While I traditionally am someone who is used to having really good nights sleep no matter what, in the past year, something went wrong.
For some reason, no matter how long of a day I had had or how tired within my body I was, for some reason, my usual 8 hour sleep would turn into 6 hours or at it’s worst, 3 hours. For obvious reasons, this could not run. I would end up feeling tired, moody, unable to workout the way I wanted to because my regular sleeping pattern had just run away from me with glee. Me being a student, I had to find ways of helping me out that were for a start not time consuming, easy to implement and also something that I can apply whenever I need it.
To get yourself into the most relaxed mental state possible, I think it really helps to not just make the attempt to relax yourself by drinking things like cacao hot chocolate but to also pay attention to your surroundings and your senses to see whether they are relaxing you or if they are stimulating you that you will not drop asleep as fast as you’d want to.
Now, we have all heard about hot chocolate being the go to drink before you go to bed for a good nights sleep but let’s put a healthier spin on it shall we. Now I could reel off all the fantastic benefits of drinking cacao like how it lowers your blood pressure, is a mood and libido enhancer as well as helping to lose weight, but let me tell you from personal experience, a mug of cacao hot chocolate a night has not only treansformed how I sleep but it has also become symbolic for the start of my turn down time. From the first sip, it’s time for me to get comfortable, turn on the blue light filter on my phone, exit whatapp conversations and slow down my pace. Of course different people, different routines but cacao has truly kickstarted my healthy night time routine.
Recommendation: Healthy Supplies raw organic cacao powder £12.99 here.
Sight: Excite your senses
Let’s talk about our phones firstly. We all have on our phones a blue light which allows us to see what’s on our screens in bright light which is great when the sun is shining and you need to look at your screen, not so good when you are trying to get a good nights sleep because your eyes are being strained. To help combat this, start by turning on your blue light filter on your device, limiting how much you use your phone before your bedtime and also look at what you are looking at before you sleep; watching MMA fighting half an hour before you climb into bed definitely will not do you any good. Instead try toning down your consumption on your laptop and phone, perhaps focusing on journaling, or reading. Take it back to basics while also being staying entertained and/or productive.
Smell: Candles & essential oils
Smell is one of the most of the most neglected senses in my opinion, it’s very much a passive sense in that we only notice smells are there when something is wrong or vastly different than what we think is the norm – We never use it intentionally. To start engaging our noses to get that perfect nights sleep, start using delicious smelling candles that are obviously to your own taste but are subtle, warming and not too strong or harsh. Personally I suggest not using candles that have any harsh flowery scents or things like cotton as these can be great for lighting in the daytime to create a lovely smell in the home but not at the night to help you sleep as they are too strong and can overpower the room.
Also to continue on, essential oils can also really help you to relax with oils like lavender, eucalyptus and Ylang Ylang being advised as the oils designed to relax and prepare you for a good nights sleep. Essential oils are worth doing your research on in general, if you’re someone who has low moods, you’ll be surprised how much a couple of drops will gently sway your mood.
Recommendation: Fresh Skin 10ml lavender oil £1.99 here.
There’s no better way to take off the stresses of the day is to stretch it all out and deep deeply through the use of yoga. Even if you are someone who may not have enough space at home to necessarily roll out a whole yoga mat, just standing in warrior pose for a couple of minutes with your eyes closed, taking deep intentional breathes with light stretching can really help you out.
Bonus combo: Meditation
Now an update with my meditation practice is that I have become a lot more intentional with meditation. I am someone who is normally quite an relaxed, stress free person anyways so meditating everyday just for the sake of it no longer really works for me. Instead I use it as needed so when I know my body is tired but my mind is still going a million miles per hour, I tend to take 20 minutes out to tune all the way out, lie down and meditate to a sleep meditation video to slow me all the way down. Now, I guarantee after a sleep meditation video you will be knocked all the way out, you will barely be able to keep your eyes open.