the day, shifting to silence in the evening can be a beautiful and relaxing way to start your transition away from those active parts of your life. If you live/work in silence all day, you might enjoy playing some soft, relaxing music, or even a guided meditation, during your bedtime ritual. Creating a clear change in the aural landscape can do so much to changing the vibe of the space and the moment.
Similarly, creating a noticeable change in the visual landscape can act as a clear cue to the body/mind that it’s time to shift gears from the active daytime experience to the restive nighttime experience. Lighting is the easiest way to do this. Switching to soft low lights, twinkly lights, and/or candles send a clear message that it’s time to shift to relaxation mode.
You might be wondering a little about this component. But! If you think about it, most people already do this during their bedtime rituals. They brush their teeth. I’m not here to judge you on your dental hygiene. If brushing your teeth at night isn’t your thing, that’s fine by me. But, I would suggest finding another way to cleanse your palette before bed. Drink some fizzy water, or, better yet, some alkaline water, or chew on a sprig of mint to clear your mouth of any lingering strong tastes, and to freshen your mouth before sleep. (This is especially nice if you share your bed with someone.)
Create An Inviting Sleep Environment
This is the ‘duh’ entry. If you want to really feel luxurious or relaxed or pampered as your preparing for bed, prepare a luxurious, relaxing, and/or pampering bed. You can invest in some higher quality linens, add a cozy blanket, spritz your pillow with some essential oils, or whatever makes your sleep environment feel really inviting to you. This is all about customization. Use it to your advantage. It’s a lot easier to want to go to bed when you actually like getting into your bed.
Lastly, I believe it’s important to close a bedtime ritual with a gratitude practice. Ending the day thinking about all the things there are to be grateful for in your life can really put you into a state of higher vibration. It shifts your awareness away from any stress or anxiety you may have been exposed to during the day. It opens the heart and softens the mind creating a really dreamy whole body state that is really conducive to beautiful sleep. You can do this by writing in a gratitude journal, counting your blessings, or even through prayer or meditation.
If you include these components in your own bedtime ritual, you are sure to create a truly blissful experience that supports your health and vitality in beautiful ways. If you want to share how you created your own bedtime ritual, I’d love to hear about it. Slide me an email. Let’s connect! Until then … sweet dreams!